Zero Tolerance

Forgetful Skeet Shooting Honors Student Expelled from High School, Facing Felony Weapons Charges

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Todd Starns of Fox News radio reports from North Carolina:

Eagle Scout Cole Withrow was just a few weeks from graduating with honors from his North Carolina high school, but now the active church member is facing a felony weapons charge and a precarious future after accidentally leaving a shotgun in his pickup truck in the school parking lot.

Got shotgun
Photo credit: Official U.S. Air Force / Foter.com / CC BY-NC

….Withrow had been skeet shooting with friends a day before, and only noticed he had left his shotgun in his truck on Monday morning as he reached to grab his book bag, said family friend Kimberly Boykin. When he realized his mistake, rather than leave school grounds, he went to the front office to call his mother for help.

"He didn't know what to do," Boykin, whose son is friends with Withrow, told Fox News. "If you jump in the truck and leave, then they get you for skipping school…."

Withrow, who did his senior class project on gun safety, locked the gun in his truck before going to call his mother. But when he asked her to come and take the gun, the trouble started.

"He was overheard in a private conversation with his mother explaining what happened," Boykin said. "He could have told a story, but he told the truth."

A spokesperson for Johnston County Schools confirmed to Fox News that they found the shotgun in Withrow's locked vehicle.

"The law is very clear when a person knowingly and willingly brings a weapon onto educational property," spokesperson Tracey Peedin Jones said. "The situation was turned over to law enforcement immediately."

ABC News from Raleigh-Durham reports that there is wide community support for Withrow and questions about a double standard for students and administrators:

ABC11 has uncovered that two school officials both brought guns onto school property in recent years, but were never charged with felonies like Cole.

An assistant principal at Cole's school was suspended for three days, but never criminally charged. She still works in the same position at the school…..

The Johnston County Sheriff's Office told ABC11 that if a school administrator brings a gun to school, they will be charged with a misdemeanor. For a student, the charge is an automatic felony.

The school district would only say that they are following the law.

Now "Free Cole" has exploded in the small town thanks to all the people rallying behind the student.

"Everyone makes a mistake, he tried to do the right thing by it and it's upsetting," student Tyler Pope said.

For now, Cole's future is uncertain. He was admitted to Campbell University and East Carolina University to attend school in fall. He was also awarded a scholarship, but because he is currently charged with a felony it is unclear what will happen.

NEXT: Immigrants Rally for Reform on May Day

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  1. Eagle Scout Cole Withrow was just a few weeks from graduating with honors from his North Carolina high school, but now the active church member

    That’s when I knew the link was to a Fox Nooz story.

    1. did the previous line that said “fox news” not clue you in

      1. You’re giving me way too much credit.

  2. The tyrannical hoplophobia is just unbelievable. Fuck the school and its district, and fuck the prosecutor.

    1. It’s not hoplophobia; the administrators did the same thing and no one freaked out. No, it’s a combination of:

      1. Zero Tolerance
      2. Lazy, incompetent administrators who would rather stick to the letter of the rules rather than make a judgement call and possibly risk themselves
      3. The prison mentality of public schools (one of the inmates broke the rules, gotta show him what happens)
      4. Scumbag cops who will actually charge this kid
      5. Scumbag prosecutor who will actually press charges

      1. I’m just going to go with the rigid cunts who ratted him out.

        1. I don’t see anything in either article that the kid has been charged yet. Maybe he has, but if it’s in the article I missed it. Hopefully, the prosecutor will use prosecutorial discretion and choose not to charge which (based on the fact pattern presented in the article ) is literally the ONLY rational decision

          1. I don’t see anything in either article that the kid has been charged yet.

            How about this?

            but because he is currently charged with a felony it is unclear what will happen.

