Last week Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel made his way onto the stage of CNN’s “Stand Up” town hall in the wake of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida. He proudly claimed his department was doing everything to protect the community and accused NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch, and the entire organization, of failing to stand up for children.
“I understand that you are standing up for the NRA and I understand that’s what you’re supposed to do, but you just told this group of people [pointing to students] that you’re standing up for them. You’re not standing up for them until you say ‘I want less weapons,’” Israel said to Loesch.
In other words, unless you’re in favor of restricting Second Amendment rights, you don’t give a damn about children.
It turns out, Sheriff Israel was simply projecting.
Before appearing on CNN Wednesday evening, Israel knew the deputy on duty at the school that day sat by and listened as children were slaughtered. He was armed, wearing a bulletproof vest and stood outside the school instead of going inside for at least four minutes. The shooting lasted for six. Football coach Aaron Feis lost his life after using his body to shield students from bullets.
Instead of presenting that damning information to the live audience and those watching it at home, he placed the body count on the NRA and gun owning Americans. His deputy had quite literally failed to stand up for the children he was sworn and paid to protect.
“When did you find out that Deputy Peterson had not gone into the building?” CNN’s Jake Tapper asked Sunday morning on State of the Union. “You spent much of the Wednesday night town hall on CNN, with the entire Stoneman Douglas community, students, teachers and parents, attacking the NRA, saying that police need more powers, more money to prevent future tragedies, you didn’t disclose any of this to the crowd then, the Stoneman Douglas High School community, did you know it then? Did you know it Wednesday night?”
“It was spoken about earlier during that day. I’m not on a timeline for any TV or any news show,” Israel said, saying later in the interview his leadership was "amazing" and his department did a fine job.
But it wasn’t just one deputy who failed to act, it was four, indicating some kind of protocol or stand down order not to go in was being followed. That protocol would have been handed down and approved by Sheriff Israel.
“When Coral Springs police officers arrived at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on February 14 in the midst of the school shooting crisis, many officers were surprised to find not only that Broward County Sheriff's Deputy Scot Peterson, the armed school resource officer, had not entered the building, but that three other Broward County Sheriff's deputies were also outside the school and had not entered, Coral Springs sources tell CNN,” CNN reported over the weekend. “The deputies had their pistols drawn and were behind their vehicles, the sources said, and not one of them had gone into the school.”
After Parkland, government officials are taking advantage of a crisis to push their anti-gun agenda. Worse, they’re using the rights of citizens as a scapegoat for their massive and completely unacceptable failures.
Like mass shootings in the past, there was a long list of warning signs and multiple reports to authorities about the threat. The FBI was notified twice of the assailant’s behavior. They did nothing. The Broward County Sheriff’s deputies visited his home and received calls 45 times (Sheriff Israel says it was only 23 times, which is a lie). He was expelled from school for violent behavior. He sent fellow students death threats, which they reported to teachers. He said in a YouTube video he was “going to be a professional school shooter,” and indicated as much through a series of Instagram posts. His foster family reported to local authorities he had held a gun up to the head of his brother and mother. Nothing. Was. Done.
Parkland was preventable, not through gun control but government competency or action. Government failed, repeatedly, to stop the massacre from occurring. It wasn’t the NRA that carried out the massacre, it was a young man who practically screamed to multiple government authorities about what he was going to do.
The civil liberties and rights of American citizens -- specifically gun owners -- are not a scapegoat for government failure. Period. Those making them the target, like Israel, instead of taking responsibility for negligence, should be shamed and exposed.