Hero Aaron Feis, the Disarmed School Guard
Aaron Feis was the right man in the right place at the right time, but he was legally prevented from using the right, constitutionally protected tool to do the job. Mr. Feis was shot on Feb. 14 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, shielding students from a killer with his own body. Ultimately, he and 16 other people, mainly students, died. Mr. Feis was truly a remarkable and courageous man.
Most media reports have focused on his after-school job as a Stoneman Douglas High football coach (here, here, here, here, and here) – but, on Wednesday afternoon, Mr. Feis was doing his day job as a school guard. Mr. Feis was legally disarmed by the federal government in his attempt to save potentially dozens of children from murder.
It is necessary to consider this in light of the emotional trauma roiling the nation and the desperate calls "to do something." Your author agrees that something should be done. It should also be a solution today that in practical terms could save lives tomorrow.
Aaron Feis, husband, father, school guard, and football coach, rushed toward the fire and, by all accounts, engaged the shooter Nikolas Cruz soon after Cruz started shooting. The Sun-Sentinel reported that Feis "was one of the first to respond." When the "Code Red" went off, head football coach Willis May asked over the walkie-talkie whether the sounds were firecrackers. Feis retorted: "Those aren't firecrackers. I'm going in."
Broward County sheriff Scott Israel informed the public at his press conference on Feb. 14 that the suspect entered the east stairwell of the school in Building 12 on the first floor at 2:19 P.M. At 2:21 P.M., Cruz began walking down the corridor and shot into four classrooms along the first floor before entering the west stairwell and walking up to the second floor. He shot one victim on the second floor before taking the east stairwell to the third floor.
Per Sheriff Israel, Cruz then dropped his rifle and backpack and walked back down the stairs and exited the building. It is not 100% clear exactly when and where Aaron Feis made contact with Nikolas Cruz, and we will not know for sure until the sheriff's office releases more crime scene data, but we can make some reasonable inferences with the information available.
Broward County superintendent Robert Runcie is reported to have stated at a Feb. 15 press conference: "We had an athletic director, a campus monitor who responded immediately when there was signs of trouble in the school." Dave Hyde of the Sun-Sentinel wrote that "Athletic Director Chris Hixon and Aaron Feis died in the same hallway." Per the graphic in this Washington Post article, the four classrooms on the first floor in which Cruz shot people were all next to each other and close to the east stairwell. Only one person was shot on the second floor. This same article shows that Building 12 was adjacent to the school parking lot. It is logical to believe that Feis was in the parking lot ready to direct traffic as school was about to let out. As it has been reported that Feis died while shielding multiple students and only one victim was shot on the second floor, we can infer that Feis engaged the shooter on the first floor sometime soon after the shooting began. Aaron Feis likely was in the right place at the right time to save lives.
So why was Aaron Feis disarmed? Lisa Maxwell of the Broward County Principals and Assistants Association stated to the Sun-Sentinel:
"The only person trained and armed to fight back against an assailant at Stoneman Douglas is its one school resource officer, a Broward Sheriff's deputy funded by the city of Parkland. But Maxwell said she doesn't think he was on campus when the shooting happened.
"I have been told by a couple of sources that the SRO was either called off campus responding to something happening or it could have been his day off," she said. "They are stretched very thin.'"
This raises the question of why only one person was trained and armed to fight back against an assailant. One reason is that the "Gun-Free School Zones Act of 1990," originally passed as part of the Budget Control Act of 1990, bars school personnel from arming themselves. 18 USC § 922(q)(2)(A) states:
It shall be unlawful for any individual knowingly to possess a firearm that has moved in or that otherwise affects interstate or foreign commerce at a place that the individual knows, or has reasonable cause to believe, is a school zone.
Except as provided in subparagraph (B), it shall be unlawful for any person, knowingly or with reckless disregard for the safety of another, to discharge or attempt to discharge a firearm that has moved in or that otherwise affects interstate or foreign commerce at a place that the person knows is a school zone.
Supposedly, these laws are to protect us from ourselves while assuring us that the government will do its job. And yet neighbors called the police dozens of times on Nikolas Cruz, and no one connected any dots. To be fair, the family that took Cruz in after his mother died last fall apparently did not notice anything out of the ordinary (armchair psychiatrists beware). The FBI, however, ignored two tips that Nikolas Cruz was an imminent threat.
Precisely in order to protect us against evil men and government incompetence and malfeasance, the following words were written in 1789 into the 2nd Amendment by men who had pledged their lives and honor in pursuit of life and liberty (author's emphasis):
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
"Shall not be infringed" is an unequivocal command. It is a travesty of justice that Mr. Feis's constitutional right to protect himself and those innocent children was infringed. Based on Coach May's testimonial, Mr. Feis wittingly charged into the fray knowing that he would face powerful gunfire and that he was disarmed.
What would have happened if Aaron Feis had had a a Glock on his hip when the Code Red went off? Two cases from the last several years serve as pertinent compare-contrast examples.
On May 3, 2015, Elton Simpson and Nadir Soofi attacked the Curtis Culwell Center in Garland, Texas where a free speech event was being held with about 150 people in attendance. Simpson and Soofi were armed with three pistols and three semi-automatic assault rifles. Despite being heavily outmatched in firepower, a single police officer working as a security guard at the event armed only with a .45-caliber Glock pistol shot and wounded the attackers and stopped the attack without any loss of life. Contrast this to the attack on the Charlie Hebdo magazine office in Paris on January 7, 2015. Heavily armed men attacked Charlie Hebdo where they shot and killed 11 people and wounded many others. The first responder was a bicycle cop named Ahmed Merabet. As with Aaron Feis, Merabet had been disarmed by his government, as France has some the strictest gun control laws in the world, much stricter than those now being emotionally advocated in the United States. Merabet was shot and wounded and lay helpless to defend himself against his AK-47-wielding attackers, who then calmly walked over and shot him dead in the street.
If Aaron Feis had had a .45-caliber Glock in his hand and had been given the proper training he needed to do his job as school guard, I am convinced that he would have saved many lives after he bravely called out, "I'm going in." Rudyard Kipling once wrote: "Every so often, a few evil men must die so that weaponless dreamers may live in peace."
The delusional left believes in the perfectibility of man, that inherent evil does not exist and that crime may be eliminated through social policy. History since time immemorial proves, however, that evil men always have been and always will be among us. So we must be prepared to protect ourselves and our loved ones against them.
Aaron Feis was ready, but he had been unconstitutionally disarmed. How often must we watch innocent children die before we realize that the illusions of weaponless dreamers aid evil men?