            1. Hours later, Dunphy is nowhere to be found…must be cracking skulls on the May Day riot beat.

      2. “1. Zero Tolerance
        2. Lazy, incompetent administrators who would rather stick to the letter of the rules rather than make a judgement call and possibly risk themselves
        3. The prison mentality of public schools (one of the inmates broke the rules, gotta show him what happens)
        4. Scumbag cops who will actually charge this kid
        5. Scumbag prosecutor who will actually press charges”

        agreed

  3. The Johnston County Sheriff’s Office told ABC11 that if a school administrator brings a gun to school, they will be charged with a misdemeanor. For a student, the charge is an automatic felony.

    All animals are equal but some are more equal than others.

    1. Yeah, that just kinda jumps right out at you.

    2. What about teachers?

    3. That school administrator brought a loaded gun to school, whereas the kid’s gun was unloaded …

    4. Wow. A child is charged more aggressively than an adult for the same act.

    5. if a school administrator brings a gun to school, they will be charged with a misdemeanor. For a student, the charge is an automatic felony.

      It totally makes sense to hold the kids to a higher standard because they are more intelligent and responsible than the administrators.

    6. This is why we have juries.

  4. The Johnston County Sheriff’s Office told ABC11 that if a school administrator brings a gun to school, they will be charged with a misdemeanor. For a student, the charge is an automatic felony.

    NC state legislature or Johnston County Sheriff’s Office policy?

    1. Yeah, that just kinda jumps right out at you.

  5. “The law is very clear when a person knowingly and willingly brings a weapon onto educational property,” spokesperson Tracey Peedin Jones said. “The situation was turned over to law enforcement immediately.”

    racey Peedin Jones, I hope the very next time you commit a felony (on average, sometime within the next 8 hours) some overzealous prosecutor decides to go for the maximum possible charge under the most stretched definition of whatever law is used.

    Same applies to the LEOs who didn’t just drive the kid home and give him a warning not to be stupid.

    1. I think it’d be pretty easy to gin up some charge against her, ala Three Felonies a Day. Somebody ought to get on that.

      1. That’s what I had in mind.

        With so many laws on the books, I am sure she is guilty of something.

    2. knowingly and willingly

      When he realized his mistake

      Am I the only one who sees the conflict here?

      1. We all see it. It’s the essence of why charging this kid (if they choose to do so. I don’t see it mentioned in the articles) would be colossally stupid

        1. He is charged, you just didn’t read the article.

          So I’m guessing you are putting yourself on the record that circumstances exist in which law enforcement following procedure is “colossally stupid?”

      2. Obviously, if he was trying to correct his mistake, he knowingly had done something wrong by his own willing actions.

        1. Obviously he had not “knowingly brought the gun onto school property.” That’s the reason, upon discovering the gun in the truck when arriving at school, he locked the gun in the car and called his mother for help.

  6. Peak fucking retard. That is the goal of all feminized western culture. We’re going to outdo the Aussies if it’s the last thing that we do!

    1. You will never reach peak retard.

      There are always so many retards looking for ways to beat the old record.

      1. Well, at some point people become too fucking stupid to live, so I think there is a limit to that.

        1. Not so long as they have smarter people to feed off of.

  7. When I was in high school, there were pickup trucks parked in the school lot with rifles clearly visible in back window gun racks. No one freaked out. No one was ever shot, or even shot at, with a gun, in the 4 years that I was there. Go figure, because that scenario is impossible in progressotard land.

    1. My high school had a rifle range in the basement, and it was common to see members of the NRA club carrying their rifles through the school on their way to and from it.

      And I only graduated in 1995, so this wasn’t that long ago…

      1. 15 years before you, same thing, plus we (more precisely our parents) could obtain a rifle through a program called CMP. (No, I don’t remember what CMP stood for.)

        1. I graduated in 83. We would hunt before and after school. Had guns in the car all the time. My dad taught hunter safety as an activity period. Brought guns into the classroom during school hours on a regular basis.

          America has become a nation of pussies. May the founders forgive us.

        2. You can still get a rifle from the cmp, odcmp.org. Probably not through most schools, though.

          When I started high school, there was a smoking lounge for seniors. It was gone the next year, though.

