Crazed "Private Pyle" Enters VA High School With Hatchet

25-year-old Kirk Beckwith Cowart is charged with Trespassing on School Property, Possession of a Weapon on School Property and Disorderly Conduct.
25-year-old Kirk Beckwith Cowart is charged with Trespassing on School Property, Possession of a Weapon on School Property and Disorderly Conduct.

Mentally ill Marine veteran Kirk Beckwith Cowart entered Salem High School in Virginia Beach, Virginia, Thursday morning and took to the stage in the school’s auditorium. That he was able to slip into the school undetected and undiscovered for an unknown amount of time was disturbing enough. That he was armed with a hatchet and was potentially homicidal at the time he was discovered only makes things worse.


NewsChannel 3’s Marissa Jasek spoke to Cowart and got his side of the story. Jasek called it the most bizarre interview she’s ever done.

“When I walked out, there is a dirty little secret, and it’s a dirty little name and it’s a dirty little trick, that goes ’round here, that I, myself, come to you in bondage. What did you think the Commonwealth of Virginia’s main stock and trade was? Tobacky? That comes from North Cackalacky. But from VIRGIN-ia. We breed virgins to be bought and sold,” he said.

Cowart talked about weapons, old girlfriends and the 14 months he spent at Camp Lejeune in the Marine Corps, then continued to ramble.

“I wanted to do something for all the children that have ever been sold into sex slavery and get out on a stage with a mother-f***ing ax and a f***ing toothpick of a f***ing knife, my katana, and just lay everything down.”

You can watch the jailhouse interview below.

Cowart’s father claims that his son is bipolar and that he thinks “the Marines broke Kirk,” and that the three months his son spent in a Texas V.A. hospital failed to address his mental illness.  I feel compelled to point out that several forms of mental illness manifest themselves in the late teens and early twenties, and that correlation isn’t causation.


Regardless of who failed Cowart, the fact remains that a former service member made it into a school before it opened this past Thursday morning, and if he hadn’t be apprehended when he was, he could have caused a significant amount of damage with his weapon before he was taken down. It was only dumb luck that someone found him before students began to arrive and that he was lucid enough at the time to be taken into custody without causing injury to himself or anyone else. He just as easily could have remained hidden, and announced his presence with a horrifying attack on an unarmed and defenseless student body in a crowded hallway.

Time and again, experts have pointed out that our schools are not doing everything they can to keep out children safe. We simply do not have the school budgets to put additional armed security staff in every school, and those schools with school resource officers will find those officers targeted first and ambushed by an aggressor (or aggressors) with any cunning at all.

The answer is now, and has always been, to train teachers, faculty and staff to defend their students with concealed weapons.

We got lucky in Virginia Beach on Thursday with this Private Pyle look-alike. Mr. Cowart was apprehended before he could hurt anyone.


Sooner or later we’re going to have another successful attack on a defenseless school.

It is absolutely sickening that more families are going to have to bury their children before we can even begin to have a rational conversation on allowing teachers to defend the lives of their students

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