Florida’s new governor, Ron DeSantis, has put Sheriff Scott Israel on an indefinite suspension effective immediately. The governor’s executive order cited incompetence and inaction as the grounds for suspension. Many have been waiting months for this disciplinary action. Sheriff Scott Israel was allowed to remain sheriff for far too long after his ineptitude became the nation’s sore thumb. At least now we can rest assured knowing that someone more qualified (a hamster would be better at the job) is now in charge of law enforcement in problematic Broward County. This corrective measure hopefully helps the healing process and, most importantly, gives police in Broward the knowledge and leadership to prevent another similar disaster down the road.
Critics argue that the suspension has come far too late. It is now known that on the day of the Parkland High School Massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas, Broward Sheriff Deputies were hesitant to respond and enter the school. Orders were given from Broward County Sheriff leadership over the radio for deputies to form a perimeter around the school and not engage the shooter. In the aftermath of the shooting, Sheriff Scott Israel deflected any personal blame for the disaster and instead elected to pass blame onto everyone and everything from the president to republicans. Israel refused responsibility despite over 20 preceding incidents between his department and the shooter. There is no excuse for the lack of intervention.
Nobody wants kids to die. They are the future of the country. But the fact remains – they are an easy, high impact target for anyone with nearly any agenda – from radical political ideologues to religious terrorists. Previous Supreme Court decisions have established in law that police have no obligation to protect anyone. There’s a saying – “when seconds count, police are only minutes away.” The uncomfortable fact that children are big target for those who seek to spread terrorism, suffer from mental health, or a slew of other motivations demands that they be protected.
Guns aren’t going away. Gun protection is guaranteed by the US constitution, no law can supersede that, and there is no way the majority of states and Congress would pass an amendment to eliminate the second. Its not going to happen. But let’s say it did. For the sake of argument, suggest that all gun owners were ordered to surrender their guns tomorrow. Absolutely no one would. And what would happen if the authorities tried to take them? Ever heard of “don’t tread on me”? Mass arrests and large scale violence would erupt in the event of a nationwide weapons confiscation. Nobody sane wants that outcome. It’s not the right approach to this complex problem.
And then there’s the question of mental health. YES, it is a crisis, and yes, it needs more attention. But solving all mental health issues miraculously wouldn’t eliminate school shootings. It’s part of the solution for sure, but more needs to be done to protect our kids.
Teachers become close to the kids they work with everyday. They are the best person to protect them and most would easily lay down their lives for their students. Some argue that guns in the classroom is a terrible idea that will only lead to more violence. All logic insists that the idea is sound, in contradiction to the detractor’s screeching. Good guys with guns stop bad guys with guns. Guns are a tool, and all tools can be effective when used properly.
Police are too far away to respond in time, and they are not obligated to protect anyone. Guns will always be part of America; they aren’t going away. Mental health help won’t eliminate school shootings. Arming teachers and training them how to use their weapons both deters would-be assailants (they would know there is opposition in the schools; they want to kill people who won’t fight back) and provides protection in worst case scenarios that could save countless lives. Pistols are effective in close quarters combat against semiautomatic rifles. Yes, they are.
While the debate wages over how to prevent future school shootings, at least this time, someone with culpability was held to the standards of their office. Governor Ron DeSantis did the right thing suspending Sheriff Scott Israel and by doing so, restored at least a little public confidence in the police. Scott Israel had no place overseeing a law enforcement department to begin with, let alone after the preventable disaster at Parkland.