A Series of Failures Abetted the Parkland Shooting

[Content Note: Gun violence.]

We already knew that FBI protocols were not followed after a call expressing concerns about Nikolas Cruz to the FBI's Public Access Line tipline in January. It turns out that was one of only several major failures.

Charles Rabin, Carli Teproff, Nicholas Nehamas, and David Ovalle at the Miami Herald report:
Eight days after mass shooter Nikolas Cruz murdered 17 people inside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Broward's top cop on Thursday revealed a stunning series of failures by the sheriff's department.

A school campus cop heard the gunfire and rushed to the building but never went inside — instead waiting outside for another four agonizing minutes as Cruz continued the slaughter.

And long before Cruz embarked on the worst school shooting in Florida history, Broward Sheriff's Office deputies had multiple warnings that the 19-year-old was a violent threat and a potential school shooter, according to records released Thursday.

In November, a tipster called BSO to say Cruz "could be a school shooter in the making," but deputies did not write up a report on that warning. It came just weeks after a relative called urging BSO to seize his weapons.

Two years ago, according to a newly released timeline of interactions with Cruz's family, a deputy investigated a report that Cruz "planned to shoot up the school" — intelligence that was forwarded to the school's resource officer, with no apparent result.

The school's resource officer, Scot Peterson, 54, was suspended without pay, then immediately resigned and retired. Two other deputies have been placed on restricted duty while Internal Affairs investigates how they handled the two shooter warnings.

..."I'm completely disgusted," said Broward County Commissioner Michael Udine, a former mayor of Parkland whose daughter attends Stoneman Douglas. "There is nobody in authority talking to each other and every organization that had a chance to stop this completely failed our children from top to bottom."
Also in this report: Cruz's mother called for help from authorities in 2013, and someone from "Henderson Behavioral Health came and said the boy did not meet criteria for involuntary psychological evaluation under the state’s Baker Act." Then, in 2016, after the school initiated a "threat assessment" on Cruz, the Florida Department of Children and Families "investigated Cruz and determined he was not a threat to himself or others. At the time, he was undergoing therapy with Henderson Behavioral Health."

So, here's the thing:

* Cruz was undergoing mental health treatment. He did not qualify for escalated services, according to authorities. This was not a case in which "mental health screening" was absent, nor one in which mental healthcare access was lacking.

* Multiple people alerted authorities about Cruz's impending act of mass violence. This was not a case in which people failed to say something after they saw something.

* There was an armed police officer on campus, who failed to act. This was not a case in which an absence of guns and/or security contributed to the onset and/or duration of the violence.

Cruz had access to mental healthcare. Concerns about his behavior were flagged, repeatedly. There was a trained, armed officer present, who froze in the moment — like many, many people would.

The Parkland shooting is a perfect, terrible example of how all the proposed solutions are not actually effective in preventing mass shootings.

And, yes, there were failures. Perhaps if everything had gone the way it should have, this wouldn't have happened. Or maybe it would have happened eventually, no matter how many interventions were made — because the one thing that authorities are rarely empowered to do in a country where gun ownership is legal is take away guns.

The only thing that will ever be truly effective is reduced access to weapons designed with no purpose but to kill.

And that is the one thing the governing party refuses to even consider.

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