Since my last post in this series, Florida Evil Again 2, a great deal of new information has been made public, and none of it is good for the Broward County Sheriff’s Department, or those arguing that law enforcement is the answer. A brief list of some of the most significant revelations:
*Deputy Scott Peterson, who was apparently Douglas High School’s resource or liaison officer, was present while shots were being fired, but waited outside the building, reportedly with his handgun drawn, and never entered. Suspended, he immediately retired, and as many as six officers have been guarding his home. Peterson’s apparent lack of initiative was caught on surveillance video.
*At least three additional Broward County Deputies were present, but with guns drawn, took cover behind their cars rather than entering. It was several officers from the Coral Springs Police Department, a nearby town, that actually entered, apparently assisted by two Broward County deputies, but not Peterson or the initial three deputies, who apparently continued to hide. An officer from the Sunrise Police Department also entered.
*Multiple reports have suggested Douglas high school had surveillance video, but it was on a 20-minute delay.
*There is no question that once an attack begins, the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun, but of course, the media and usual anti-liberty suspects can’t admit that:
*It now appears the FBI was given even more direct information about the danger Nikolas Cruz represented than previously believed–and did nothing.
*It is also becoming apparent the Broward County Sheriff’s Department had in the area of 40 opportunities to intercept Cruz over several years, and a significant number that were outrageously obvious, but did nothing. Sheriff Scott Israel has admitted to 23.
*On February 21, CNN hosted a “town hall” event that turned into anti-gun, leftist political theater. Sheriff Israel, even though he knew his deputies cowered behind their cars as people were dying, said not a word about it, choosing instead to attack the NRA, and NRA spokesman Dana Loesch, who bravely appeared, was savaged by Israel and the astroturfed crowd, and needed her three-man security detail to get out of the building.
There are many additional details, but let us, gentle readers, focus on one primary issue for the remainder of this article. On Sunday, 02-25-18, on Fox News Sunday, Florida Governor Rick Scott touted his “action plan” to make Florida schools “safe.” Chris Wallace noted that Scott does not want teachers to carry concealed weapons. Scott weakly replied that he wants teachers to teach, and law enforcement officers to protect people.
This is an issue about which I’ve often written, but please gentle readers, allow me to provide a reminder. Any teacher carrying a concealed handgun is not in the least teaching impaired. Many teachers already have concealed carry licenses, and routinely carry everywhere–except on school grounds. The several states consider them competent and qualified to defend their own lives, the lives of those they love, and even the lives of strangers nearly everywhere–except where they teach. For some reason no one seems able to convincingly explain, mere citizens cannot be allowed to defend lives on that hallowed ground.
We know that virtually every mass shooting attack in recent history has taken place in a gun free zone, and why would it be otherwise? Even mentally ill killers aren’t stupid. They want a target with a great many helpless victims, packed into small, easily accessed and controlled spaces, places they can be assured no one will resist them, and they’ll have plenty of time to run up a body count the media will only too glad to plaster all over the airwaves for months, and use to push progressive politics.
But we’ll put police officers in every school in America! All 100,000+ of them? Police agencies are always understaffed. To put one patrolman on the street 24/7/365, at least four officers must be hired. Virtually every police agency in the nation scrapes to find the money to hire even one. Where will a local police department or sheriff’s office find the money to hire 10 or more officers to cover every school in their small towns? And what about bigger cities with many times that number of schools? It’s just not going to happen.
But even if money and manpower were available, officers can’t be present all the time. Their duties inevitably take them away from their schools, and what of a school like Douglas High, with a huge campus, multiple buildings and more than 3000 students? Chances are even if an officer were on campus when an attack started, it would take them as long, or longer, than patrolling officers to respond–if they were willing to engage a shooter.
Perhaps Deputy Peterson was justified in not entering. After all, the shooting lasted only six minutes, and there is a great deal we still don’t know. Perhaps Peterson understood no matter how correct and reasonable his conduct might have been, he was going to be a sacrificial lamb, his sheriff had already hung him out to dry on national TV, and there was nothing that was going to save him. Better to retire and get out of the direct line of fire. Uh, that was a rather unfortunate idiom, wasn’t it? We’d better get used to that sort of innocent mistake.
