School Shooting, Hero Teacher (Don Ward)

By: Don Ward
By: Don Ward

The attack today at Deer Creek Middle School was stopped when a brave man stepped in.

This Time Someone Had A Chance To Be A Hero

"I don't know if it was courage or stupidity."

That's what Deer Creek Middle School teacher Dr. Dave Benke says about the moment he was tested..the moment he did what many of us wonder if we could do. 

Dr. Benke was outside the school when an adult gunman started shooting at children.  Two kids were hit, dozens of kids were still in range. That's when a soft-spoken math teacher made a statement. He made a move.  Kids who were interviewed live during 11 news at 4pm talked about that moment, about how scared they were and about how thrilled they were when the teacher tackled the shooter. 

Dr. Benke talked tonight about the school's security plan in case of what police call an "active shooter" situation.  He recalled telling kids that if it ever happened he hoped he'd have the courage to do whatever he could to help.  He had it.

Schools across our nation all developed plans like that for situations like this..just in case.  The plans all came about after the massacre at Columbine High School.  Deer Creek is just 2.8 miles away from Columbine High, but worlds away in terms of outcome.  On April 20th 1999 schools didn't have such detailed security plans.  Law enforcement agencies didn't have specific plans for entry into a school with gunmen on the loose. There were heroes at Columbine, but no one had a chance to stop the shooting.  The two teen gunmen took care of that themselves, but only after multiple murder.

As I write this, the young male victim from Deer Creek is in critical condition, the female victim may be out of the hospital. There could so easily have been more if Dr. Benke hadn't had the presence of mind and the courage to tackle a man intent on committing murder.

Maybe it was a father's instinct to protect...Dr. Benke has three school-aged children.  Maybe it was raw adrenaline.  Dr. Benke says he doesn't know if it was courage or doesn't matter, it worked. 

He had the enough of whatever it was to do what was needed.

Could the rest of us do the same? We all hope so, and we all hope we'll never have to find out for sure.

We'll talk again soon.

Don Ward


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