I am filled with rage.
I had already heard that the school resource officer in Parkland Florida, Scot Peterson, had not "encountered" the mass-murdering sociopath who attacked the school. (I will not name the individual, he's had plenty of press and I refuse to give him more.)
I had suspected Perterson perhaps had not tried very hard to find the shooter, but it's a large campus and perhaps he simply couldn't get there quick enough.
Thursday, I found out that Peterson was a craven. While children were being murdered, the man charged with their protection— far from riding to the sound of the guns — cowered behind a concrete barrier.
Amid the calls for greater gun control — and even the Washington Post has had to admit that none of the current proposals would have stopped any mass shootings — there's something which is getting lost here.
A complete failure of law enforcement on every level.
Starting with a decision within Broward County, Florida (where Parkland sits) to "treat twelve different misdemeanor offenses as school-related issues, not criminal ones," Jack Cashill reported in The American Thinker last week. "The results impressed the people who initiated the program. Arrests dropped from more than a thousand in 2011-2012 to less than four hundred just four years later."
The idea was that minority students were getting arrested at higher rates than white and asian students, so instead we simply won't arrest them.
The shooter was suspended from school for fighting and having ammunition in his backpack — which is why teachers were warned not to let him on campus with a backpack. The reason he was expelled has not been released.
You add to this the multiple tips to law enforcement, the more than 30 times police had been to his house and the tip to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which was studiously ignored and you have the recipe for what went down.
But as we hear that teachers don't need to be armed, that we need more school security officers, that this is a gun problem, we're left with on inescapable conclusion — schools and other "gun free zones" are free-fire zones. That we have rendered everyone in them defenseless.
We're told this is for safety. That students shouldn't have to be in fear of their lives. That the school resource officer is there to protect them.
Except in this case he did not. In this case he was a coward to shame the heavens with.
In the end, this makes the case, more strongly than ever, that you simply cannot trust the government with your own safety, or that of your children. Government failed at every level in this case. It wasn't the gun, or the availability of AR-15s. It wasn't bump stocks or whatever the latest bugaboo from gun-control advocates is.
This was a failure by government from the federal, to the state, to the local level to find and stop someone they knew was a danger.
Why, then, should any of us entrust our safety or that of our little ones to these people?
All IMHO, of course.
— Patrick Richardson is the managing editor of the Pittsburg Morning Sun. He can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow him on Twitter @PittEditor.
(Editor's Note: A previous version of this column incorrectly identified the Parkland shooter as a minority. The Morning Sun Regrets the error.)