Two days ago, there was a school shooting in Colorado, at the STEM School in Highland Ranch, in the Denver suburbs – only a handful of miles from Columbine, the archetype of all school shootings. But while there has been a good deal of richly-deserved coverage of the heroic actions on the part of some of the students, there has been basically crickets with respect to the shooting suspects themselves.
On the one hand, I’m glad: these individuals do not deserve attention or notoriety. And the heroes – of whom, more below – very much deserve praise and fame! But on the other hand, I can’t help noticing that the identity of the villains in this incident – in which one student was killed and eight others wounded – flies in the face of the dominant (Leftist) narrative. Perhaps that explains the relative silence, compared to the round-the-clock coverage that has attended some other shootings?
Both of the teenage shooters would have been, in any other situation, poster children for the far Left. The 16-year-old is a “female-to-male transgender,” the 18-year-old is by some reports gay; the older one is a registered Democrat, and both are virulently anti-Trump, as evidenced by their Facebook pages. At least one, as this video points out, was a literal Satanist; another source reports that the likely car used by the suspects sported unusual artwork: “A pentagram was spray painted on [its] hood, with the numbers 666.”
You can pretty safely bet that if these two had been straight, white, male, Christian, political and social conservatives, the media would have been all over the story like… well, white on rice. (Actually, they were white; also one was male, and the other apparently wanted to be – I’m surprised our objective, rational, tolerant media hasn’t been playing up those elements… but maybe I shouldn’t give them any ideas.)
Even the firearms used were counter to the aforementioned dominant narrative: they were handguns, when the current push is those nasty, evil, fully-semi-automatic-assault-rifle “black guns” (wait a minute, isn’t that racist…?). And they were obtained illegally, when the narrative insists that banning the legal transfer of firearms – and/or legal firearms themselves – will somehow make us safer.
I am sorry, not sorry, if this sounds snarky; but I am beyond tired of the fecal matter that comes out of the mainstream media when it comes to firearms and crime. But let us set that aside for now, and look at something more uplifting: the heroes. “Look for the helpers,” Fred Rogers (“Mister Rogers,” of “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” fame) famously commented. And there are certainly helpers – heroes! – in this incident:
One is Kendrick Castillo, the only student killed: Castillo, reportedly a devout Catholic who frequently joined his father at Knights of Columbus fund-raisers, died charging one of the suspects. One of his fellow-students, Nui Giasolli, reported that his
“split-second decision to lunge for the gunman gave the other students a precious few seconds of cover to dive under their desks or rush the gunman. Ms. Giasolli said a cluster of boys then tackled the gunman, allowing her and others to flee the classroom…
Note that: “a cluster of boys.” Quite frankly, I don’t want to hear any more B.S. about “toxic masculinity.” In story after story like this, it is the boys, or the young men, who charge the malefactor, putting their own lives at risk to save others.
I’m not saying women might not risk their lives to save others, too (particularly mothers, if it’s their offspring they’re protecting)! But it is overwhelmingly boys and young men who are charging gunmen, holding doors closed, shielding their female classmates with their bodies, and otherwise taking decisive, self-sacrificing action to protect their fellow-students – and, all too often, dying for it.
“I don’t have enough words,” Ms. Giasolli said in her living room on Wednesday. “They didn’t have to risk their lives to save the 15 of us who were left.”
Castillo’s father “lauded his kind-hearted son as a hero. ‘I want people to know about him,’ the elder Castillo told ABC News.
He also told NBC that he talked with Kendrick about what to do in a school shooting, advising him “you don’t have to be the hero.”
But his son, who wanted to study electrical engineering in college, insisted he would act. “You raised me this way. You raised me to be a good person. That’s what I’m doing,” [the father, John] Castillo recalled.
Castillo said the coroner told him his son, an only child, took gunfire that would have harmed other students, according to the Denver Post.
“He cared enough about people that he would do something like that, even though it’s against my better judgment,” Castillo told the newspaper. “I wish he had gone and hid, but that’s not his character. His character is about protecting people, helping people.”
An article on the Catholic News Service website reports that
Castillo, who loved robotics, attended Notre Dame Elementary School in Denver and he and his family went to Notre Dame Parish where Castillo was an altar server and usher…
“Another friend, Cece Bedard, told The Denver Post that she and Castillo went to Knights of Columbus activities with their dads who were members.
She told the newspaper that Castillo wanted to join the Knights “because he wanted to help not only people, but his community. He was the bravest soul I’ve ever met and never even cared what others thought because he was too busy finding ways to make you smile.”
These sentiments were echoed by others who knew him:
Sara Haynes… a Catholic school teacher in Denver until just recently… knew some of her former students were now high schoolers at STEM. When Haynes learned that Kendrick Castillo, a former student of hers, was the lone casualty in the May 7 shooting, she cried immediately.
Then she reached out to the other students who had been in the same 7th and 8th grade math and religion classes at Notre Dame Catholic School as Castillo. Details of Kendrick’s death were not yet public, but her students guessed Castillo had died trying to protect others, Haynes said.
“I went to my students and we were all just sharing together. And I said: ‘Do you guys think that he blocked the shooter?’ And they said: ‘Yeah.’ I mean, it just wasn’t a shock to us” that he would give his life for others, Haynes said.
The above account is from the Catholic News Agency website, which also quotes another former teacher of his, Sr. Loretta Gerk, who knew Castillo while he was a student at Notre Dame Catholic School:
“He was the neatest kid,” Gerk told CNA. “He was so kind and gentle, but yet, he was all boy too, you know what I mean?” …
Gerk said when she found out Kendrick had died in the shooting, her heart and her stomach hurt. When she found out he had died trying to rush the shooter, she thought: “That doesn’t surprise me at all.”
Today – May 10th – would have been this graduating senior’s last day at the school.
One of those who joined Castillo, and finally took down one of the shooters, was Brendan Bialy, a senior who plans on joining the Marines after he graduates in a few weeks. Bialy is enrolled in the Marine Corps Delayed Entry Program, the 8th Marine Corps District confirmed in a statement reported by NBC News, which also noted that Ms Giasolli (quoted above) thanked Bialy and the other students who rushed the shooter, for being “brave enough to bring him down so that all of us could escape and all of us could be reunited with our families.”
“Brendan’s courage and commitment to swiftly ending this tragic incident at the risk of his own safety is admirable and inspiring,” the 8th District Marines said.
The incident comes only a week after 21-year-old Riley Howell, an ROTC Cadet, died taking down a gunman at UNC Charlotte.