Some might think Peterson and the Sheriff’s Department are going to get sued up one side and down the other for their obvious failure to protect the children and teachers. After all, people died! A jury is going to award survivors millions!
No. They’re not. You see, gentle readers, the police can’t be sued for failing to protect people. The case–Castlerock v. Gonzales–was decided by the Supreme Court in 2005. The incident that eventually wound its way to the Supreme Court occurred in Castlerock, Colorado on June 22, 1999.
On that day, Jessica Gonzalez’s three little girls, ages 7, 9 and 10, were playing in her yard. At about 5 PM, Jessica’s estranged husband, in violation of a custody agreement and restraining order, took the girls. At 7:30, Jessica called the police. Two officers came to her home, and she showed them copies of the custody agreement and restraining order. She begged them to return her daughters, but they told her there was nothing they could do and told her to call again at 10:00 if the girls weren’t home.
Why 10? Many police departments schedule shift change at 10 p.m. The officers were probably trying to pawn the call off on the next shift, a common practice for officers that don’t want to handle an annoying or probably unproductive call, or they were simply lazy and didn’t want to be bothered.
At about 8:30. Jessica spoke with her husband by cell phone. She called the police, who again put her off. She called the police at 10:00, and they told her to call again at midnight. She did, and they still did nothing.
In a panic, Jessica drove to Gonzalez’s apartment, but finding no one home, called the police again at 1:10 a.m. They promised to send an officer, but no one came. At 1:50 a.m. she went to the police station and begged them to make an incident report. The officer that spoke with her didn’t do that, but he did go to dinner as soon as he was able to get rid of her.
At about 3:20 a.m., Gonzalez arrived at the police station carrying a handgun he bought earlier. He opened fire on the station. The police finally did their duty and killed him. He wanted to commit suicide by cop, and they obliged him. There the story might have ended, happily for Jessica–until the police stumbled on his pickup truck parked nearby. In it they found the bodies of his daughters. He killed them hours earlier. If the police had done their jobs, even if they went a little beyond the minimum requirements of their jobs, they might have saved those little girls, just as the officers in Florida might have saved older kids.
But they don’t have to, in Colorado or Florida.
This may sound absolutely insane, but it’s not. In fact, it’s absolutely necessary. Most Americans would be horrified to learn how few officers are on the streets at any time of the day or night. Trust me when I tell you, gentle readers, that most police officers would love to be known as the hero that saved lives in a school shooting. It’s the kind of thing that makes careers and legends. But there are very few police officers, a great many of us, and plenty of school shooters. And as we now know, some police officers are much more concerned with going home unscathed at the end of a shift than saving lives. The police are responsible only for suppressing crime by their presence, as rare and fleeting as it might be, and for investigating crime after it occurs, nothing more.
We’re on our own. We always were and always will be. Back in 2011, a South Carolina Sheriff had the right idea:
Spartanburg County Sheriff Chuck Wright, the county’s top law enforcement officer since 2005, suggested local women apply for a permit to carry a concealed weapon during a news conference Monday about the attack on Sunday at Milliken Park in Spartanburg.
‘It just struck me wrong that we keep telling everyone ‘trust us, trust us, trust us,’ but in reality, you need to protect yourself,’ Wright told FoxNews.com. ‘If you are not a convicted felon or someone who causes trouble or don’t have any mental issues, buy a weapon to protect yourself and get some good training.
A concealed handgun will affect a teacher’s ability to teach not at all. Just like most police officers, most of them will complete a career without ever having to shoot anyone. If an attack occurs, teaching time is over for the duration, and the only issue becomes what can be done, then and there, to save lives. When a politician tells you teachers shouldn’t be allowed to defend themselves or their students on school property, remember Jessica Gonzalez and her three daughters, forever 7, 9 and 10.
The teachers and children of Davis High School thought the police could–and would–protect them too.