Headline: Parkland school shooting panel backs arming teachers, rips responding deputies
by Chad Baus
5:33PM Tuesday, January 15 2019
The 24-hour tv news mob didn’t scream it wall to wall for weeks like they did the attack itself, but credit to USA Today for reporting recently that a Florida investigative panel charged with studying the rampage that left 17 people dead at a Parkland high school last year has recommended arming teachers.
From the article:
The Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission ;criticized the response of school staff and the Broward County Sheriff’s Office to the carnage Feb. 14. The commission’s 15 members issued a unanimously approved, 439-page preliminary report Wednesday aimed at preventing similar attacks and improving the response should they occur. The report and its recommendations were sent to the governor’s office and Legislature for consideration. “All stakeholders … should embrace the opportunity to change and make Florida schools the safest in the nation,” the report says. “There must be a sense of urgency – and there is not, across-the-board – in enhancing school safety.”
According to the article, Florida law allows districts to train and arm administrators and other staff. Teachers must have a military or police background to carry a firearm. USA Today reports the committee argued that teachers are often the first line of defense in school shootings and encouraged legislation to arm more of them.
The report recommends that the Legislature approve a measure that would allow teachers “properly selected, thoroughly screened and extensively trained to carry concealed firearms on campuses for self-protection, and the protection of other staff and students in response to an active assailant incident.”
In reality, the Safety Commissions report should come as no surprise. Anyone who gives half an effort at studying these killings will come to the same conclusion – the best chance we have at reducing the loss of life is a FASTER response – and the only way to make a big impact on reducing the response time is to make sure the people in the building have a real way to protect students.
According to the article, the Safety Commission ctiticized the Broward County school system and sheriff’s office as unprepared for the attack by a student who had been expelled from the school. Sheriff’s Deputy Scot Peterson, the school resource officer, was among deputies criticized for failing to immediately confront the attacker.
Sheriff Scott Israel was blamed for not requiring his force to confront active shooters. Israel told the commission he had eliminated the policy requiring deputies to confront active shooters because he didn’t want deputies charging into “suicide missions.”
Sheriff Israel was finally fired on January 11, less than two weeks after both the Safety Commission’s report, which followed a devastating Sun-Sentinel report on the sequence of events that day entitled “UNPREPARED AND OVERWHELMED.” (Warning: Don’t view “Unprepared and Overwhelmed” with any large objects within reach – you might feel the urge to throw something.)
There are no better reasons than these reports to fight knee-jerk reactions to quickly pass legislation immediately after an event before the facts are known. Law abiding gun owners were blamed for this attack – and are even now being punished – when the reports make clear where the fault really lies.
Chad D. Baus is the Buckeye Firearms Association Secretary and an NRA-certified firearms instructor. He is co-founder of BFA-PAC, and served as its Vice Chairman for 15 years. He is the editor of BuckeyeFirearms.org, which received the Outdoor Writers of Ohio 2013 Supporting Member Award for Best Website.