Maybe it’s good to hold police liable for not protecting. But it alarms me. I wonder if he’s not a scapegoat. It seems plausible that there may have been a “fog of war” effect that confused him.
I haven’t heard much venom for Nikolas Cruz, the one who actually killed the innocent.
I don’t know for sure one way or the other about that, but I understand that the charges against him include perjury.
Maybe because he wasn’t in a position of public trust; people didn’t particularly expect better of some random creep than of a law enforcer.
It’s hard for me to wrap my head around the idea that an officer can shoot to kill an unarmed high school aged child becuase he thought his life was in danger and suffer no consequences, but here this resource officer was expected to charge into a school to confront at least 1, perhaps multiple gunmen (I cant imagine he had perfect situational awareness) and he is being held criminally unaccountable for not putting his life on the line?
Now I have two girls in high school and I freely admit that hope that any person capable of saving my kids would act in that situation, but if I’m being fair, I dont think the systemic failures that happened at Parkland should land on the shoulders of one man. As usual I think there is plenty of blame to go around and this is a classic case of scapegoating even if this man deserves some of our anger.
Does he deserve the label coward? Maybe, should he be thrown in jail? Not if rule of law still means anything.
Remember back in 2005 the Supreme Court (Castle Rock v Gonzolas) ruled that the police do not have a Constitutional duty to protect citizens.
Now, regardless of how I feel about that ruling, it seems to me this case should be thrown out on those grounds…
You’re partially excusing Nikolas Cruz, the murderer. That’s a problem.
We need to take away the motive to shoot up a school. We need to take away the thought of glory. To do that, we need to make it clear that every kid that shot up a school is filthy hateful wretched scum whether he’s burning in hell now or hasn’t gotten there yet.
Maybe we could rename the road to the garbage dump to something like “Nikolas Cruz is Filthy Scum Street”.
Instead, the media and leftist politicians capitalize on shootings to advance their anti-freedom agenda. They don’t dwell too long on the filthy murderer.
Police really do have some duty to protect citizens. Why am I paying for them? I quite agree with your post in general, but this notion they do not have a duty to protect citizens is ridiculous
The failure of this deputy is not criminal, and it’s also ridiculous to think it is. I think he probably did wrong. I think he’s a coward and should not have been in his position. Every wrong thing we humans do is not criminal. That said, I know police officers who have acted with courage (and appropriate restraint) and saved lives, putting their lives on the line in place of citizens, including armed suspects – without any question that their duty was to protect citizens. I am proud to know them.
KJ, you are certainly correct, and I don’t think anyone disagrees with you. The shooter was scum, and responsibility falls to him. It doesn’t negate the fact this deputy is probably a coward who did not do his duty.
I couldn’t agree more…
Again, 100% agree
I agree, but with a caveat. That level of stress is something you can only handle via experience.
Ideally, training is one way to acquire that experience. When I say training I don’t mean telling people what to do, rather putting them in real life stressful situations so they become practiced thinking under duress.
It’s too easy to watch TV and think that bullets don’t fly through drywall and that when you point guns at people they throw their hands up. Now I’ve never trained in an environment where my life was on the line, but there are other ways to put people under stress (like sleep deprivation, noise, confusion, the threat of pain, etc) that closely simulate the kind of stress one endures when faced with the kinds of situations Mr. Peterson was faced with. Of course, I’m not sure, maybe he had trained in those environments, but I am extremely doubtful.
Seems to me that lack of planning and proper training should find some levels of accountability higher than Mr Peterson.
No, it actually isn’t. There is no substitute for the real thing for learning to handle the stress of the situation. Training can only help your body follow established procedures when your brain is overloading with the stress, but that is not the stress being handled. The stress is keeping your brain much too busy going “OH$#!*OH$#!*OH$#!*OH$#!*OH$#!OH$#!” for it to handle anything. At least in my limited experience.
Not trying to be contrarian (I know, I know “who are you and hat have you done with qix”, right?), and I get what you mean, but it’s important to differentiate correctly handling a stressful situation from handling the stress of the situation. It’s a little hard to iterate, but they aren’t the same thing. At all. If your training is worth a crap, the stress gets handled later, after the situation is resolved, because you don’t have time to handle the stress while the stressful situation is demanding proper action/reaction sequences.
Some people handle stressful training programs with ease, and fall to pieces when it’s real, because however tough training is, the consequences of failure are extremely limited. In the real world, there’s no real upper limit on how bad your screw up can blow up.
My law-school daughter and I discussed the Castle Rock case just the other day. She was MISTAKENLY under the impression that it had been overturned. It SHOULD be, and this case may just be the vehicle by which that’s accomplished. If you’re PAID to put your life on the line to protect others, failure to do so out of cowardice, poor training, etc. SHOULD make you liable both criminally and civilly, though the civil liability should fall on the shoulders of the LE agency who hires such a person.
I agree with you…Maybe no in every circumstance, but generally speaking yes, I agree…
But that said, do you think it’s ok for an officer to kill an unarmed person because they “felt” threatened? There are countless cases where unarmed people are killed and the officers are rarely punished as if the mear threat of harm is justification for killing someone.
I think officers should be willing to accept a certain level of danger in order to prevent killing people. There are countless examples of asymmetric uses of force with the justification that the officer “felt his life was in danger” the reported assailant was brandishing a phone or a screwdriver.
