By the author of Be Ready for Anything and the online course Bloom Where You’re Planted
Gun control advocates are shouting from the rooftops about disarming the public and arming only police officers. and deputies like those under the guidance of Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel.
Why do we need guns, they posit, when trained professionals will protect us? The NRA is evil, they cry, let’s shut them down, Meanwhile, they’re ignoring apathy and inaction (at best) of the people who had the authority to have prevented this tragic event by enforcing laws which already exist.
Yesterday, I shared at length the in-house documentation of the lapses made by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the case of Nikolas Cruz. Today, I’d like to discuss the trail of errors by local law enforcement that culminated in the deaths of 17 people at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School on February 14th. After reading this article and the one that preceded it, let me know in the comments if you really think “law enforcement” will save you when things go bad.
Let me preface this by stating that I don’t think all cops are bad, lazy, or cowardly. Every police officer who I know personally would have rushed into that building and risked their lives to protect those kids. I blame the bureaucracy, the failed leadership of Sheriff Scott Israel, and the specific deputies who were derelict not just the day of the shooting, but for ten years preceding the shooting.
There were many disturbing signs well before law enforcement was involved.
Nikolas Cruz watched his father die of a cardiac arrest when he was only 5 years old. “…when Cruz was just 5, he came into his kitchen crying. When mom Lynda asked him, “What’s the matter, did Daddy punish you?,” he answered, “Nope. Daddy’s dead.”” (source)
As a young teen, his mother saw him cut up a dead bird on the kitchen counter to “see what was inside.” (source) His disturbing social media history included the following events:
- Another report said that he “appeared to be feuding with people on Instagram — where he posted pics of his “arsenal” and claimed shooting was “group therapy,” according to reports.” (source)
- On his Instagram, it was reported that, “In almost every picture, he can be seen wearing a black shirt or scarf over his face, to conceal his identity. “F–k youuuuuuuuuuuuu allllll,” Cruz wrote in one caption, from December 2015. In other posts, viewed by the Orlando Sentinel and Miami Herald, the high school student appears to talk about background checks and buying a rifle — which he planned to outfit with a scope “for hunting,” the papers report. (source)
- In 2016, Cruz cut himself on the social media app Snapchat and said he wanted to buy a gun. (source)
Cruz was first diagnosed with behavioral issues when he was only 3 years old and these wide-ranging issues continued.
He had been diagnosed with a string of disorders and conditions: depression, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, emotional behavioral disability and autism, records from the state Department of Children and Families show. His mom told sheriff’s deputies he also had obsessive-compulsive disorder and anger issues.
He had counselors in school and at home, according to DCF records, and he took medications…
…In January 2017… Cruz inexplicably stopped undergoing mental health treatment. (source)
His mother passed away last November when the flu turned into pnuemonia.
His former classmates weren’t at all surprised to learn he had been the shooter. A few of the stories they told to the media were:
- Other kids were scared of him. One classmate said he was an evil kid” and “always getting in trouble.” (source) Others said they were worried because he was “talking about his guns and sharing pictures of small animals he had shot.” (source)
- One student told the media of other warning signs, like, “stealing people’s mail, throwing rocks at cars and tormenting animals. He described one incident in which he said Cruz “cornered a squirrel and was trying to throw rocks at it and kill it.” (source)
- Another student said she…” noticed him holding his crotch during class. “I looked close and I saw he was holding a dead bird near his genitalia,” Hemans said. “I saw some feathers and I knew it was a bird. That was disturbing.” (source)
- Students were not surprised when they learned Cruz was the shooter. One told the media, “I can’t say I was shocked. He seemed like the kind of kid who would do something like this.” Others agreed, saying “Everyone predicted it.” (source)
- Cruz was cited as having joked about shooting up the school previously. “Cruz said he talked a lot about having fun with firearms, so much so that some joked that if anyone were to attack the school, it would probably be him.” Others stated that he “threatened to bring the guns to school multiple times” and that he “threw jokes around that he’d be the one to shoot up the school.” (source)
Cruz was transferred between 6 schools in three years and was always in trouble. “Teachers and other students said he kicked doors, cursed at teachers, fought with and threatened classmates and brought a backpack with bullets to school. He collected a string of discipline for profanity, disobedience, insubordination, and disruption.” (source)
Cruz was expelled from Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School for disciplinary issues. (source)
Law enforcement officers also ignored the warning signs and never took actions before the murders occurred.
