On Monday, January 22, 2018, 15-year-old Gabe Parker was, the best anyone could tell, doing fine. The following day, he overslept, had some cereal, and then asked his mother to drive him to Marshall County High School, in Benton, Kentucky, where he was a sophomore and a trombone player in the school band. He walked into the band room and asked his friends to flip a coin. (He would later tell police that they got the coin flip “wrong.”) Moments later, he walked into the student commons and opened fire with a Ruger 9mm pistol. Police say Parker hit 14 of his classmates and killed two of them: Preston Cope and Bailey Holt, both 15. Several more students were injured in the frantic stampede that ensued as they fled. A Kentucky State Police detective who interviewed Parker soon after the shooting described him as “shockingly calm.” At any given moment in the United States, some community somewhere is struggling to recover from the worst thing that’s ever happened to them, and that worst thing usually involves a gun. Since January of this year, one of those communities has been Benton, a town of fewer than 5,000 people in western Kentucky’s… Read full this story
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