Now to be clear, some of these cases are perfectly justified, but it seems to me we’re being very selective about the level of danger we expect police to endure as part of their jobs.
Before I disagree, I want to be sure we’re actually disagreeing.
I’m saying, I think it is possible to create high-stress environments that simulate the kinds of stress that one might feel in those sorts of situations. I’m not saying they are identical, but you can create reasonably stressful training scenarios that can help in those situations.
So for example. I occasionally give presentations to CEO’s of fortune 500 companies. One time, this CEO I was giving a presentation too was really, really giving me a hard time (my guess is that he didn’t want to be there). Basically, he was screwing with me and I knew it. I got really nervous and it showed, which was kind of like blood in the water and he was a shark…
Now, when I have presentations in front of men who are highly accomplished and extremely imposing, I practice my presentation at home with heavy metal music turned up extremely loud. I don’t stop until I feel like I can give the presentation flawlessly. Then turn the music off and it’s a snap. I can take a little heckling. Next to that music, it’s nothing.
Point is, it’s possible to create stress though pain (acute or otherwise), discomfort (physical or mental) that will make you more prepared for the real thing.
Is it the same? No, of course not, but it help. Of course, it depends on the person, but a good instructor can sometimes identify people like Scot Peterson long before they are put in situations like Parkland.
That’s the point…It’s being able to maintain a clear mind when most people would be in panic.
My instructor (I took Taekwondo for 8 years) used to say that fear is the result of the minds inability to understand. Training is about learning to maintaining understanding in the face of fear.
I agree, but as I said, any good instructor should recognize tell-tale signs of people who can’t handle stress. A lack of training means that there is no instructor to identify people like SP.
You would hope so, and it probably it works that way most if the time…until it doesn’t. Nothing is perfect, some bad apples always slip past the best q.a. inspectors. The problems in Broward appear to me to have been systemic. I wasn’t there, my information is 3rd hand or worse blah blah, you know the drill, but it looks to me like it should be sherrif Israel on the spit slow roasting…
I’m not really disagreeing with your point (as I understand your point, anyway), just saying it doesn’t happen the way you appear to think it does based on my experience. I thought it would work the way you (seem to me to) think it does, too, until it wasn’t a drill, there really we’re inbound missiles and I was riding on top of a crap-load of fuel (jp5 and diesel) and a %@*#- ton of stuff that goes “boom”…
Literally the only thing clear in my mind was
BUT the ingrained procedures of the daily drills (that we mostly all hated) happened without any need for me to have to waste any time, even fractions of a second, dealing with this suddenly very high level of stress.
When the preparatory procedures were done, we’re all at the repair locker, geared up with whatever our assignments called for and we were just…waiting? That’s when the cracks started to show in some people I would never have expected. We had some excellent non-coms to keep it together, SAMs and CIWS (pronounced See-whiz) are the absolute shahizzle (i know its 20 years out of date now, still the shahizzle to me!), and the captain and crews of the Bagley and Reasoner conducted themselves in the finest traditions of the US Navy, interposing their vessels both to act as a physical shield and achieve close to zero deflection firing solutions, so it was all over in short order and instead of being reduced by a spectacular explosion to my constituent atoms in the event of a catastrophic hit or (more likely) mangled and charred to ‘purina fish chow’ in the gulf of sidra, I spent five and a half minutes pouring fear sweat and… that’s it. shrug A minor incident with no casualties that went unreported in the press. But nothing in the training that kept our bodies moving in the right ways at the right times mitigated the stress, as best I can tell, at all.
Scared $#!*less is a real thang, y’all, I’m here to tell ya. It’s the only reason I didn’t soil my drawers!
Anyway, probably better than 80% of people will react about the way I did, not actually coping with stress but functioning in a place kinda…beneath the stess. Not at all clear headed, in any conscious way. Afterwards you can’t really give a clear and coherent account of most of what happened. It’s a disjointed, blurry mess.
Some percentage of the population are going to be what might be described as “intentive warriors”, naturally born with the “today is a good day to die” gene that makes them pretty much immune to fear… But that ain’t most of us.
Sorry, thats all a distraction from the point of the o.p. : TLDR version: training helps but not the way you’d think it would.
Police and other LEOs are trained to run TOWARD dangerous situations while the average person’s instinct is to flee FROM such situations. I’ve been in combat and can assure anyone that fear DOES exist in such situations, but is sublimated until AFTER the danger has passed.
Whatever you think of the other charges, remember that there is also a perjury charge, too.
Oh no, I’m not. I’m just saying that there’s no real controversy where he’s concerned. People are in accord that he did contemptably, but they are in angry disbelief about the officer not taking action. I’m guessing that’s why you’re hearing more about the officer.
Does your assessment match mine, that training doesn’t really do diddly for the stress itself, just gives you pre-selected “if-then” subroutines (so to speak) so being clear-headed isn’t necessary? For me it was just the one time, so I can’t even really say that repeated exposure helps, though I imagine it would.
I thought it was obvious the thrust of the post was regarding being thrown in jail for not engaging. If he is guilty of perjury, that’s a different can of worms…
Wait, what? Is that ALLOWED?
I don’t think it is…
Good points. That’s why he should lose his job and not face criminal charges.