For the sake of ease, I’ll just list these blunders off in bullet form.
- The local sheriff’s office – you know, the one with the deputies who stood outside and hid behind a car while children were being massacred, has a record of 45 calls about Cruz and his brother between the years of 2008-2017. Sheriff Israel disputes this number and says it was “only” 23 calls, but CNN reports that the documents prove that number is indeed 45 calls. (source)
- The first call to law enforcement about Nikolas Cruz occurred when the boy was only 9 years old. (source)
- The emergencies calls included a “mentally ill person,” “child/elderly abuse,” “domestic disturbance” and “missing person.” (source)
- Police documents said, “The incident reports, which are as recent as September 2016, describe Cruz as suffering from mental illness and being “emotionally handicapped,” and being on behavioral medication. One notes, “He has mentioned in the past that he would like to purchase a firearm.” (source)
The people around Cruz pleaded with law enforcement to recognize that the boy was a real threat with numerous reports.
- In 2014, someone accused him of shooting a chicken with a BB gun.
- Records show that in 2016, a neighbor warned the sheriff’s office of an Instagram post in which Cruz said he “planned to shoot up the school.” This week, Joelle Guarino told CNN she placed the 911 call and had begged the sheriff’s office to intervene. She was told there was nothing deputies could do until Cruz actually did something, she said.
- Later that year, an unidentified peer counselor alerted the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School’s school resource deputy that Cruz “possibly” drank gasoline “in an attempt to commit suicide,” was “cutting himself,” and “wished to purchase a gun.”
- On November 1, the day his mother died, Broward Sheriff’s Office received a call from Lynda Cruz’s cousin, who warned deputies that Cruz had rifles and pleaded for them to “recover these weapons.”
- On November 30, the sheriff’s office received a call from a tipster in Massachusetts who warned them Cruz was “collecting guns and knives,” and “could be a school shooter in the making.” Records show the deputy “referred caller to the Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office,” which had jurisdiction over Cruz’s temporary home with a family friend.
But it appears that their calls to the Sheriff’s office fell on deaf ears. Had any of these encounters been followed up with the appropriate actions, Cruz’s name would have been in a database and he wouldn’t have been able to legally purchase a firearm.
Then, 4 armed deputies stood outside and hid while children were massacred.
The next part of this tale is even more disturbing. On the day of the shooting, an armed, uniformed Sheriff’s deputy was on site and never even entered the building.
- First, there was the armed deputy who served as the school’s resource officer. He was on the scene and considered himself a hero because he called it in. However, the armed man with 33 years of experience with the sheriff’s office never even entered the building because he says he thought the gunfire was happening outside so he “took up a tactical position.”
- Ironically, Peterson was Broward County’s 2014 School Resource Officer of the Year, hailed then for his “reliability in handling issues with tact and judgment,” CBS2’s Dick Brennan reported. (source)
- Peterson has defended his actions in a statement delivered by his attorney. “the allegations that Mr. Peterson was a coward and that his performance, under the circumstances, failed to meet the standards of police officers are patently untrue. Mr. Peterson is confident that his actions on that day were appropriate under the circumstances and that the video (together with the eye-witness testimony of those on the scene) will exonerate him of any sub-par performance…” (source)
Sheriff Israel strongly denounced Peterson but denies any responsibility for the deputy’s inaction.
“As I said, I’m the Sheriff, my name’s on the door,” Israel said. “The people responsible are the ones who took the calls and didn’t follow up on them, as it was with the FBI, as it was with any person.”
“Leaders are responsible for the agency, but leaders are not responsible for a person,” Israel told the station. “I gave him a gun. I gave him a badge. I gave him the training. If he didn’t have the heart to go in, that’s not my responsibility.” (source)
However, it turns out that Peterson wasn’t the only person from the Sheriff’s department who did nothing. Sheriff Israel’s men were the first on the scene.
When Coral Springs police officers arrived, they were shocked to discover that the deputies had not yet entered the building. 130 officers from the Coral Springs PD responded and commendably, raced into the building immediately. (source)
Zero Hedge reported:
Some Coral Springs police were stunned and upset that the four original Broward County Sheriff’s deputies who were first on the scene did not appear to join them as they entered the school, Coral Springs sources tell CNN. It’s unclear whether the shooter was still in the building when they arrived.
