Portland Football Coach Disarms School Gunman, Hugs Him Afterward


There’s so much we don’t understand about the mind of a mass shooter. Part of that is because it’s incomprehensible for us to want to kill dozens of people who aren’t actively trying to kill us. We get self-defense, but mass slaughter? That’s not something most Americans can comprehend.


One thing we can safely say is that those who commit these acts are deeply disturbed and are often hurting themselves.

A football coach in Portland is a hero today because he stopped someone who wanted to commit an act of this type, but he also seems to have considered that last part as well.

A high school football and track coach in Portland, Oregon, was celebrated as a hero earlier this year after he disarmed a student with a shotgun.

The student walked into a classroom at Parkrose High School in May, intending to use the firearm to take his own life, the Multnomah County District Attorney’s office said in a statement last week.

At the time, reports said the coach, Keanon Lowe, tackled the student. But according to emotional surveillance footage released by the district attorney’s office Friday, Lowe did nothing of the sort.

Instead, he embraced the student.

Footage shows the student, identified as Angel Granados-Diaz, walking down the hallway where the camera is filming. He moves out of view as he enters the classroom, right behind Lowe. Seconds later, people begin running through the hallways.

Here’s the video:


Now, let’s be clear, Lowe could have beaten the ever-loving snot out of the kid, and I don’t think anyone would have blamed him. This kid wanted to kill everyone he could.

Yet Lowe didn’t do that. He disarmed the threat, then he…well, he disarmed him again.

That’s just speculation on my part, mind you, but if some of these killers are in psychological torment, then embracing them is probably an effective strategy. As dorky as it may sound, they probably really, really need a hug. Hell, if he got the hug earlier (metaphorically), he might not have carried that gun into that classroom.

Plus, being hugged by a former college football player also made it so that the would-be gunman wasn’t able to do a whole hell of a lot until the police arrived.

However, at the end of the day, what Lowe did after disarming Granados-Diaz is commendable, but the truly important part is that Lowe fought back first and foremost. For better or worse, we continually see people who fight back coming out on top despite being outgunned. If you find yourself in a bad situation like this, fighting back is an effective strategy.


Let’s also acknowledge that this is a moment when lethal force would be warranted. Had Lowe been armed, Granados-Diaz would probably not have survived the day.

On the same token, Granados-Diaz could easily have killed Lowe and everyone else in that classroom, which is why people like me advocate for armed teachers. Yes, we have a feel-good story here, one that warms my own heart, but I’ll forgo stories like this in exchange for never having to write about dozens of children being murdered because no one on campus was allowed to be armed.

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