David Hogg places responsibility for the failure of law enforcement at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School squarely on the shoulders of Gov. Rick Scott.
The outspoken student, who has pushed for stricter gun control in the wake of the Valentine’s Day shooting that left 17 dead in Parkland, Fla., told the hosts of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that Scott’s investigation into Sheriff Scott Israel’s handling of the shooting is part of an “effort to get re-elected.”
Responding to Joe Scarborough’s question about the four Broward County Sheriff’s deputies who chose to remain outside while the shooting was going on inside the school, Hogg said:
“I’m glad you bring that up and it definitely is raising concern, the fact that they didn’t go in, but that also brings up two things.
“One, how can we expect our teachers to step in and take action if trained security guards that are part of the Sheriff’s Department wouldn’t take action?
“And two–why are these elected officials trying to blame this on the bureaucracy? They’re in charge of them. This is their fault. they should have been regulating them. I’m not going to allow them to pressure these people, because, at the end of the day, it’s their fault. These elected officials are the boss of these sheriff personnel.”
Hogg’s distinction between “elected officials” and “bureaucracy” neglected to note that Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel is himself an elected official, a Democrat first voted into the position in 2012 and re-elected in 2016.
The teenager then accused Gov. Scott, whom he seemed to suggest has direct control over deputies in moments of crisis, of passing blame to “get re-elected”–even though Scott is in his last year of office and cannot run again due to term limits.
“And just like the president is the boss of the FBI, Gov. Rick Scott is essentially the boss of Scott Israel, the sheriff, and, as such, he should be held accountable. He can’t just blame this on the bureaucracy and expect to get re-elected.”
Scarborough then noted that while law enforcement stayed outside, faculty like football coach Aaron Feis put their own lives in danger to protect students.
“I want to point something out,” Hogg continued. “That football coach, Coach Feis, he was a security guard and he was protecting those students. He’s one of those people that stepped in, unlike those cowardly Broward County Sheriff’s officials, honestly.”
The student’s praise for Feis appeared to conflict with his earlier question: “how can we expect our teachers to step in and take action if trained security guards that are part of the Sheriff’s Department wouldn’t take action?”
Some have argued that Feis, who acted as a human shield to defend students from gunfire, might have been able to save himself and others had he been armed.
Hogg went on to say that most law enforcement officers fulfill their jobs properly, further contradicting his point that armed personnel cannot be trusted to act.
“I fully support law enforcement and we always should … sadly these are a few individuals who did not conduct their job correctly.”
Hogg, whose father is a retired FBI agent, concluded by again asserting that Gov. Scott has re-election in mind. “I don’t think it’s right that Gov. Rick Scott is trying to blame this on the bureaucracy in an effort to get re-elected. ”
The teenager’s remarks ignored the fact that in previous mass shootings, the rampages have ended due to the intervention of armed persons, be they police of private citizens.
In the November 2017 Sutherland Springs, Texas church shooting, the father of a member of the congregation mortally wounded perpetrator Devin Kelley with an AR-15-style rifle.
Even in Parkland, suspect Nikolas Cruz fled the school after an approximately three-minute shooting spree in order to avoid a confrontation with armed police.
In addition to the scandal involving the four deputies, Broward Sheriff’s Office has been criticized for failing to follow-up on Cruz after being called to his home 39 times since 2010 for various types of disturbances.
Gov. Scott has directed the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to investigate the response to the shooting, CNN reports. Sheriff Israel has dismissed calls for his resignation.