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Thursday, 01 March 2018 13:08

Give Us the All The Facts Featured

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Gov. Rick Scott made the right decision to order a Florida Department of Law Enforcement inquiry into how authorities handled Nikolas Cruz, the suspect in the Valentine's Day shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

Several unsettling issues about that have arisen within the past few days, particularly the actions of the Broward County Sheriff's Office. Those developments have called into question the leadership of Sheriff Scott Israel -- who, like countless others reeling from the emotional toll of this latest slaughter, has scolded the National Rifle Association and, by extension, its supporters and millions of law-abiding members, and called for stricter gun control measures.

As Gov. Scott seems to sense, before we blindly follow the myopic path of the growing and increasingly voluble chorus demanding policies that would curtail Floridians' constitutional rights, we must have answers as to what, if anything, could have prevented the killings as they were happening or earlier.

Take just a sample of what has been revealed, by the media, the Sheriff's Office itself or a letter sent to Scott on Sunday from House Speaker Richard Corcoran -- and signed by 73 other Republican lawmakers -- that called for Israel's suspension.

We know Broward deputies received at least 23 calls about Cruz or his family, going back to at least Israel's first week on the job in 2013. At least two of those, in February 2016 and November 2017, indicated Cruz was planning to shoot up the school and referred to social media posts of him brandishing weapons. The FBI similarly received at least two tips, including one Jan. 5 from a woman who was a family friend and who said Cruz was "into ISIS" and predicted he was "going to explode."

We must know why nothing was done, as Corcoran's letter asserts, to prevent this shooting.

Why wasn’t this kid Baker Acted (being a danger to yourself or others is an easy foundation for being Baker Acted which means nonvoluntary institutionalization for observation and counseling) and thus would have been prohibited by law in Florida form purchasing a weapon?

WHY wasn’t he?

Then, we learned that the first deputy at the scene, Scot Peterson, the school resource officer, failed to enter the building for at least four minutes while Cruz blasted away. He subsequently resigned. On Monday, according to news reports, Peterson's lawyer maintained he followed protocols and failed to enter the school because he believed the shots were coming from outside of it. But officers from the nearby Coral Springs Police Department, which also responded to the shooting, have told the media that possibly three other armed deputies declined to enter the building. We must know how this accusation came about and who is telling the truth.

We also have discovered that the Sheriff's Office "active shooter" policy grants deputies discretion in those situations to enter a building and engage the culprit. That policy appeared to be revised by Sheriff Israel or his staff in March 2016, but it's unclear if that specific language was the subject of the change.

Perhaps we need a law on the books that making threats of shooting up a school as this shooter did numerous times, or threats of shooting up any public place should be a crime in of itself, but as previously stated, his actions and threats were already enough to Baker Act him.

Read 441 times Last modified on Thursday, 01 March 2018 16:17

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