The day before, a heroic Alex Jones stood at a rally at the Alamo. The would-be politician who organized the rally snarled Jones’ intro like Miss Elizabeth to Mean Gene Okerlund. Texas native Jones screamed himself hoarse; he paraded, he grandstanded, he growled with the practiced rage of a professional wrestler about persecution of gun owners, globalist conspiracies and taking back Beijing in the name of the Second Amendment.
Those gathered at the “Come and Take it San Antonio!” open-carry gun orgy were whipped into near ecstasy by Jones’ hypnotic rhetoric. While Jones invoked the memory of those who died at the Alamo, daring the globalist tyrants from the DHS to enslave him, the crowd raised guns in salute and shouted “ALEX FOR PRESIDENT!”
After screaming approval at Jones’ apoplectic “If it’s war they want, it’s war they’ll have,” the crowd of firearms enthusiasts dispersed peacefully and went home to watch Red Dawn, celebrating their bravery and Christ-like defiance of tyranny. Because guns will save the world.
About 18 hours later, and 1,720 miles away, this happened.
At Sparks Middle School in Sparks, Nevada, just over the border from California, it was 7:15 A.M. — before first bell.
Math teacher, former Marine and current member of the National Guard Michael Landsberry watched his students meander into class. As usual, the former Marine had his students laughing, welcoming them into the classroom and preparing to review the lessons he had posted up on his personal tutorial page. He called it “Welcome to Mr. L’s Math Class for 2013-2014.”
Somewhere over the bustle of pre-class chatter, student Michelle Hernandez heard an (as yet unidentified) student say
“Why you people making fun of me? Why you laughing at me?“
Kyle Nucum, 13, hadn’t quite made it inside yet. As usual, he was outside on the basketball court, milking his last few minutes of freedom and fresh air. He didn’t see the eighth-grader behind him reach into his backpack. He only heard a firecracker go off.
A moment of heavy silence…then screaming.
Nucum spun around, and ran to investigate. He saw what the rest of the students did; a boy with a gun. The shooter lifted the firearm, and the crowd fled on a tidal wave of noise and fear.
Several students retreated into the safety of the school, diving for cover. Many, including Seth Hinchenberger, took refuge in a hallway nearby. The group there was mixed, as many boys as girls.
Another shot went off — the shooter had fired through the window into a classroom, aiming for a teacher there. He missed, the gun bucking in his hand. More shots were fired; at some point, another teenage boy was hit, though it’s unclear if he was an intended target or a casualty of circumstance.
The shooter began walking, much to the horror of those gathered, toward the hallway where Seth and his group had hidden. They watched with nauseating certainty as the shooter stalked toward them. He turned the corner and found them. He raised the weapon toward the group, sweeping it back and forth, slowly.
Seth and the other boys shuffled toward the front of the group; they stared, coldly terrified, into the sweeping gun, as rabbits into the eyes of a wavering cobra.
The boys edged forward, shielding the girls behind them with their bodies.
The shooter paused, his finger hard on the trigger…
but not firing.
The exact order of events that followed is still unclear, as are some of the details. What we do know is that, at some point shortly afterward, a Marine showed up.
Mister L. heard the shots go off from inside the school, and the sound flipped a switch in his mind. He wasn’t a math teacher anymore…he was a Marine, a Guardsman. He was trained to rush into the sound of war, and protect those he loved. Mister L. loved his students.
Coming around the corner, Landsberry saw the shooter. He was a kid…just a kid. He might have barely recognized the face, twisted into a cold visage of pain and rage.
Imploringly, but with the authority of a man who had faced death before, he told the boy to drop the gun. His exact words are unknown, as are their effect on the shooter. It’s possible they had no effect at all…and it’s possible they made all the difference. Only two people will ever know.
The boy raised the gun and fired. The shot was almost point blank.
Mister L. fell, dead.
Kyle Nucum and his friends fled across the adjacent field, and banged on a neighbor’s door, begging her to let them in. She did, and a crowd of terrified boys huddled in her living room.
The details of what happened next are also, as-yet, unknown. There may have been more shots fired, but only one counted. The last one.
The boy lifted the gun one, last time. The barrel was hot on his skin. The world went black, and the boy’s body crumpled in a small heap to the ground.
The Sparks Police Department would later report:
“We believe the suspect has been neutralized.“
The incident was over by the time over 200 police showed up. One Marine was dead, as was a boy with a gun, nearby. Two other boys were taken to Critical Care at the hospital for surgery — they are stable, as of now.
It’s 8:00 P.M. as I write this, I know that the parents of those who were there, and the family of the slain Marine, are trying to prepare themselves for a prayer service tonight. Doubtless, a few were among those who gathered to pray for peace in Syria last month.
In my mind, I can see Mrs. Landsberry fighting back tears of sorrow and pride for her husband, as she sits on her bed, staring blankly into her closet. She’s thinking about the appropriate dress; she’s looking at Michael’s old sneakers.
In my mind, I can see a thousand parents, trying to explain to their children why these things happen. Their children don’t want to go back to school, don’t want to walk through that hallway again. They’re looking for comfort, reassurance. There’s none to be had.
The shooter’s parents search for comfort as well. They find none…and likely never will.
I can see Seth, trying to comb his hair with a shaking hand. He and his friends are replaying that moment, staring into the blackness of the gun’s barrel, protecting those girls with their bodies. Some ask themselves what they could have done yesterday. Some wonder why the shooter didn’t fire. Some wish he had.
But all stepped forward when it mattered.
Just like Mister L.
But, most of all, I see Alex Jones. His face sweating and red, screaming in the San Antonio heat about globalist conspiracies, and about how the world will be a better place when everybody has a gun. I see him standing safely behind a podium, in front of a thousand armed supporters, in the midst of police too trapped by politics to kick them out; he says there’s a globalist conspiracy to stop him. He’s safe, stepping back into the crowd.
Alex Jones has never had to step forward.