Things That Matter

Caught on Camera: An Oregon High School Coach Stopped A Student With A Shotgun With A Hug

School staff and students all across the nation undergo preparedness training for mass shootings. These are school shooting drills (just the same as fire drills and earthquake drills) that are now part of the new normals due to the increase in school shootings. However, an exercise can only prepare you so much. There’s no way to truly prepare yourself for a real-life shooting until you’re confronted with one. That’s what happened at an Oregon high school that, fortunately, was spared a mass shooting.

A football coach, who also works as security for a high school in Oregon, came face-to-face with a student holding a shotgun. New footage shows that the coach prevented a shooting by dealing with the student with kindness instead of violence.

Credit: @_SJPeace_ / Twitter

Back in May, 19-year-old Angel Granados-Diaz took a shotgun to Parkrose High School in Portland, Oregon. He allegedly told police that he didn’t take the gun to shoot his classmates but instead to kill himself. 

Keanon Lowe, head football and track coach, was in the class with Granados-Diaz. Newly released footage shows that Lowe didn’t tackle the student in order to disarm him, as early reports indicated. He instead embraced him, took him out of the class, while another man gently took the shotgun away from Granados-Diaz. 

The video footage shows the coach calmy hugging the teen and deescalating the situation by showing him respect and kindness.

Credit: timkmak / Twitter

“In that time, I felt compassion for him,” Lowe said in an interview with Fox 6. “A lot of times, especially when you’re young, you don’t realize what you’re doing until it’s over.”

Granados-Diaz is currently on probation but is getting mental health and substance abuse treatment. 

Lowe recalled the situation to KATU2 News and said the confrontation with Granados-Diaz happened pretty quickly, and he had to assess the situation as best as he could. 

“Pretty crazy situation,” Lowe told KATU2. “In a fraction of a second, I analyzed everything really fast, saw the look in his face, looked at his eyes, looked at the gun, I realized it was a real gun and then my instincts just took over. Then it was just me and that student,” he added. “It was a real emotional time. It was emotional for him, it was emotional for me.” 

Lowe said that Granados-Diaz surrendered to him, which is when another man was able to take the shotgun away. 

“I let him know that I was there for him. I told him I was there to save him. I was there for a reason, and this is a life worth living,” Lowe said.

Interestingly enough, the school didn’t want to release the footage of the coach embracing the student during the dramatic confrontation.  

Credit: @DanTilkinKOIN6 / Twitter

As we previously noted, reports back in May said that Lowe tackled the student in order to disarm him. The school security footage shows something completely different. 

We assume the school didn’t want to show the difference in tactics, perhaps to show that confronting an armed student in such a manner could be dangerous. However, the school said they didn’t want the footage released to protect the privacy of the students. 

“We learned last night that the security video footage of the May 17th incident at Parkrose High School was released by the district attorney’s office to KOIN news,” Parkrose Superintendent Michael Lopes-Serrao wrote on Twitter. “It is important to know that Parkrose School District denied this request from KOIN for the public record this past week. We denied this request because we believe the release of the video is a violation of student rights through the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). In addition, the release of the video has a significant impact on the students, staff, and families of Parkrose High School. This was a traumatic event for our students, staff, and community.”

Several news outlets were able to obtain and show the footage because videos confiscated by police become public records. The footage also gives people the awareness that there are positive ways to prevent school shootings without anyone getting hurt. What’s the alternative? We saw how a police officer that was at the Parkland High School in Florida ran away from the school shooter instead of trying to stop it. His cowardness costed the lives of 17 students and school workers. Lowe is a perfect example that prevention with compassion is possible. 

Check out the incredible footage below.

READ: From School Shootings To Change: Here’s What’s Happened Since The Tragic Shooting In Parkland, Florida

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Volunteer Firefighters From Mexico Went to Oregon to Help Their “Sister City” Contain the Unprecedented Fires

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Volunteer Firefighters From Mexico Went to Oregon to Help Their “Sister City” Contain the Unprecedented Fires

Just when you thought humanity has failed us, someone steps up and shows the world that the generosity of the human spirit is alive and well. 

Last week, a post on Reddit went viral of a group of volunteer firefighters from Guanajuato, Mexico who traveled to the city of Ashland, Oregon to help fight the wildfires that are blazing across the western state.

The fire department is called Heroico Cuerpo de Bomberos Voluntarios, the Heroic Volunteer Fire Department, in English.

The two towns have had a “sister city” relationship for over 50 years. Sister-city relationships are meant to “promote peace and understanding through exchanges that focus on arts and culture, youth and education, business and trade, and community development”.

