Sheriff Scott Israel Passes the Buck

Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel told a reporter that his deputy failing to enter the school while the shooting was in progress was not his responsibility.

“I gave him a gun. I gave him a badge. I gave him the training,” Sheriff Israel told an NBC6 South Florida reporter in a video interview tweeted by Erika Glover. “If he didn’t have the heart to go in, that’s not my responsibility.”

Is Sheriff Israel correct? Technically, yes. We are all responsible for our own actions.

But here’s the question he hopes you will not ask, and that he’s clearly not asking himself: “Is it worthwhile for me to continue in this job, given what happened under my command?”

The question isn’t whether the deputy’s refusal to enter the school and defend the children is the Sheriff’s fault. The question is how he can bear to go on in his job, given what happened under his watch. The fact that he seems willing to do so makes you wonder what motivated him to have this job in the first place. Was it really to protect people and save lives?

That’s what I don’t understand. It seems that the # 1 reason to be in a job like his would be to protect law and order which means, at the core, to protect innocent lives.

How can he stand staying in this job, given what happened?

The issue isn’t whether he’s personally responsible for the deputy’s malfeasance or irresponsibility. He’s not responding to charges of criminal or civil liability for what happened, at least not to my knowledge. He’s responding to whether he should stay on his job.

It’s already a sad, embarrassing and rather sick situation. By refusing to go down with his ship, Sheriff Scott Israel has made it even sadder and sicker.

Let this be a cautionary tale for those who think government has unlimited and infallible power to protect us. It does not. While there are far more stories of incredible competence and heroism when it comes to law enforcement in a crisis than there are stories like this, at the end of the day, we’re all responsible for ourselves. You have to save yourself, and not wait passively around for someone to rescue you.

That’s the dark irony in the aftermath of this whole sorry affair that so many millions seem to be working very hard not to understand.


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