          1. Graduated in’97, I should add, so, as late as ’93 seniors could smoke at my school.

        3. Civilian Marksmanship Program

  8. Shit like this is exactly why gun control laws are evil. Well, one of many reasons anyway. I think it’s time to educate the citizens of Johnston County about jury nullification.

    Thank god this dangerous criminal has been taken off the street!

    1. The only good taxpayer is a helpless, unarmed, and fully compliant one.

    2. “Thank god this dangerous criminal has been taken off the street!”

      And is in danger of having his career and future destroyed.

      1. Criminal for life, unless you are one of the protected political class, in which case laws never apply to you, it’s the only way! FORWARD!

  9. THIS IS WHAT TULPA AND TONY ACTUALLY BELIEVE IN.

  10. I had all kinds of guns in my truck with my wheeler in the back on my college campus in Louisiana. I went to class right after coming from the duck blind. Even got pulled over for speeding with a seat full of guns and never a problem. Cops don’t even ask about guns in Louisiana as they pretty much expect everyone to have them. I don’t think there’s ever been a school shooting here either.

  11. It’s a good thing those administrators knew the proper response to this dire emergency. I mean, the gun was just sitting there, locked up in his car. It could have unlocked the car, fell out by itself, bounced across the parking lot into the school, and shot a bunch of kids!

    Obviously, anyone opposing this completely common-sense application of school policy is a twisted mendacious bastard in the pocket of the NRA who simply doesn’t care if children are murdered.

    What do you people criticizing the school expect them to have done? Show tolerance? Then they couldn’t very well call it a zero-tolerance policy!

    1. I think we all can agree that discretion, even in the hands of civil servants, is far better than the lack thereof in a zero tolerance land.

      1. I think we all can agree that discretion, even in the hands of civil servants, is far better than the lack thereof in a zero tolerance land.

        “Zero tolerance” is the fuckwitted response to school employees having made equally stupid decisions when they had discretion. Honor students with no behavioral problems would get expelled and their lives destroyed while actual bad apples would be treated with kid gloves until they killed or severely injured somebody on campus.

        1. Yeah, some fail to recall, but harsher prison sentences, three strikes, etc, etc, etc – were also laws directed towards judges making stupid decisions with their discretion.

  12. So what kind of brave new world have we entered where we are now charging kids with crimes more harshly than adults?

    I mean, what kind of fucked up logic is at work here? I don’t even know where to begin those mental gymnastics.

    1. Lock him up in the same cell with that girl who blew up a plastic bottle. The most dangerous and hardened criminals should be housed together.

      1. “Lock him up in the same cell with that girl who blew up a plastic bottle.”

        Potentially a good idea. Maybe they’d end up getting married and having kids who grew up hating the government and became libertarians

    2. America has clearly declared war on its children.

  13. “The law is very clear when a person knowingly and willingly brings a weapon onto educational property,” spokesperson Tracey Peedin Jones said
    ———–

    except it seems that neither knowingly nor willingly is applicable. There was no intent, IIRC. These goddamn bureaucrats and their unwavering adherence to policy, even policy that is stupid and hypocritical. Kid learned a big lesson – if you fuck up, hide it, cover it up, pretend nothing happened and whatever you do, don’t tell authorities about it.

    1. Yeah. The spox basically told a blatant lie about what happened.

    2. Yeah. The spox basically told a blatant lie about what happened.

  14. If he hadn’t called his mom, everything would have been fine. The lesson here is to never try to do the right thing and always keep your mouth shut. Deception and dishonesty must always be the default when dealing with other people.

    Good job, North Carolina. You might have actually taught someone something useful in public school.

    1. Deception and dishonesty must always be the default when dealing with other people.

      In progressive derptopias anyway. Soviet citizens knew damn well to keep their mouths shut and feign ignorance.

    2. Deception and dishonesty must always be the default when dealing with other people.

      I’m not sure if public school officials actually qualify as people.

      Other than that, you are absolutely correct as to what we learned today.

    3. That’s what you got from it? What I got was “never call your mom”. No, I call your mom. She’s cheaper.

      1. “She’s cheaper” Then she is probably putting your mom out of business.

