Ninie Hammon’s Blog for Readers

Another massacre like Sandy Hook almost happened

Posted: October 11, 2015, 12:42PM

I believe it's time for me to share this story.

The parents of the children massacred in Sandy Hook Elementary School in December, 2012, had no idea their little ones were in danger, but neither did the parents of children in a South Carolina elementary school seven years ago. Those unsuspecting parents never would have dreamed that a mentally unstable gun nut had his car loaded with automatic weapons and was prepared to chain the school doors shut from the inside so he wouldn't be interrupted. And so his prey could not escape.

It began on a normal school day in a suburban community near the state capitol. A father walked into the building, said he'd come to pick up his son. But he was not the custodial parent, it had been an ugly divorce and the man had caused trouble before. When the principal refused to let him take the child, he got angry, cursed at her and stormed out. The man returned the next day with the same demand and when she refused a second time, he said he would come back and kill everybody in the building. He left the school, went home and loaded the trunk of his car with hand guns, assault rifles and ammunition. He also loaded up heavy chains and padlocks to secure the school doors once he was inside.

But you didn't read about the massacre of dozens of small children seven years ago. The families of those youngsters were not devastated by a blow from which they'd never recover. The whole country did not go into mourning  for a grieving community. Why not? Because a South Carolina police officer shot and killed the man before he had a chance to commit mass murder.

The parents in that South Carolina community did not know that a police officer saved their children's lives, or that for the next six months that officer questioned whether or not he wanted to remain in law enforcement. Although he'd spent years in the military and was a combat veteran, this gunman was the first person he'd ever shot at such close range the man's blood splattered in his face.

This officer would not allow me tell this story unless I promised not to use his name or identify the community where he serves. "If I could, I would erase that whole day from my memory," he told me yesterday. "I'm not proud of killing a man."

The officer did not act alone, of course. He was a member of the SWAT team called out when the gunman threatened the school. The principal had called the police the day before when the man went into a rage and officers from several jurisdictions had been searching for him ever since. Now, they deployed a barricade of officers around the school, and then got lucky. A neighbor questioned by police the previous day called to report that the man had returned home.

As the SWAT team approached the man's house they passed his car. The trunk lid was open. Lying inside were enough weapons and ammunition to take down a small army, heavy chains and padlocks.

When the leader of the SWAT team stepped from the living room of the man's house into the hallway leading to his bedroom, the gunman opened fire. His first round slammed into the Kevlar vest on the first officer's chest. The force of the bullet spun him around and knocked him breathless to the floor. The second round caught the second officer in the thigh. But the gunman didn't have a chance to shoot the third SWAT team member. Still unable to breathe, the lead officer rolled over on the hallway floor, lifted his rifle and fired three shots at point-blank range.

I don't know if the parents in that community ever really understood how much danger their children had been in. There was news coverage of the event, of course, but they might not have put it together in their heads, might not have grasped such a horror could actually happen. Until Sandy Hook, how many of us could have countenanced that kind of evil?

I don't know if they realized that a group of brave police officers put their own lives at risk to save the lives of who knows how many children.

And I wonder how many times a similar scenario has been played out in other communities across America. In Iowa, maybe. Arizona. Maine. Anytown, USA. How many times has a thin blue line been all that stood between our children and the forces of insanity, depravity and evil that lurk out there just beyond our ugliest nightmares?

I don't know the answer to that question. But I do know that the next time I see a police officer, any police officer, I'm going to tell him thanks.




Amy Kaufman Burk December 30, 2013, 9:24AM |

We all owe so much to the police officers who keep us safe. They put themselves on the line physically and emotionally, for the well-being of others. I, too, am grateful. Thank you for telling this story.   Reply

Replies (1)

Jennifer Long January 12, 2014, 6:52PM | http://Jen+niferLongontwitter

Hello, I enjoyed reading this almost horrible disaster that could of happened, like what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary. I have been working on a children's book that will enlighten any one affected by this type of crime. It should enlighten the horror for anyone that took any interest in this horrible crime! My creature character "Andrew Jr." is the savior in my book! What do you recommend me do for publishing with very little money and no time to waste on traditional publishing, (unless you have an agent I can connect with)? Please e-mail me back.................... Sincerely, Jennifer Long   Reply

Replies (1)

Judith Blevins January 22, 2014, 1:35PM | http://mysiteisaworkinprogress

Hi Ninie, There are many unsung heroes out there that we will never know about. So, I always thank Law Enforcement Officers, Firemen, Medical Rescue and our Military Personnel every chance I get. These are people who put their lives on the line every day to keep us safe and free. The least we owe them is RESPECT. You never know when it will be one of your loved ones in danger. On a different note, I have been wondering about your absence from your blog for the past month. I certainly hope you are doing well and are just tied up with the necessary workings of getting your new book released. I'm not complaining, I just miss your posts and am sending best regards to you and yours. Respectfully, Judy B. in Ohio   Reply

Replies (1)

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"Oh, and about the 9 and the e beside my name. Say it fast, emphasis on the 9. That’s how you pronounce my first name -9e. (Think “rhymes with tiny and shiny, NOT with skinny and penny.”)

Suspense Author

I have soooo many stories I want to tell you, so many worlds I want you to see, so many people I want you to meet. People in trouble, most of them. Big trouble they didn't ask for but there it is. Ordinary folks like you and me who are forced by circumstances to fight for their lives. And then, smack in the middle of their everyday worlds they encounter the unexplainable. It's always the game-changer.

Welcome to my world. If you'd like to know more about me, I'm easy. Click on Meet Ninie and you'll see. My life isn't really an open book; it's more of a pamphlet, and you are cordially invited to read it. I'd love to interact with you on Twitter, Facebook Fan page, and Goodreads. Or come visit with me at 9e's Kitchen Table, a Facebook group where readers and I hang out. I think you'd like it.