There have been so many spasms of gun violence erupting with such regularity, one occasionally loses sight of prior incidents that shock a nation.
The Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre in Parkland, Fla., is one event I admit has gotten past me.
Until this week!
A former sheriff’s deputy who was on duty when the madman opened fire at the high school now faces 11 felony charges of child neglect. What’s the basis for the accusation? Scot Peterson did not enter the high school building when shots began echoing through the halls. He waited outside. He didn’t confront the shooter.
Peterson was assigned to the high school as a “resource officer” by the Broward County Sheriff’s Office. He’s not the first law enforcement officer to be punished. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who was elected this past November, replaced Sheriff Scott Israel over his handling of the massacre.
Now there are criminal charges pending against the deputy who was on the scene.
The Parkland tragedy that left 17 victims dead has spurred a vigorous debate in Florida and across the nation over how to stem the gun violence that seems to erupt with far too much regularity. Many of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas students have become celebrities as they have become outspoken advocates for stricter gun regulations.
Now comes this attempt at holding someone accountable for the tragedy that broke the nation’s heart.
Peterson has said he acted properly to the tragedy that exploded 16 months ago. That now remains to be seen in court, presuming this case goes to trial.
I just am struck by all the tributes that pour forth when these events occur. They are directed at the first responders, some of whom have sacrificed their lives while ensuring the safety of other victims. We praise these men and women without reservation.
Scot Peterson, according to the video many of us have seen, hunkered down away from the danger. My gut tells me he has earned the scorn of a community he swore to protect — and of the nation that had its heart broken by yet another act of senseless violence.