ASHLAND Ashland Rotary met on Monday and hosted guest speaker Larry Bailey. Bailey is a former educator who taught in Boyd and Carter counties, and he spoke to Rotary to discuss his career and his new book, “Shooting Aftermath,” about the tragic shooting at East Carter High School in 1993.
Bailey also informed Rotary that he had another book “on deck” called “Baseball in Appalachia”.
“Shooting Aftermath” contains the thoughts of the survivors of the shooting, and he said that even 30 years later, it wasn’t something many people – including the author himself – found easy to discuss. But he said the story was something he felt needed to be told and that the heroes of that day were recognized.
“This book was written after much prayer,” Bailey told Rotary.
Bailey taught at East Carter High shortly after the shooting. He spoke of his experience interviewing nine other candidates at school and how he was struck by the fact that there was a hallway and a classroom blocked off with police tape. Bailey said she later learned that teacher Deanna McDavid had been shot twice, but Gary Scott Pennington’s first shot missed and ricocheted down the hallway, hence the tape. The second shot killed McDavid.
Bailey was hired for the position that day and continued to work at the school for two years.
“I loved it,” he said. “And they are some of the greatest teachers I have taught with in my entire life.”
“So when I started writing this book, I knew I had to do it justice and do it in a respectful way,” Bailey said. “Because there are so many heroes from that day, and you’ve never heard their stories.”
One story was of the gunman placing a gun in the back of the head of one of Bailey’s future colleagues, Jack Calhoun, as he attempted to save head warden Marvin Hicks, who had been shot.
“He said, ‘I have to help my friend!’ The janitor had opened the door and pushed a girl out of the way and got shot,” Bailey told Rotary. Miraculously, Calhoun was not shot for his efforts. Unfortunately, Hicks died in his friend’s arms.
Bailey’s book gives voice to those who had to deal with the aftermath of the shooting, themselves victims of the tragic event. It tells the survivors’ stories, their thoughts and feelings from the dark day as they 30 years later still try to come to terms with the tragedy, and Bailey hopes it helps them heal and gain as much comfort as possible. .
Both books will be available from the author by contacting him at [email protected]