February 14 is considered one of the happier days in America as it’s a time for couples to celebrate love and romance. But this year, Valentine’s Day has been circled by some for a cynical propaganda opportunity. This year, the day will be used to remind Americans of a most tragic event, the first anniversary of the senseless school shooting in Parkland, Florida. Senseless, because there were many opportunities to prevent this attack. Three government entities: the Broward County Sheriff’s Department, the FBI, and the Parkland school administration all failed to protect the students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
After the shooting, the anti-gun movement raged against gun-owners, semi-automatic rifles, the NRA, and the right to keep and bear arms. But this routine added a new theme, it deployed a shameful new tactic in its war on the Second Amendment: using school children as propaganda tools.
In the days following the Parkland tragedy, select victims achieved “stardom” via our legacy media. Did professional activists work to identify and groom them to be the new face of the anti-gun movement?
Now, on the eve of the Parkland shooting’s anniversary, these same children’s demands for more gun-control are being used to distract from the scandalous facts revealed in the recently-released Parkland Commission Report. The report shows what really happened before and during the Parkland attack and who should rightfully bear responsibility for allowing it to happen.
The report provides damning evidence of the incompetence of the sheriff’s department, the FBI, and the school district to properly deal with the mentally disturbed and violent Nikolas Cruz. Where so many official reports work hard to cover-up embarrassing governmental failures, the Parkland Commission Report does just the opposite. It tells the truth.
According to the report, during the shooting, eight Broward County Sherriff’s Deputies hid outside, including Scot Peterson, the assigned School Resource Officer. Broward Sheriff personnel responded to calls at Cruz’s home 21 times yet never arrested him. The FBI received a warning about the suspect’s desire to commit violence, twice, and never acted on it. MSDHS Security Monitor, Andrew Medina, saw Cruz walk into school with a rifle bag but couldn’t be bothered to exit his golf cart.
Perhaps the most damning item in the report is the recommendation that schools implement the “most expansive use” of armed “guardians.” In other words, the report calls for trained volunteer teachers and staff to carry concealed firearms in the schools to protect themselves, the staff and the students. That’s right. The suggestion that schools should be protected with good guys with guns was vindicated by the Parkland Report.
With the exception of the South Florida press, the revelations and recommendations made by the Parkland Commission have been hardly mentioned by the anti-gun lobby or covered in the national media. Instead, the legacy media focuses on the anti-gun Parkland survivors and raw emotion to distract from the report’s sensible conclusions.
After the tragedy, some students from Florida have been effectively incorporated into a public relations campaign designed to promote radical gun control. Only those students who offered the “correct” opinions and demonstrated robust levels of media confidence and savvy were tapped for traditional media exposure.
Those student leaders whose views became aligned with those of the anti-gun lobby were given massive time and opportunities on the anti-gun mainstream networks to convey impassioned pleas of emotional, anti-gun messages.
These Parkland students became the new face of a revived anti-gun movement with the goal of shutting down intellectual, factual debate regarding gun rights. These young people were the perfect pawns for the anti-gun cause as anyone criticizing the students were immediately shouted down for “attacking the victims” (even if the students’ statements could be factually challenged).
The Parkland Commission took ten months to review tapes, gather testimony from every available witness, and in the end produced a 439-page report that detailed virtually everything that happened before, during, and after the shooting. It should not be ignored outright as the mass media is currently doing. While the Parkland shooting generated immense media attention, why wasn’t the report also the subject of widespread attention? The answer is simple. The detailed findings and conclusions reached by the report destroyed the gun control narrative of the Parkland story in the main stream media, and that is why is the report has largely been buried.
Insisting that the Parkland shooting is a “gun-control” problem remains a primary goal of the anti-gun lobby. Exposing the Parkland massacre as a layer cake of government failure and incompetence does the opposite — it puts the responsibility where it belongs: on the mentally deranged shooter and the government workers who repeatedly failed to stop him.
Mark W. Smith is an attorney and founding partner at Smith Valliere PLLC in New York City. He is also the bestselling author of #Duped: How the Anti-Gun Lobby Exploits the Parkland School Shooting, and How Gun Owners Can Fight Back.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.