Special Opinion to the Cape Charles Mirror by Paul Plante
One thing that can be said about young David Hogg of Parkland, Florida is that when others were cowering in fear during the recent Parkland, Florida school shooting, young Hogg, ever the entrepreneur, saw it as an opportunity to be exploited, and so, he jumped on it before anyone else could, with his now-famous interviews of other students which were conducted in the closet where he was hiding, and ever since then, he, like many other politicians, has been milking the “crisis” for all it is worth, even to the point of getting a book deal out of it, according to the USA TODAY article “Parkland shooting survivor David Hogg nabs book deal on making of #NeverAgain movement” by Christal Hayes on 19 April 2018, where we learned as follows:
Two siblings who survived the high school shooting in Parkland, Fla. are penning a book about the massacre and the gun-control movement that followed.
The book titled #NeverAgain by David Hogg, one of the most recognizable faces of the movement, and his younger sister, Lauren Hogg, who has also been active in the effort, will chronicle the Valentine’s Day Shooting and how the pair — along with other students — aimed to start a revolution to stop gun violence.
It’s scheduled to be released June 5.
He first gained attention while filming, reporting and interviewing other students while on lockdown during the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
Within hours, he and others started calling for a change to gun laws.
Hogg became one one of the leaders of the #NeverAgain movement and helped plan the March for Our Lives event in Washington, D.C. last month.
He also got in a fight with Fox News host Laura Ingraham earlier this month after she mocked him about not getting into several colleges.
Hogg called for a boycott and Ingraham lost more than a dozen advertisers within days.
The 128-page novel will serve as a guide to the student-led movement and detail the “voices of a new generation that are speaking truth to power, and are determined to succeed where their elders have failed,” according to Penguin Random House, which is publishing the book.
Truth to power?
How about bull**** to the people of America, instead, as we can see from a recent Miami Herald article entitled “Seconds mattered: How the response at Parkland went wrong in 11 minutes” by Nicholas Nehamas, Martin Vassolo, David Smiley, Chabeli Herrera and James LaPorta on 29 April 2018, to wit:
MIAMI – Ten people lay dead or dying on the first floor of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School’s freshman building when assistant football coach Aaron Feis rushed across campus and burst through the structure’s west door to confront Nikolas Cruz.
The burly Feis nearly grabbed Cruz, who was heading up a stairwell to the second floor when Cruz shot him.
Not far from the building, Broward Sheriff’s Office deputy Scot Peterson heard the gunfire crack out the open door.
It was Feb. 14, Valentine’s Day, two minutes after the shooting started.
Gripped by an unholy bloodlust, Cruz kept firing for another four minutes, until 2:27 p.m., going up two flights of stairs to kill six more people, sometimes pumping more bullets into the wounded lying helpless before him.
Much went wrong between the time Cruz started shooting at Stoneman Douglas and the moment 11 minutes later when law enforcement officers first entered the building through the same door Feis used: Broward County’s long-troubled emergency communication system broke down.
Some deputies appear not to have followed active shooter training – which they hadn’t received since 2016.
And agencies didn’t share crucial information that could have led to a faster response.
“It was a cluster you-know-what of errors and mistakes,” said Fred Guttenberg, the father of student Jaime Guttenberg, who died in the rampage.
Now, that paints quite a different picture about where responsibility for the Parkland shooting really does lie, which is quite a bit different from the picture David Hogg is painting, where responsibility for all the failures in Broward County, Florida, have instead been laid at the feet of the American people and the mean and nasty NRA, as if we thousands of miles away from Florida were somehow responsible for what takes place on tony, upscale Parkland, Florida.
Let’s look further into that Miami Herald analysis of this cluster-**** at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in a better section of Parkland, Florida that David Hogg blames on all adults in America who he says have failed him, when it is his own community that failed him, not America and not the NRA, and no, I don’t belong to the NRA and never have:
Even though at least three BSO deputies arrived in time to hear Cruz’s gunfire, neither they nor Peterson went into the building immediately to stop him – unlike the unarmed Feis.
Before reading further, just pause there for a moment to ponder that sentence, and wonder why.
Getting back to the Miami Herald:
The first BSO deputies on scene said they could not pinpoint the shooting to Building 12, although Cruz was firing bullets through exterior windows – leaving visible holes – and students were running from the building screaming.
Some deputies were said to have taken cover behind their cars as lives leaked onto Stoneman Douglas’ floors.
Coral Springs police officers saw the deputies – and two officers were so angry they put the damning information into their official reports.
One Coral Springs cop even said a BSO deputy taking cover behind a tree told him the shooter was on the third floor.
