Active Shooter Neutralized in Perry, Iowa, High School

News & Politics

Law enforcement officials in Perry, Iowa, have confirmed that the shooter who ambushed students and teachers this morning at a high school is dead; the individual responsible for injuring two students and an administrator committed suicide. According to one student, when she came out of her hiding place, she saw a female student being taken from the auditorium with a gunshot wound to her leg.

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At the time of this writing, roughly 1:30 p.m. Eastern, only a handful of hours since the violence, cable news shows have relegated the story to the ticker crawling across the bottom of the screen. One network is raking a Florida health official over the coals for a COVID-19 vaccine stance, another is covering the “war in the Middle East,” and one is fleshing out conspiracy theories about a man who vanished in the mountains — nothing about “glass everywhere” and “blood on the floor” at a Des Moines suburb high school. The next press conference is scheduled for 3 p.m. local time and will likely draw more cameras, questions, and attention.

While I would like to believe this lack of attention serves as a sign that our culture has realized the drastic and irrational gun-grabbing debate that happens after every one of these shootings, I know the story had three things working against it:

  1. The shooting happened before 8 a.m. when few people are watching cable news and fewer breaking news crews are ready to go (especially in rural Iowa);
  2. The violence was stopped quickly and, thankfully, without heavy carnage; and
  3. Republican-hating pundits are strategizing how to use this event against 2024 presidential candidates in the Iowa Caucuses that begin in 11 days.

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My 17-year career in communication, media relations, and active shooter response training has made me cynical; seeing how the sausage is made requires a degree of callousness that is better left in the margins.

The liberal legacy media and even more unreasonable left-of-left-of-center new media see this violence as an opportunity for a “gotcha” game on a national stage. They will not want to squander it on a gun control debate they know will not help their already dismal ratings. 

In the meantime, 2024 Republican hopefuls would do well to improve their school shooting talking points, maybe adding some new ideas and actual substance to them. As voters, in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, or elsewhere, it’s not unreasonable to ask questions, such as:

  • Why do background check platforms not talk to each other? (government efficiency)
  • Why are known threats to a community left under minimal surveillance? (4th Amendment) 
  • What is the proper role of law enforcement when it comes to preemptive engagement? (role of local government)
  • How is the private sector being integrated into the solution? (there is some cool tech out there that no one in government wants to know about until they can replicate and ruin it)
  • When are we going to talk about real mental health solutions in our schools? (because what we have isn’t working)
  • Who is responsible for auditing public school districts to see how and where the taxpayer dollars are spent specifically on “safety”? (too many gadgets, not enough training on how, when, and why you should report a concern, and definitely not enough qualified people to meaningfully follow up on and track those concerns)

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As a former active shooter prevention and response trainer, I assure you that we don’t need to rehash the how-many-rounds-is-enough debate because these are the questions that need to be asked.

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