    4. Correct. When dealing with authorities, always lie. Border guards, customs officials, whoever. Lie, lie, lie.

      1. I don’t advise lying. Lying can come back to you. Silence is much safer.

        1. Spock: “In 24 hours, we’ll agree this conversation did not take place.”

          Valeris: “A lie?”

          Spock: “An omission.”

          1. Lying is really dumb and can hurt you substantially. In many cases, leading to stronger charges than what you are being investigated for in the first place – if ANYTHING. Unless damn certain you can get away with your lie (like many a serial killer and other TALENTED criminal), you are better off with the truth or nothing. Truth has helped a lot of people. It helped the hit and run suspect I had the other day get off with a mere warning. He was honest from the get go and he just caused minor damage to a power pole, so he got a warning, but he was straight up honest from the get go when I caught him. There, the truth benefitted him. If he had pulled any crap, he would have been cited.

            Lying is a dumb strategy unless you are pretty sure you can get away with it and especially if it’s not some really minor offense where the lying would be worse than the cite (like a mere open container or something).

            Cops tend to want to test veracity. THey aren;t looking for the answer. They are looking to see “is this guy full of shit or is he going to be straight up”. As soon as he’s pegged you into category A, you lose most of your chances to get cut a verbal warning.

            If it;’s a case that goes to trial, a “story” that was given AT THE SCENE and remains the same w/o wavering is MUCH more compelling to a jury. I’ve seen that many times confirmed.

            1. Unless damn certain you can get away with your lie (like many a cop, serial killer and other TALENTED criminal),

              Fixed it for you.

              1. not bad.

              2. Don’t forget to throw in “prosecutor”.

        2. Ken at Popehat is on this all the time, and he’s right. Unless you’re 100% sure that every word out of your mouth will be both verifiably true and not incriminating in any way, don’t say anything at all.

          1. Martha Stewart could tell you about lying to the wrong person.

    5. That’s exactly right. It’s like finding an endangered insect on your property – you don’t tell anyone, you just squash the little bastard and bury it.

    6. That should be one of those “The More You Know” TV ads lessons.

    7. If I were him, I’d have left immediately and taken the tardy. Better than a fucking felony conviction.

      One kid in my class just joked about having accidentally left his gun in his truck and got reamed for it.

    8. “He was overheard in a private conversation with his mother explaining what happened,” Boykin said. “He could have told a story, but he told the truth.”

      At least we can verify that this happened in North Carolina.

      Next time this kid will just cover the gun with a jacket and not mention it to anyone.

  15. “The law is very clear when a person knowingly and willingly brings a weapon onto educational property,” spokesperson Tracey Peedin Jones said.

    I’m fairly certain here, that this case meets all of the criteria for unknowingly and unwillingly, you shit-addled sow.

    1. Look, if your name in high school was “Peedin”, you’d probably grow up be a hateful, vicious little shit too.

      Also, “unwillingly” goes too far. He put it in the truck, he drove the truck to school. No one forced him to do that.

      1. No one forced him, but that doesn’t mean he willingly did it. This was an accident.

  16. DHS produces video demonizing gun owners as “extremist militia group” who are planning a terrorist attack. These are scary times indeed. And I don’t mean that I’m scared of extremist militia groups planning a terrorist attack.

    http://www.prisonplanet.com/mo…..rists.html

    1. On the plus side, they didn’t spend money on a Star Trek parody this time.

  17. Sensible.

    Reasonable.

    1. Don’t forget: common sense.

      1. Commonsense was forgotten long, long ago.

        So was Common Sense (Paine).

  18. Procedures were followed.

    1. </dunphy

      1. The wrong procedures were followed.

        1. You admit to following the wrong principles all the time.

  19. Setting aside one issue…

    It really shows poor firearms safety to forget where a firearm is and just leave it in the truck…

    A wise field trainng officer once echoed an important principle to me – intent is the essence of the law. So, when I read this “The law is very clear when a person knowingly and willingly brings a weapon onto educational property,” I go wtf?

