In way too many mass shooting scenarios, we hear how the authorities had been made aware of a threatening person all to have them go and shoot multiple people. Sometimes, when the right people are involved, shootings can be stopped. This week, an unlikely person just thwarted what could have been the next big school shooting. In a time where it’s hard to find a sports star to cheer for, one just emerged. When he found out what was going on he went to work to stop it.
According to ESPN, New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman is prolific on his Instagram account, and his interaction with those who follow him might have prevented a potential tragedy.
As first reported by The New York Times, Edelman was visiting former teammate Danny Amendola in Texas in late March when he received a direct message on Instagram that read, “Dude, there is a kid in your comment section says he s going to shoot up a school, I think you should alert the authority.”
Edelman told the Times that he notified his assistant in Boston, who found the message that read: “I’m going to shoot my school up watch the news.”
Edelman’s assistant called 911, and the message was ultimately traced to a 14-year-old boy in Port Huron, Michigan. When police arrived at the boy’s home, according to the Times, he admitted to posting the threat. Authorities found two rifles that belonged to his mother, a police chief told the Times. The boy was taken to a juvenile detention center and remains there after being charged with making a false report of a threat of terrorism.
Edelman plans to send something to the Instagram follower who alerted him about the threat, telling the Times, “He’s the real hero.”
“It’s not good enough anymore to disregard comments like those as offhanded,” said Don Yee, who is Edelman’s agent. “All of us, including players, are learning together to take these kinds of things very seriously.”
This is how mass shootings are stopped. By recognizing when there is a problem and following all the way through. Had Edelman just thought that this was just some stupid kid wanting attention and didn’t do anything about it, we could have been looking at the next big shooting. Everything happened right in this story, from the guy pointing out the comment to Julian, to the follow through in getting the police involved and arresting the young man.
We have to take every threat seriously so that these threats do turn into lost lives.