Before the blood had dried at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, the left started its familiar blame game.
They moved fast to try gun culture, especially the AR-15 and the National Rifle Association, in the court of public opinion, for they understood well that true understanding of a tragedy takes time. And the more time that passed, the more the facts would throw cold water on their anti-gun hysteria and attempts to circumvent the law of the land.
Now, some three weeks later, it’s quite clear that the blame for the massacre in Parkland lay not primarily with the AR-15 or those that advocate for its existence, but rather with the left’s dangerous obsession with political correctness.
And few shoulder the blame as does Sheriff Scott Israel, who was seemingly more interested in consecrating his reputation as a progressive than fulfilling his law enforcement duty to taxpayers.
“I am the sheriff who will measure success of the agency by the young people we’re able to keep out of jail, not put in jail,” he proudly proclaims in a 2012 campaign video in which he also boasts of his credentials as a Democrat, prioritizes diversity, and labels himself a “proud member of Team Obama.”
Israel’s pacifist policing philosophy almost certainly resulted in repeated failures to arrest soon-to-be shooter Cruz, despite nearly 40 calls to authorities due to his increasingly violent behaviors, including an incident in which he struck his mother with a vacuum hose. Had assault charges been filed, Cruz would have failed the background check that allowed him to legally purchase the AR-15 used in the massacre.
But Israel’s blind eye was merely a symptom of a much larger disease, a PC plague that came to infect Broward County at every level imaginable, including the school system.
In fact, Cruz’s high school adopted an Obama-era policy aimed at ending the “school-to-prison” pipeline in an effort to bolster the futures of at-risk youth.
In 2013, the year before Cruz entered high school, the Broward County school system scrapped and rewrote its discipline policy to make it much more difficult for administrators to suspend or expel problem students, or for campus police to arrest them for misdemeanors — including some of the crimes Cruz allegedly committed in the years and months leading up to the deadly Feb. 14 shooting at his Fort Lauderdale-area school.”
Not surprisingly Sheriff Israel enthusiastically supported the policy. RCI continues:
A November 2013 video shows him readily signing the district’s 16-page ‘collaborative agreement on school discipline,’ which lists more than a dozen misdemeanors that can no longer be reported to police, along with five steps police must ‘exhaust’ before even considering placing a student under arrest.”
It’s almost as if the liberal powers-that-be in Broward County were intent on preventing society from sniffing out and stopping threats like Cruz. The laws were in place, but they were repeatedly skirted by local progressives intent on leveling the playing field. Instead, they turned it into a graveyard.
It was a philosophical flaw that would doom Cruz’s victims not only in the run-up to the massacre, but even as it unfolded as the first officers on the scene allegedly stood idly by while Cruz unloaded on his helpless former classmates, inaction that is well documented.
And now we may finally know the reason for their reticence.
According to a report by Laura Ingraham on Fox News, the responding officers didn’t engage Cruz because they were ordered not to do so unless their body cameras were turned on. Body cameras they allegedly didn’t even possess, at least at the time.
If you’ll recall, the crusade to require police to wear body cameras was led by progressive organizations such as Black Lives Matter following a series of possibly preventable civilian deaths, all caught on video, at the hands of police officers. It was an idea largely championed by the mainstream media, whose coverage of the incidents in question created an anti-police atmosphere not seen in America in decades. Or possibly ever.
Israel clearly caved. Yet despite his shortcomings, it’s hard to fault his paranoia here: contested shootings across the country have ruined officers’ lives and brought departments to their knees.
But while Israel may be forgiven on this count the lessons of Parkland, namely that half-baked, feel-good solutions too often result in tragedy, cannot be forgotten.
Of course, not even reality has muted the left’s increasingly belligerent demands for stricter gun laws, demands that are merely the result of their past failures to follow existing laws.
As David B. Kopel points out at Reason, Parkland wasn’t the first time the left’s preference for political correctness over the enforcement of existing safeguards has enabled mass shooters; in fact, the event that brought the “assault rifle” debate to the national stage, a 1989 Stockton, California schoolyard shooting, was the result of eerily similar failures.
There is simply no reason to believe that any new laws concocted by the anti-gun crowd will not be similarly circumvented. And because laws are rarely repealed, gun owners and manufacturers are just in their belief that calls for new laws are simply ill-disguised attempts to chip away at the Second Amendment.
Perhaps instead of passing meaningless legislation, we should honor the legislation in place.
Of course, that may mean tossing a few sheriffs out of office.