    Clearly, CLEARLY! he didn’t do it knowingly. There is no reason whatsoever to believe he’s being dishonest about that. What possible benefit could he have gained and what possible fact pattern makes senses where he brings the gun on campus knowingly, then locks it up and goes to the office to have a conversation over the phone with his mom to come pick it up. The only story that makes sense is the one he is saying – that he forgot the gun was in pickup truck.

    And it would not be unreasonable for some sort of school discipline for such a trangression, but a felony arrest is RIDICULOUS.

    Heck, he even (apparently) has a witness (Boykin) to the fact that he discovered the gun inadvertently

    1. It really shows poor firearms safety to forget where a firearm is and just leave it in the truck…

      Fuck you city boy. I have two loaded guns in my truck at all times. As does 95% of the state’s population.

      1. Yeah.

      2. Seriously. It’s not like he left it in the middle of the road. He locked it in his truck two days ago. Then, knowing it was in a safe location he stopped thinking about it. It’s not like he forgot where the gun was, he just forgot that his school had a retarded gun policy.

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    1. I evaporated your gorgeous land rover range rover, dejakyle1. I’m fuckin sorry about it. See, I was havin a goddamn most-rewarding experience hacking these fucking zombies to fleshy bits with my blazing and wELL-maintained Stihl chainsaw. I started this hobby abooouuut 4 months ago and right away started making a nice zombie head collection… blood vials to boot. No insurance. My site home tab was covered by the Russian/Chinese federation cuz we all know they win. Um, well, as I said I fucked up your ride, man. And, Eleanor, well, she sucked my dick raw and I massaged her jizz bean until she moaned on Wednesday. Then we got out of the vehicle we stole from yo dumbass and popped a cap in its gazzy tank… Nice fireworks, spam!

  21. Dumbass should have fucking left immediately. Or, just made sure the gun was out of site and kept his cool.

    The laws are incredibly stupid and so is this kid.

    1. He is a dumbass. But, one would hope that America can work with its dumbasses without foisting felonies upon them in their dumbass moments.

      The laws are incredibly stupid and so is this kid. Yes.

      1. It’s his parents who are the dumbasses.

        They should have taught him that if he finds himself unintentionally doing something that he knows will get himself into trouble, to cover his tracks and pretend that nothing happened. Mens rea has been replaced with zero tolerance. Don’t matter what you meant. Just what you did.

        1. Yea, but parents do teach kids shit they just don’t fucking remember occasionally. I do this all the time. Fucking bastards don’t remember jack goddamn shit. I’m actually dealing with parental anxiety over this fuckstack of random bullshit. Unless you brand their asses with red hot iron stamps of totalitarian left/right wing laws kids tend to be dumbasses and… well… forget.

          Problem is, the fucking jellobrains who create legislation seemed to have forgotten that HUMANITY is HUMAN!!!! I hate the planet sumtimes…

        2. Agreed. He’s just a typical absent-minded teenager, thinking more about which college to attend how to get laid than some stupid school policy.

        3. I suspect I may be one of the ‘dumbass’ parents. I have tried my hardest to teach my children personal responsibility. Spent too many years thinking that each incompetent and/or venial school authority was a bizarre exception. In retrospect I feel foolish. Oldest child safely graduated and younger ones in charter school. Hoping to home school potential grandchildren!

    2. I’d say “naive”, moreso than stupid. Because he’s a kid. And being a decent and naive person, he probably didn’t realize what vile pieces of shit school officials are.

      1. Lesson learned.

    3. I wouldn’t go so far as to call the kid stupid. He’s an Eagle Scout and so has been indocteinated to believe that authorities are both authoritative and fair. Also, he is honest. Knowing these thngs what would anyone expect him to do?

      1. Agreed. Naive, yes. Stupid, not necessarily.

        On the verge of becoming dangerous to tyrants? Hopefully.