Now, had this information been more readily available when David Hogg was making all of his specious charges about who was responsible for that shooting, young Hogg would have been laughed off all the TV talk shows he was a guest star on, but he got out ahead of the curve with his false reporting, and now, as information slowly leaks out about what really happened, we who are for the truth here are forced to play catch-up, which takes us back to the Miami Herald article, as follows:.
Now, both Coral Springs and BSO are pointing fingers at each other as various state investigations try to piece together the mistakes and offer solutions.
Ah, yes, but will any of that make its way into David Hogg’s book, where he details the “voices of a new generation that are speaking truth to power, and are determined to succeed where their elders have failed?”
Of course not, is that answer – lies suit young David Hogg here much better than this now-revealed truth ever could.
Getting back to the Miami Herald expose:
How law enforcement responded is still under investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, as well as a special state commission set up by the Florida Legislature.
But it’s clear that BSO – a law enforcement behemoth led by Sheriff Scott Israel, who touted his own “amazing leadership” days after the shooting – wasn’t prepared to handle a mass shooting in one of its safest districts.
“Coral Springs reacted the way police are expected to,” said attorney Alex Arreaza, who is representing wounded student Anthony Borges in a planned lawsuit against BSO.
“If only BSO reacted like they did, maybe things would be different.”
But wait, wait, I thought it was the fault of the NRA and the American people, so why are they singling out the Broward county Sheriff’s Office?
My goodness, how unfair is that, people?
And back to the Miami Herald:
This account of how the response to the Parkland school shooting unfolded is based on hundreds of pages of law enforcement documents and hours of 911 calls and police and fire-rescue radio chatter, as well as interviews with more than a dozen students, teachers and first responders who were at the school.
In addition to the dead, 17 people were wounded, some of them seriously, and police and paramedics certainly saved lives.
But the Herald found that mistakes made by individual officers and systemic problems in Broward County law enforcement severely hampered efforts to save lives.
Among the most significant:
– Because of a patchwork 911 system in Coral Springs and Parkland, emergency calls made from cellphones inside the Parkland school were routed to a Coral Springs call center, not to BSO, which polices Parkland.
That meant BSO deputies trying to figure out where the shooting was happening weren’t hearing first-hand information from those being attacked.
– Coral Springs police weren’t immediately notified of the mass shooting at nearby Stoneman Douglas by Coral Springs’ joint police-fire dispatch center.
One of the first Coral Springs officers into Building 12 said he learned of the shooting from a Coral Springs Fire Department commander four minutes after the first 911 call came in.
– BSO’s radio system overloaded as deputies talked over each other, causing such communication problems they resorted to using hand signals.
The radio difficulties hindered the ability of BSO’s Parkland district captain to receive information and direct her deputies, limiting her effectiveness as an on-scene commander.
The system, contracted by Broward County, not BSO, is undergoing a $59.5 million upgrade expected to finish in 2019.
– BSO and Coral Springs police use different radio frequencies.
An on-the-fly attempt to fuse the channels so Coral Springs officers and BSO deputies could communicate failed.
That meant BSO and Coral Springs were responding to the same situation but acting as separate teams and not sharing information.
– Because of the heavy demands for various types of law enforcement training – including how to use body cameras and how to safely confront those suffering from mental illness – BSO says it has not held active shooter training since 2016.
I personally would like to see some TV commentator or personality like Bill Maher confront young Hogg with all of these findings, to see what his response would be, now that the fault is being found a lot closer to his home,as opposed to the people of America and the NRA.
Going back to the Miami Herald:
In the immediate aftermath of the shooting,
Israel blamed Peterson for what went wrong, holding a national news conference to say the school resource officer’s conduct left him “sick to my stomach.”
“He never went in,” Israel said.
Singling out Peterson, who resigned, may have been a political mistake for Israel, an elected official, according to Robert Jarvis, a law professor at Nova Southeastern University who co-authored a book chronicling the history of BSO.
“His strategy initially was to blame one officer,” Jarvis said.
“There’s never one officer who is responsible all by him or herself.”
Which reminds me of the old adage, “truer words were never spoken!”
And getting back to that fiasco at Marjory Stoneman Douglas the day of that shooting, we have:
Jeff Heinrich had a hose in his hand, not a gun.
An off-duty Coral Spring cop, he was watering Stoneman Douglas’ baseball field before the attack began.
His son is a pitcher and Heinrich liked to help out the team.
Then he heard the school’s fire-alarm – set off not by Cruz’s hands or his gun smoke, as previously reported, but by bullets kicking loose acoustic tiles lining the ceiling of Building 12 and releasing a cascade of dust, according to BSO.
Then he heard a series of loud pops.
Maybe it was firecrackers.
Then more pops – and he knew.
Outside Building 12, also referred to as 1200, Heinrich could see students now sprinting to get out – tripping over each other and screaming.
He ran toward the building.
The first BSO deputies to arrive did not.
Peterson was already on campus.
