Since the attack on Douglas High School in Parkland, FL, much has been written about Sheriff Scott Israel, little of it complimentary. I’ll include only a few paragraphs of a much longer report in that vein from The New Yorker.com:
[Former Broward County Sheriff Al] Lamberti said that it was essential that sheriffs’ offices study what has gone wrong in the past. After other mass shootings, he said, ‘we always tried to send people out there, get people on the phone. To learn from these things.’ Procedures changed after the Columbine shooting, he noted, because it was all over so quickly. Now, he said, ‘you go in and engage the shooter immediately, with ideally four officers. But you go in with one, if necessary. You don’t wait.’
‘This school shooting was a failure of protocol and procedures,’ he added. “The red flags were there. The signs that were out there about this guy. We didn’t connect the dots. It makes me feel like we probably could have done more. There were some failures involved, certainly, and they were paid for with kids’ lives.
What Lamberti fails to recognize is that no matter how competent any law enforcement agency is, by the time officers can arrive, find a shooter, and do something to stop him—if he hasn’t killed himself before officers arrive—kids and teachers are going to pay with their lives. It is in detection and prevention of threats that law enforcement may be helpful, but the BCSO failed there too, as Fox News reports:
Some school counselors and officials were so concerned about the mental stability of Nikolas Cruz, accused in last month’s Florida school massacre that they decided to have him forcibly committed more than a year before the shooting.
However, the recommendation was never acted upon.
Documents in the criminal case against Cruz show that school officials at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and a sheriff’s deputy recommended in September 2016 that Cruz be involuntarily committed for mental evaluation under Florida’s Baker Act for at least three days, according to the Associated Press.
The documents, which are part of Cruz’s criminal case in the shooting, show that he had written the word ‘kill’ in a notebook, told a classmate that he wanted to buy a gun and use it, and had cut his arm supposedly in anger because he had broken up with a girlfriend. He also told another student he had drunk gasoline and was throwing up. Calls had even been made to the FBI about the possibility of Cruz using a gun at school.
It appears, in other words, there was sufficient cause for an involuntary commitment under Florida law, and even former school resource officer Scot Peterson recommended it. Unfortunately, nothing was done. But if Peterson had the authority to initiate a commitment, why didn’t it happen? Real Clear Investigations/com suggests the reason:
At the same time the Broward County school system was dismantling the ‘school-to-prison pipeline’ under policies that failed to stop accused shooter Nikolas Cruz, it was building another pipeline, funneling back into regular classrooms thousands of other potentially dangerous students released from local jails, county and school district records reveal.
Through a little-known “re-engagement” program for serious juvenile offenders, the Florida district has ‘transitioned’ back to school almost 2,000 incarcerated students, a number comparable to student bodies at many high schools, according to district data obtained by RealClearInvestigations. Local probation officers warn that these offenders have a high risk of reoffending.
Another initiative, the Behavior Intervention Program, attempts to mainstream a smaller number of ‘students who exhibit severe, unmanageable behavior,’ according to a 2017-2018 program handbook, including those who are ‘convicted of a serious crime such as rape, murder, attempted murder, sexual battery or firearm related [offense].’
The number of returning felons and other serious offenders has climbed each year since Broward Schools Supt. Robert Runcie, a close ally of President Obama, started the program in 2013 as part of his crusade to ‘end the school-to-prison pipeline,’ which he says has disproportionately harmed young African-American men.
The next year, district officials worked with county prosecutors, probation officers and judges to release and return 325 incarcerated students to area schools. The number grew to 570 in the 2015 school year, before rising to 967 in 2016, the latest available figure provided to RCI by the district.
Is it any wonder a known danger like Nikolas Cruz wasn’t handled properly?
But Broward County took its approach even further with lesser-known efforts. It actively re-enrolled in mainstream schools the students who couldn’t avoid arrest even under the lenient new approach, because their offenses – including violent misdemeanors and felonies – were so serious.”
What the article, which is much longer and more in-depth, doesn’t mention is the very real possibility that Cruz wasn’t properly treated because he has a Hispanic last name. Broward County’s program, and all programs like it, are primarily designed to make the horrific crimes committed mainly by black, and to a lesser degree Hispanic, males go away, to eliminate so-called “statistical disparity” in those statistics. With the schools coddling among the most dangerous and violent juvenile felons, it’s no surprise someone like Cruz, who wasn’t known for actually committing such serious crimes, would be ignored. After all, he was only a potential future felon.
Obamite programs of social and restorative justice are always destructive. Some—one suspects most—students from Douglas High are not impressed by their media-praised peers, as the Daily Caller reports:
America knows Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students through mainly a handful of pro-gun control activist students, but according to a faculty member of the school where the deadly shooting took place, many other students say the most visible activists do not represent them.
‘I’ve had some students approach me privately to talk to me about it, but I should note that those student activists none of them were ever in any danger during this whole thing…none of them except for the one girl Samantha Fuentes,’ the faculty member said, on the condition of anonymity, during an interview with NRATV that aired Friday on Dana Loesch’s ‘Relentless’ program. [skip]
‘There have been a lot of my students that have spoken to me about it privately, and they’ve told me word for word as well as paraphrasing that these kids don’t speak for all students.
