On the afternoon of Valentine’s Day, a 19-year-old man walked into Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida and murdered seventeen people and injured fourteen more. This was one of the deadliest school massacres, and it went down on the watch of an incompetent, cowardly, arrogant sheriff named Scott Israel. The number of mistakes his department made are mind-blowing.
The sheriff’s department had been told repeatedly that this shooter was a potential threat. Just three months ago, a tipster said this nineteen-year-old was potentially a “school shooter in the making.” The shooter himself even called the police to tell them he was suffering after his mother died. Even though the sheriff’s department (and the FBI) should’ve known this person was possibly planning a school shooting, they did nothing.
And that’s what the officer at the school did as well. Senior Brandon Huff saw an armed school resource officer behind a stairwell wall in a bullet proof vest. He was “just standing there, and he had his gun drawn. And he was just pointing it at the building. And you could — shots started going off inside,” Huff said. “You could hear them going off over and over. And he was just talking on the radio, and he never did anything for four minutes.” It was later reported that three other Broward deputies showed up and stood behind their patrol cars instead of going inside to help fight the shooter.
Not only did the police refuse to go in after the shooter left the building, they reportedly even prohibited first responders from entering the school. As children were bleeding out inside the building, no one came to their aid. “Everything I was trained on mass casualty events says they did the wrong thing,” one first responder told WSVN. “You don’t want wait for the scene to be cleared. You go in immediately, armed, retrieve the victims. You can’t leave the victims laying there.”
But that’s what they did. The shooter ambled out of the school along with the other students. Then he walked into a fast food restaurant and ordered a drink. He meandered around the neighborhood, walked past an elementary school, and finally surrendered to a Coral Springs police officer with whom he crossed paths.
People grapple with the multiple failures of the Broward County Sheriff’s Department in different ways. One student, David Hogg, emphasized the officer should’ve acted but added, “He — just like every other police officer out there at heart — is a good person,” said “Who wants to go down the barrel of an AR-15, even with a Glock? And I know that’s what these police officers are supposed to do, but they’re people too.”
Of course, this student’s statement on the non-action is absurd. The officer didn’t know the shooter had an AR-15. But more importantly, staring down a killer is precisely why these mend and women are in uniform and armed “to protect and serve” the public. We must always celebrate heroism and boldness in these situations, inaction should not be excused. The coach who put himself in front of students was not armed. The ROTC student who saved lives before giving his own was not armed. And neither of them had signed up to protect and defend innocent students. We, as a society, must have a base level expectation that those who are trained, paid and armed to protect, will run directly toward danger when the moment arises.
But there is something terribly wrong in the Broward Sheriff’s Department, and it starts at the top with Sheriff Scott Israel. He’s been known to hire friends and political supporters to make sure his interests are taken care of. When asked about his political maneuvering, he responded, “Lions don’t care about the opinions of sheep.” Well, there are seventeen fewer sheep in his flock than when he began his tenure. And his arrogance hasn’t abated one bit since one of the world’s most deadly school shootings happened on his watch. First, he blamed “guns.” Then, in a mind-blowing interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper, he said, “I have given amazing leadership to this agency.”
Tapper, aghast in his response, said “I don’t know how you can sit there and claim amazing leadership.” Tapper, like the rest of America, knows that Sheriff Israel has failed in his role as the leader of the Broward County Sheriff’s Department and that he should resign immediately. But Israel was not finished promoting himself. Tapper asked, “Do you think that if the Broward Sheriff’s Office had done things differently, this shooting might not have happened?”
“Listen, ifs and buts and candy and nuts, O.J. Simpson would still be in the record books,” Israel responded.
What unbelievable arrogance. Though I’m not even sure what that means, his flippant response defies any expectation one might have for officers or even decent human beings. While few of us really know whether we would have run into that school building, this issue cuts to the heart of what it means to be a protector. Sheriff Israel should resign or be fired.
Mark Meckler is an American political activist, attorney, and co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller