The armed school resource officer assigned to protect students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School took a defensive position outside the school and did not enter the building while the shooter was killing students and teachers inside with an AR-15 assault-style rifle, Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said Thursday.
But buried deeeep in the Washington Post article — 24 paragraphs in, in fact (I counted) — is this little nugget:
Peterson is mentioned as part of a 2016 social services agency investigation into Nikolas Cruz, the 19-year-old identified by police as the gunman. According to a Florida Department of Children and Families report detailing that investigation, Peterson was approached by investigators and “refused to share any information … regarding [an] incident that took place with” the teenager.
I’m trying to think of a legitimate reason that a sheriff’s deputy would refuse to share information about a potentially threatening teenager with social services. The only thing that comes to mind is some kind of misguided concern about the privacy of reports relating to juveniles. I’m not an expert on the confidentiality of juvenile records in Florida, but it beggars belief that there was no legitimate route for this deputy to share information in such an investigation. The whole thing reminds me of the FBI, which took tips about the kid and refused to lift a finger to even find out who the kid was. The attitude is: not my problem.
It’s still not 100% clear what authorities could have done about this kid if they had done their jobs — but it is clear they didn’t do their jobs. The FBI might not have been able to stop anything — but they didn’t even bother to learn the kid’s identity. The Sheriff’s Department refused to share information with investigators, took dozens of reports, and did nothing. And then this deputy failed to act at the critical moment when he could have saved children’s lives.
Part of me says we should not stand in judgment of this deputy. But then I think back to that story of the coach, Aaron Feis, who threw himself in front of students at the cost of his own life. Imagine if, instead, Feis had held kids in front of himself, using them as human shields.
That is, in essence, what Deputy Scot Peterson did. He allowed kids to die so that he might live.
But sure, blame the NRA.