Considering the “survivors,” who for the most part survived nothing at all, are doing little more than repeating anti-liberty/gun talking points, it’s unsurprising they don’t speak for most. And in the maximum irony department, CNN, of all outlets, reports:
Students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School return to class Monday, their first day back since organizing one of the largest youth-led protests in US history.
But these teenagers won’t be returning to a normal high school experience. Instead, they’ll be met with strict security measures which are intended to protect them from another mass shooting but have some students feeling as if they’ll be learning in a prison.
‘Going to school is really so hard, and now it’s going to be so much worse,’ said Isabelle Robinson, a senior. ‘A lot of the people I’ve talked to are dreading going back.’ [skip]
‘There’s still that sense of melancholy, because what’s going to happen from this?’ Bishop said. ‘It’s not like there was a magical bill that was passed that fixed all the things after the march. That didn’t happen.
What?! But I thought banning “assault weapons,” and other futile gestures would fix everything. After all, more government and less individual liberty are the solution to all ills, aren’t they?
On top of that, Parkland students say they’re apprehensive about their school’s increased security measures.
‘We have no sense of normalcy anymore,’ said Robinson, 17.
One can’t blame Robinson for this. The entire anti-gun movement is fueled by emotion and outrage. She’s only 17. Hopefully there are adults at her school that will explain to her what she’s experiencing, for the first time, is normalcy—reality. The potential danger was always there. She’s just aware of it for the first time, and having that reality-obscuring bubble of ignorance popped is painful.
MSD students will only be allowed to carry clear backpacks on campus and will be required to wear new student IDs at all times.
There will be an increased police presence on campus, as Gov. Rick Scott provides extra Florida Highway Patrol officers to beef up security and provide support to Broward County sheriff’s deputies. Students will have limited points of entry to the school.
The school district also says it’s considering whether to install metal detectors at the school’s entrances. A letter from Principal Ty Thompson sent to families on Friday said that step has not been taken yet.
‘It feels like being punished,’ Robinson told CNN. ‘It feels like jail, being checked every time we go to school.
This may sound like positive security measures, but it won’t take long before they all, quietly, go away. Clear backpacks were a stupid idea from the start. One can easily wrap a weapon in a t-shirt or other garment, even a sock. The plastic used for such backpacks is not nearly as sturdy as pack cloth, and they’ll quickly tear and fall apart under the weight of textbooks. Replacing them will be too expensive. And clear backpacks presuppose staff members will be actively inspecting them. There just isn’t time. In addition, if the kids don’t like them, they won’t use them, and will come unprepared to classes.
Extra law enforcement officers will be pulled off, a few at a time, until there are none left. Police agencies are always understaffed, and the reality that school shootings remain thankfully rare will ensure they’ll be there only for a short time as a PR gesture. Student IDs? This is a school that won’t even punish kids for felonies. They’re going to actively and seriously police the wearing of ID cards? And even if they did, from where will the personnel to do that come?
Douglas High is a huge campus of a great many separate buildings. Trying to limit access to them all will dramatically cut down on class time as kids flow from building to building and get stuck in long lines, particularly if metal detectors are employed. And if they are, from where will come the personnel to man them? Keeping accurate attendance will become impossible. Schools aren’t designed for security, and a school like Douglas High less than most. But even young Miss Robinson seems to understand, at least subconsciously, what’s going on:
It’s like putting into place all these rules that wouldn’t have changed anything,’ Robinson said.
Now there’s irony. Her “survivor” peers with ultimate moral authority have been arguing for just those kinds of rules/laws for law-abiding Americans. But it’s another matter when it actually affects kids.
Some students, like senior Demitri Hoth, recognize the need for new security policies but think the clear backpacks cross a line.
‘I get it,’ he said, but, ‘it feels like we are losing individualism. I understand why they are doing it, but if a person wants to bring a gun on campus, they just aren’t going to put it in their backpack.’
Bishop said he would support metal detectors but called the clear backpacks ‘an invasion of privacy.’ He believes the increased security measures will make students ‘safer,’ but that doesn’t mean they’ll be ‘safe.’
‘I mean, no one feels safe,’ said Bishop. ‘Who feels safe in Parkland, Florida? No one.
Once again, the kids are starting to get the idea. There is a very real, potentially deadly, difference between feeling safe and actually being safe. We’re responsible for our own safety. Allowing others to make futile gestures, to virtue signal and call that safety become real when one is forced to contemplate their own mortality. People proposing that kind of safety care nothing for the lives of others, as is always demonstrated by their use of effective armed security when their lives are on the line.
The increased police presence has also given students of colorat Stoneman Douglas a sense of unease, according to Kai Koerber, a junior. He said the school is being turned into ‘a police state.’
‘Every day, students lose more and more freedoms at MSD,’ Koerber said. ‘Students of color have become targets and white students have become suspects. We do not welcome the militarization of MSD. It is terrible to see our school lose control over the protection of their students and their families.
Hopefully, there will be at least some kids and teachers at that school smart enough to understand the present lessons:
*We are solely responsible for our own safety and the safety of those we love.
*The police cannot protect us and have no legal responsibility to do so.
*Kid’s parents will protect them everywhere but at school, and the people responsible for their protection there refuse to take the only effective steps to protect them.
*Demanding more government only invites the kind of incompetence and corruption for which government is justly known.
*Those who refuse to recognize reality will think clear plastic backpacks an effective solution.