    4. The kid is an Eagle Scout, he went honor before reason. He is a real life Stark.

  22. It’s too bad this didn’t happen concurrently with an “armed intruder exercise”. He could have been a hero.

  23. he law is very clear

    Yes, the law is very clear. It explicitly prohibits the government from infringing our right to keep and bear arms.

    Any statutes or regulations that purport to override the constitution are not laws at all; they are usurpations.

    -jcr

    1. Ya, fuck them. Even debating the kowingness or willfullness is cutting these assholes too much slack.

    2. The law is clearly total fucking bullshit in its arrogant stance on human reality.

  24. The law is very clear when a person knowingly and willingly brings a weapon onto educational property

    Im thinking someone is unclear on what the words knowingly and willingly mean.

    1. Im thinking someone is knowingly and willingly unclear on what the words knowingly and willingly mean.

  25. Dunphy RE lying: I witnessed a bus fight this weekend where somebody threw a Bicardi bottle at the driver, bloodying his cheek, and do you know what I told the pigs?

    “BRO, I DIN’ SEE NUTTIN!”

    That driver is a prick anyway so I wasn’t going to stick up for him.

    1. “BRO, I DIN’ SEE NUTTIN!”

      That should be taught in public schools as the one and only thing to ever say to a LEO.

  26. “The law is a ass” — Charles Dickins

    1. “Dunphy is a ass” — Stanly Kubrick

  27. “He didn’t know what to do,” Boykin, whose son is friends with Withrow, told Fox News. “If you jump in the truck and leave, then they get you for skipping school….”

    And if you stay at the school, run around while waving your arms wildly, then go to the school office, call your mom and scream into the phone, “Mom, put down the Reader’s Digest!!!! I left the shotgun in my truck…whaddo I dooo?”

    You get hit with a felony charge.

    Let’s see here. Get busted for playin’ hooky… face down felony weapons charges.

    Man, tough choices all around.

    The school district would only say that they are following the law.

    Why do those words give me no solace in today’s modern world?

    1. There’s no way this kid knew he’d be facing felony charges. He knew he made a harmless mistake. He didn’t want to get in trouble, but he probably thought the worst that could happen would be something reasonable, like a few days suspension. Then he learned a harsh lesson in politics.

      1. Yeah, Pal’s criticism would only make sense if this kid did it a second time, or after this happened to someone else already.

  28. I dunno.

    In high school I was annoyingly honest and naive as the day is long. But I knew not to trust authority and to never get caught doing anything.

    I this kid’s shoes I would have locked the gun up, thrown a shirt over it so it wasn’t visible, and gone to class like nothing had happened. And that was an era in which the ROTC class would drill with M-14’s (missing the firing pins – but still a machine gun by BATF standards) around the campus.

  29. Sure, people here will blame the victims. But obviously, this guy was known to be an NRA/militia type. Eagle Scout, huh? Ever seen the Nazi Party coat of arms? You do the math.

    I mean, he admits having shot the gun just the night before — with friends. Better make sure he gives up some names, I guarantee you have more guns in that parking lot.

    And of course you’d buy the story that he was calling his mom. He wasn’t. You can trigger a bomb by calling a cell phone, you know.

    These people were right to fear for their lives, and they’re not out of the woods yet.

  30. OK thats the craziest thing I have ever heard!

    http://www.GoGetAnon.tk

  31. When was the last massacre at a private school with a skeet team ?

  32. I’m not sure we’re being as hopeful as possible here, inasmuch as the kid is an Eagle Scout. Getting that Eagle Badge is a lesson in persistence if nothing else.

    Should this ugly episode scar the kid emotionally and send him on a killing rant that includes the school officials, idiot cops, prosecutor, school board members installing zero anything, and most especially the eavesdropping fuck; the culture may be infinately better off.

  33. Looks like a forgetful alt-text writer should be expelled from Reason.

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  35. The kid is honest. He knew all these things what would anyone expect him. He’s an Eagle Scout and so has been convinced to believe that authorities are both authoritative and fair. I will not say anything wrong to this kid.

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