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Real Heroes in Our Midst

Our community has been shaken and shocked by revelations of a student bringing a gun to school and another accused of making threats to a high school on social media.

Our nation is dealing with a range of emotions as we come to grips with the grief, sorrow, frustration, and anger at the loss of 17 lives in the horrific school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.

Our nation’s leaders are engaging in a renewed but old debate about how to stop such senseless tragedy in the future. Locally our legal system must now deal with those individuals whose actions brought the fear and anxiety far too close to home.

As we catch our collective breath, Germantown Pulse wants to take a moment to point out the heroes in our community.

“True heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic,” said tennis great Arthur Ashe. “It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost, but the urge to serve others at whatever cost.”

The first and most important hero, which we should recognize but will probably never know, is the unknown student or staff member that alerted the Clarksburg High School administration to the fact that Alwin Chen had brought a weapon into the school. That takes a strong spine and will to do what is right and serve others. Maybe, it was a friend he confided in or a staff member whom he felt comfortable telling. It takes outstanding moral courage to turn in a friend whom you know is engaging in actions that go against your moral code. That person, if it was a friend of Alwin Chen, is now dealing with the emotions that their actions have made their friend the focus of national headlines. That unidentified hero deserves our gratitude and our respect.

Let’s take a moment to commend Clarksburg Principal Edward Owusu and the security staff, Allen Long, Mike German, David McCloud, Jackie Reyes, and Craig Shields on the way they handled the incident. The CHS security staff combined with Montgomery County Police School Resource Officer Troy Melott quietly removed the armed student from class and separated him from the firearm in his backpack without any other student or staff member knowing there was a possibility of danger.

Had the incident been handled differently our community might be dealing with a far bigger tragedy. “Officer Troy Melott did everything that was to be expected of an officer,” said 5th District Police Commander Capt. Mark Plazinski. “He handled it in a manner which it didn’t even disrupt the school day and for that he should be greatly applauded. I am so grateful to have men and women working in our schools as police officers who are willing to do the job and put themselves in harm's way to ensure that our students are safe. It is a great thing.”

Germantown Pulse echoes Capt. Plazinski’s comments and offers thanks to the CHS security staff and Officer Melott for the professionalism and sober and undramatic heroism.

The author Brandon Mull once wrote, “In short, heroism means doing the right thing regardless of the consequences.”