The slaughter last October at Sunny Day Middle School was compounded by “a comedy of errors” that made it worse than it had to be, according to a report of the Investigative Committee called by Idaho’s Republican Governor, Daniel McNutt, into the tragedy that left 77 children, 19 teachers, a school janitor and 24 police officers dead. An additional 219 people were injured in the melee.
The report, released on Twitter, found that a variety of mishaps contributed to the death toll. The first was that the school’s official Armed Teacher, Lillian Waggle-Jones, mistook five-year old Caitlyn McDruthers for the shooter; the real shooter was Calvin Boyd, 17, who had been expelled from the school five years previously. While Waggle-Jones was shooting little Caitlyn (whose lunchbox the near-sighted teacher mistook for a gun), Boyd ran into the hallway, mowing down more children with his AR-15.
When the other students in Waggle-Jones’ classroom realized their teacher had shot Caitlyn, they attacked her in an effort to disarm her. Waggle-Jones, panicking, continued to spray the room with a hail of bullets, causing additional deaths and injuries. Meanwhile, a SWAT team from the Pleasantville Police Department had arrived. Swarming the school, they mistook Waggle-Jones for the shooter and shot her dead, but unfortunately, eleven children who were near her also were killed.
Thinking they had stopped the massacre, the SWAT team put down their arms. But by that time, Boyd had made his way into the lunchroom, where he continued his killing spree. Hearing the sound of shooting, the SWAT team headed in the direction of the cafeteria. But a second SWAT team had arrived and, encountering the first SWAT team, mistook them for terrorist assassins. A shoot-out between the two SWAT teams ensured, during which more teachers and children were struck. Most of the slain police officers died during that confrontation.
Boyd shot and killed 34 children in the cafeteria before heading for the gymnasium, where a volleyball game was underway. Since the gym is in a separate building, those at the game were unaware of what was happening in the school, across a grassy knoll. Entering the gym, Boyd opened fire. The three hundred students and parents at the game attempted to flee, causing a stampede in which 17 were trampled to death. At that moment, a contingent of armed soldiers from nearby Fort Bigelow, who had been called to the scene via the emergency police broadcast, stormed the gym. They opened fire, shooting another 34 children and adults before realizing their mistake. Boyd apparently saw the chaos as his chance to escape and continue his rampage. He went outside to the parking lot, which was quickly filling up with children, teachers, parents, neighbors, police, EMT personnel and news reporters. Seeing him brandishing his AR-15, Pleasantville police officers opened fire, striking at least 25 individuals, but somehow missing Boyd, who, knowing that he was surrounded and running out of ammunition, turned the semi-automatic weapon on himself. The bullets killed him, but, passing through his body, also killed three more teachers, seven police officers, and the school janitor.
The report also revealed that Waggle-Jones’s mental state and physical health had not been adequately determined before officials named her as Sunny Day’s sole Armed Teacher. Waggle-Jones, 67, suffered from Parkinson’s Disease, was in psychotherapy for undisclosed reasons, and was taking the medications Clonazepam and Diazepam, both of which are prescribed for conditions such as anxiety and depression. She also had complained about her eyesight, according to several witnesses who knew her. The Pleasantville School District officials who appointed her as Armed Teacher were unaware of her conditions. Waggle-Jones received a “signing fee” of $1,000 for volunteering as Sunny Day’s Armed Teacher.
“This comedy of errors could not have been foreseen,” Gov. McNutt insisted, at a contentious press conference. He added, “I mean, arming Ms. Waggle-Jones seemed like a good idea at the time. President Trump himself said so. So we had no reason to think anything could go wrong.” In Washington, D.C., President Trump’s press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, when asked about the massacre, responded, “The President stands by his assessment that arming teachers is the best way to prevent school shootings.” Sanders insisted that the dead-and-wounded toll at Sunny Day “would have been a lot higher, if Ms. Waggle-Jones had not been armed.” Later, in a tweet, President Trump said that there would have been “no deaths at all, if all the teachers had been armed, as well as all of the students. You figure, every gun in that school would have meant at least one less death. So the solution is to fill the schools with more guns than people. That’s what Wayne LaPierre tells me, and believe me, he’s a patriot. He loves children and America and his mom.”
In a separate tweet, the president offered his “thoughts and prayers” to the families of the victims. He also seemed to criticize Caitlyn McDruthers, the five-year old girl who was shot by her own teacher. “Her lunchbox obviously looked like a gun. We’re looking into why her parents allowed that to happen. I understand that they are Democrats. We’ll see. In my opinion, that teacher did exactly what she was trained to do: open fire on a threat. Lillian Waggle-Jones is a hero.”
A spokesperson for the National Rifle Association, Dana Loesch, said the NRA “will not be gaslighted into thinking we’re responsible for a tragedy we had nothing to do with.” She blamed the Sunny Day Massacre on “Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Oprah Winfrey, the elitist fake media, snowflake libtards and the Deep State. MAGA!”
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