He took charge of the scene – while taking cover behind a concrete column near the southeast corner of Building 12, school surveillance video shows.
It was two minutes into the shooting.
“We’re talking about the 1200 building,” he told deputies arriving at Stoneman Douglas via radio.
One of them, Michael Kratz, thought he heard shots at the football field on the northwest corner of the sprawling campus.
“I took cover behind my marked unit and scanned for a gunman but was unable to locate one,” Kratz wrote in a report summarizing his actions.
Two others, Detective Brian Goolsby and Sgt. Brian Miller, also wrote that they heard shots – but didn’t immediately approach the building identified by Peterson in his transmissions.
From that point, Peterson’s commands focused on setting up a perimeter.
“Get the school locked down, gentleman,” Peterson said as the gunfire continued.
“Do not approach the 12 or 1300 building,” he added seconds after Cruz had abandoned his rifle in the stairwell, left Building 12 and blended in with a crowd of other students.
“Stay at least 500 feet away.”
“Stay away from 12 and 1300 building,” a dispatcher repeated.
Stay at least 500 feet away?
That is amazing, as we can see by going back to the Miami Herald article, to wit:
That is not how police have been trained to respond to active shooters since the 1999 massacre at Colorado’s Columbine High School.
“We train officers to focus on things that are most critical,” said Blair, the Texas State active shooter expert.
“And the first one is: If there is active killing going on, you need to stop that.”
That may be true in Texas, and elsewhere, but it obviously was not true in Parkland, Florida, at least on that particular day.
But according to the Miami Herald, no commander gave an order contravening Peterson.
Part of the reason, BSO says: Its radio system was overloaded by the number of deputies trying to use it.
The problem, known as “throttling,” also hindered BSO’s response to the 2017 Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport Shooting.
The Parkland district commander, Capt. Jan
Jordan, was seen on body camera footage repeatedly trying to use her radio, her deputies’ radios and a car radio, all to no avail, said BSO Col. Jim Dale in a recent interview.
“Unless we were standing right next to each other, we couldn’t communicate,” said a BSO deputy at the scene that day who asked not to be named.
Whose fault is that, people?
Are the people of America really responsible for that?
Or does that responsibility really lie a lot closer to David Hogg’s own home town in Florida?
Let’s look a bit further to see what else we can see here:
BSO has known for years that its emergency radio system was on its last legs and a liability during a mass casualty event.
The county government has been working to replace an analogue network of 14,000 radios, having long ago acknowledged that the system was nearing the end of its functionality.
“The system does take time to develop.”
“You want to do it right for our first responders,” said Alphonso Jefferson, the assistant Broward County administrator overseeing regional communications.
But Jefferson said the problems appear to have been related to user error: deputies were talking over each other and over-using single channels.
“The system did not fail,” Jefferson said.
“I stress that because the system was operational.”
“Communication was happening.”
When Jordan was able to use her radio, she seemed to reiterate Peterson’s commands.
“I know there’s a lot going on, do we have a perimeter set up right now and everyone cleared out of the school,” she asked one minute before law enforcement entered Building 12.
And when Chad Ryen, a Margate police officer, arrived at Stoneman Douglas he said he saw “officers with their weapons drawn, positioned behind vehicles and pillars,” according to his report.
A BSO deputy told him not to go in: “Standby, SWAT is on the way.”
Ryen, a SWAT officer himself, disagreed with the strategy.
The shooter had stopped firing but was still on the loose.
“Based on my training and experience, I made the determination to make entry into the school,” Ryen wrote, although acting on faulty information he searched the wrong building.
In the catastrophic chaos, BSO deputies didn’t have recent training to fall back on.
The last time they went through an active shooter training cycle was 2016, according to Dale.
Some, like Capt. Jordan, hadn’t been through one since 2015.
(Coral Springs officers do active shooter drills ever year, according to Chief Clyde Parry.)
“Agencies have a large number of mandatory issues they have to train for as part of their certification,” Dale said, pointing to needed training for Tasers, crowd control, body cameras and other law enforcement responsibilities.
“You can only take a deputy off the road for so many days before they spend most of their time in training.”
But really, people, isn’t it a lot better politically, if you happen to live down there in Parkland, Florida, an upscale community where bad things like this aren’t supposed to happen, to shift the blame for all of this away from Broward County, Florida and over onto the people of America and the much hated and maligned NRA?
And that answer is, of course it is, at least if you want to get a book deal out of like David Hogg did.
And isn’t that what this really all about on the part of young David Hogg – selling hype, and not facts?
He does have an agenda, afterall, and in that narrative of his, there simply is not room for the truth to enter.
Such is America today, and David Hogg, as said before, is milking this for all it is worth, to him and his movement.
Stay tuned, more to come, so don’t change that dial.