Sorry, no sympathy for Scot Peterson from this quarter.

Peterson was not the only reason that Broward County became known as Coward County, he was just the most obvious.

The comparison of Peterson’s actions at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School to combat following the D-Day assault breaks down for one very simple reason: The military knows from years and years of real-world experience that some members of a unit will be unable to perform. It’s said that only a small percentage of soldiers will ever fire their rifles in combat.

In law enforcement, one doesn’t have the luxury of others who can take up the slack; an officer is generally on their own when it comes to first contact. This is a given. Yes, more officers will be coming but there is no way of telling how long it will take for them to arrive, deploy and be on the scene.

I have had to enter an area with a drawn sidearm. Yes, I was concerned; yes, I was afraid. But it was my job and my duty to make entry and deal with whatever was within.

Officer John Barnes of the Santa Fe Independent School District Police was called when shooting began in the art room at Santa Fe High School. He and SFISD Assistant Chief Glen Forward responded and engaged immediately upon their arrival. Dimitrios Pagourtzis was armed with a 12-gauge shotgun and fired at Officer Barnes, inflicting critical wounds despite the fact Barnes was wearing a ballistic vest. Barnes didn’t stop engaging Pagourtzis until he was physically unable to continue. Other law enforcement officers continued to engage Pagourtzis and wounded him, ending the shooting with Patgourtzis in custody.

Another officer applied a tourniquet to Barnes’ arm but Barnes still flatlined twice on the way to the hospital. He was in the hospital for more than a month. He is currently completing nearly a year of physical therapy.

“As officers, that’s all we can do is get there as quickly as we can and then put the guy down,” Barnes said in an interview last November.

He said he is proud to be a member of the law enforcement community.

Barnes had served for 32 years with the Houston Police Department. He took the Santa Fe ISD position after he honorably retired from the HPD.

As of yet, Officer Barnes has not decided whether or not he will return to law enforcement.

That’s the job; that’s the honor; that’s the duty that goes with the badge.

Professional writer. Passionately interested in facts. Founder of onewordtexas.org

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