Home > Uncategorized > A Sibling Spat Sends Chilling Portend of How Armed Parent Posses Could End Badly

A Sibling Spat Sends Chilling Portend of How Armed Parent Posses Could End Badly

May 27, 2018

On a long car ride to school in Idaho, a brother and sister had an argument. The sister was still upset when she got to school and talked about the heated exchange with her friends. In a classic– and literal– example of the “telephone” game, her well-intentioned friends called police because they understood that the brother had a gun in his possession and was going to use it in school to harm his sister.

The school went into a lockdown… and roughly 20 local police officers showed up. But things then got complicated, because at the same time the law enforcement officers showed up, so did an armed band of parents. Here’s a description of the incident from a report by KSL.com:

Bannock County Sheriff Lorin Nielsen wants the public to know that arming yourself and responding to a school threat incident will likely put you in harm’s way and hinder law enforcement’s response.

The longtime sheriff made those statements after several armed Marsh Valley High School parents showed up at the school on Wednesday morning when word got out that the school had been placed on lockdown because of a student who authorities believed was possibly carrying a pistol and had allegedly attacked and threatened his sister, the Idaho State Journal reports.

The mother of the brother and sister says the incident was massively blown out of proportion and stemmed from a verbal rather than physical confrontation between her children on Wednesday morning as the two siblings drove to Marsh Valley High School, where they are both students. The mother said her son never possessed a firearm during the incident.

Nielsen said some of the parents who responded to the school after hearing about the lockdown were armed with AR-15 rifles. One parent who was carrying an unholstered pistol got to the school at the same time as the first sheriff’s deputies and state police and had a confrontation with a state trooper, the sheriff said.

Nielsen said encountering the armed parent at the school was very stressful for the trooper who stopped the man and told him to leave school grounds until law enforcement had the situation under control. Nielsen said the parent later profusely apologized to the trooper.

Nielsen, whose law enforcement career spans four decades, said he’s never seen armed parents respond to a lockdown before and he wants to make it clear that doing so is a very bad idea.

“Do not self-deploy to assist us,” Nielsen said. “We believed we had a kid who had just injured his sister and who had a gun. This wasn’t a test. We believed there was the possibility of an active shooter.”

The sheriff said that the armed parents who “self-deployed” to Marsh Valley High School because of Wednesday morning’s lockdown could have been arrested for interfering with law enforcement officers but weren’t.

He added that armed members of the public responding to school threat incidents put themselves in a very dangerous position because officers could think they’re active shooters and open fire on them.

Besides the pistol-toting parent who had the confrontation with the trooper, the other armed parents who showed up at Marsh Valley High School were stopped at the perimeter set up by deputies and state police around the school. Nielsen said members of the school’s janitorial staff also used school vehicles to block the entrances to the school’s parking lot to make sure no armed parents could get into the building, where law enforcement officers were trying to sort out what was going on.

It isn’t difficult to imagine a nightmare scenario where police and armed parents get into a fire-fight, with the police believing the parent is the “shooter”. Or worse, the parent entering the building with an assault weapon and a fire-fight ensuring where innocent victims are caught in a cross fire.

Two last thoughts:

First, the custodial staff who put themselves in harms way to seal off the school deserve accolades from the sheriff and apologies from the gun toting parents. By keeping armed parents away from the school they saved lives.

And second, it’s time for school districts across the country where gun laws are lax and stand-you-ground legislation is in place to revise their safety plans. Step one during a lock down needs to be deploying someone on the staff to seal off the entry ways so that armed parents don’t get confused for “active shooters” and draw fire from the police in the school or en route to the school.

Self-deployment is the price we pay for our current interpretation of the second amendment. I suppose an ad hoc gathering of armed parents passes in this day and age as a well regulated militia.

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