One of the most-talked about topics in the United States these days is gun control, a debate that was sparked once again after a school shooting in Florida two months ago left 17 people dead. While the discourse is emotionally charged and politically influenced, the consensus is that public areas like schools need to be made safer one way or another and that massacres like the one at Stoneman Douglas High School need to be prevented.
Enter New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman, who according to a report by the New York Times' Ken Belson played a key role in stopping a potential school shooting from happening. The 31-year old was visiting his former Patriots teammate Danny Amendola in Texas in late March when he was alerted via direct message about a suspicious comment under one of his recent Instagram posts.
“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,” the text Edelman received by Instagram user Jesse Y. Li read. “Holy Toledo, what is going on?” was the wide receiver's first reaction to the text. His second was to call his assistant in Boston, Shannon Moen, to notify her about the comment he was alerted to by the message.
Moen scrolled through the replies to Edelman's Instagram post from March 25 and found the suspicious comment posted by a user: “I’m going to shoot my school up watch the news”. Just like Edelman, his assistant reacted quickly and called 911. She showed an officer a screen shot from the threat – and the prevention was set off. After authorities gained more information about the poster, an emergency records request was sent to collect information about the account.
Once the email and IP addresses belonging to the user were found out, police in Michigan – from where the comment originated – were alerted. It did not take long for law enforcement to reach the home of the 14-year old, who posted the comment and admitted to doing so. The teenager was taken into custody and later charged with making a false report of a threat of terrorism.
“We’re very lucky the Boston cops were all over it,” Moen told the New York Times. “Very lucky the Michigan cops were all over it.” Edelman, meanwhile, praised the Instagram user who brought the comment to his attention: “Thankfully, this kid said something,” the veteran wideout said. “We’re going to send him something, a care package, just for his work. He’s the real hero.”