The four Broward Sheriff’s deputies, including fired High School Resource Officer Scot Peterson, had their pistols drawn from behind the safety of their vehicles, and “not one of them had gone into the school,” according to shocked Coral Springs police.
The Coral Springs officers, meanwhile, entered the building soon after they arrived on scene to confront the shooter, while the four Broward County Sheriff’s deputies remained outside until two more officers arrived on scene along with an officer from neighboring Sunrise city.
What these Coral Springs officers observed — though not their feelings about it — will be released in a report, likely next week. Sources cautioned that tapes are currently being reviewed and official accounts could ultimately differ from recollections of officers on the scene.
Many have asked the question of whether these deputies were cowards or if they were ordered to stand down to push an agenda.
The Coral Springs PD was definitely not pleased with the deputies’ lack of participation…or their glory-hogging.
The resentment among Coral Springs officials toward Broward County officials about what they perceived to be a dereliction of duty may have reached a boiling point at a vigil the night of February 15, where, in front of dozens of others, Coral Springs City Manager Mike Goodrum confronted Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel. A source familiar with the conversation tells CNN that Goodrum was upset that the Broward deputies had remained outside the school while kids inside could have been bleeding out, among other reasons…
…Coral Springs Police Chief Tony Pustizzi addressed some of the concerns voiced by his officers in an internal email obtained by CNN that said, among other items, “I understand that another agency has given the impression that it had provided the majority of the rescue efforts, and that the tremendous work of the Coral Springs Police and Fire Departments has not been recognized. (source)
While taking all the credit, Sheriff Israel takes no responsibility for the botched work of his office and somehow blames the NRA for the entire debacle.
At a televised town hall last week, Israel took no responsibility for the failures of his department. Instead he presented himself as the protector of the public while suggesting the NRA is a direct threat.
“You won’t be on [our] side, until you start pushing for less guns,” he told NRA spokesperson Dana Loesch.
This is troubling because even as he stood on that stage, Sheriff Israel knew–though his audience didn’t—that one of his officers took cover in the parking lot and left the shooter to roam the school halls. The very strategy Israel was advocating—rely on the police for your personal safety, not armed citizens—had failed, and he knew it. When the facts came out later in the week, Sheriff Israel’s performance appeared shockingly dishonest.
Instead of apologizing, however, Sheriff Israel doubled down, bragging Sunday morning that he has provided “amazing leadership” to Broward County. “I have led this county proudly… it’s not the responsibility of the general or the president, if you have a deserter.”
High self-praise for a law enforcement official who just had 17 people killed on his watch. (source)
I couldn’t make up this mindboggling narcissistic lack of awareness if I tried. In a bizarre interview with CNN explaining why he refuses to resign, Israel managed to deflect any blame and praise himself.
“I can’t predict how an investigation is going, but I’ve exercised my due diligence, I’ve led this county proudly as I always have… we have restricted that deputy as we look into it…”
Tapper angrily asked about the department’s decision to ignore the red flags…
‘If ifs and butts were candy and nuts OJ Simpson would still be in the record books,’ Israel replied in his rambling TV appearance.
Tapper then asked Israel: ‘At this point sir, do you understand how the public, seeing red flag after red flag… warning after warning… they hear that your office didn’t even initiate a report?! How could there not even be a report on this?’
Israel replied: ‘Well, if that’s accurate Jake, there needed to be a report and that’s what we’re looking into.’
He pointed the blame to officer Peterson, who he said was wrong by failing to forward the reports to Homeland Security or the Violent Crimes Unit. (source)
It’s interesting, although not related to this story, to note that Sheriff Israel has previously been accused of corruption, allegations to which he responded with fun phrases like, “What have I done differently than Don Shula or Abraham Lincoln or Martin Luther King, Gandhi?” and “Lions don’t care about the opinions of sheep.” (source)
Would you trust Sheriff’s Israel’s deputies to protect you?
Meanwhile, people are loudly demonizing gun owners and the NRA on social and mainstream media, while suggesting we all hand over our weapons so these yahoos can “protect us.” Sheriff Israel himself has a history of being vocally anti-gun, “opposing open-carry legislation and one law that would allow concealed weapons on campuses.” (source)
So basically, he opposed anything that might have saved those kids.
The lack of logic in this premise is truly astounding, but one thing is blatantly clear. If you need to protect yourself, chances are that you’ll be completely on your own. And I’m improving my chances of survival by being armed because I certainly can’t depend on folks like Sheriff Israel and his team.