The internet swiftly erupted into comments praising the volunteer firefighters for their bravery and comradery. “Mexico also sent relief during Katrina. Mexico and Canada are our best allies, always there for us regardless of the politics,” one commenter said. Another chimed in: “Welcome to Oregon, amigos. Mantenga una bota en el quemado.”

The troop of men who traveled from Mexico to the United States were identified as Captain Aldo Iván Ruiz, Captain Juan Armando Alvarez Villegas, Sargent Jorge Luis Anguiano Jasso, Sargent Luis Alfonso Campos Martínez and Miguel Ángel Hernández Lara. They were accompanied by the mayor of Guanajuato, Alejandro Navarro.

“We began the relief work,” Navarro wrote on Twitter. “Very moved by the terrible impact of the fire on families and their homes.”

The Oregon wildfires are just one of the many that are blazing down the West Coast of the United States, taking people’s homes, land, and sometimes, their lives. In more than 1 million acres have burned and two dozen fires are still raging.

“Almost every year since becoming governor, I’ve witnessed historic fire seasons,” Oregon Governor Kate Brown recently said at a press conference. “Yet this is proving to be an unprecedented and significant fire event for our state.”

Experts are hypothesizing that these unprecedented fires are further evidence of the toll man-made climate change is having on the environment. 

via Getty Images

“I can’t think of any time over the last 100 years where we’ve had serial fire outbreaks, four years running,” said fire historian Stephen Pyne to the Washington Post. “That I can find no record of happening before,” he added. “That is the big switch; that is the phase change.”

Regardless of what has caused the fires, the bravery of these firefighters is worth commendable. Their actions are further proof that borders cannot contain the universal values of kindness, altruism, and brotherhood.

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One Year Later, The Latino Community Remembers The El Paso Shooting

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One Year Later, The Latino Community Remembers The El Paso Shooting

Mario Tama / Getty Images

On August 3, 2019, a man entered a Walmart in El Paso, Texas and killed 23 customers and injured 23 more. The shooter, Patrick Crusius, went to the Walmart with the expressed purpose of killing Mexican and Mexican-Americans. One year later, the community is remembering those lost.

One year ago today, a man killed 23 people in an El Paso Walmart targeting our community.

The Latino community was stunned when Patrick Crusius opened fire and killed 23 people in El Paso, Texas. The gunman wrote a manifesto and included his desire to kill as many Mexicans and Mexican-Americans he could in the El Paso Walmart. The days after were filled with grieving the loss of 23 people and trying to understand how this kind of hate could exist in our society.

Representative Veronica Escobar, who represents El Paso, is honoring the victims today.

Rep. Escobar was on the scene shortly after the shooting to be there for her community. The shooting was a reminder of the dangers of the anti-Latino and xenophobic rhetoric that the Trump administration was pushing for years.

“One year ago, our community and the nation were shocked and heartbroken by the horrific act of domestic terrorism fueled by racism and xenophobia that killed 23 beautiful souls, injured 22, and devasted all of us,” Rep. Escobar said in a statement. “Today will be painful for El Pasoans, especially for the survivors and the loved ones of those who were killed, but as we grieve and heal together apart, we must continue to face hate with love and confront xenophobia by treating the stranger with dignity and hospitality.”

El Pasoans are coming together today to remember the victims of the violence that day.

Latinos are a growing demographic that will soon eclipse the white communities in several states. Some experts in demographic shifts understand that this could be a terrifying sign for the white population. These changing demographics give life to racist and hateful ideologies.

“When you have a few people of color, the community is not seen so much as a threat,” Maria Cristina Morales, an associate professor of sociology at the University of Texas at El Paso, told USA Today about the fear of changing demographics. “But the more that the population grows – the population of Latinos grow for instance – the more fear that there’s going to be a loss of power.”

The international attack is still felt today because of the constant examples of white supremacy still active today.

“It doesn’t occur to you that there’s a war going on, and there’s always been a war going on—the helicopters the barbed wire—but you just kind of didn’t see it,” David Dorado Romo, an El Paso historian who lost a friend in the shooting, told Time Magazine.

The sudden reminder of the hate out there towards the Latino community was felt nationwide that day. The violent attack that was planned out revealed the true cost of that hate that has been pushed by some politicians.

“El Paso families have the right to live free from fear, and I will continue to honor the victims and survivors with action,” Rep. Escobar said in her statement. “Fighting to end the gun violence and hate epidemics that plague our nation.”

READ: As El Paso Grieves Their Loss, Here Is Everything We Know About The Victims Of The El Paso Massacre, Which Were Mostly Latino

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