It’s been almost one year since a gunman stormed into Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, killing 17 students and faculty and wounding 17 more. The effect of that terrible event on the national psyche was likely compounded by the fact that it was just the latest in a string of mass-casualty events executed by a lone gunman. It only makes sense that these intolerably frequent episodes of mass violence have yielded a routinized response from America’s political and media elites. But it’s clear in retrospect that this rote reaction is the enemy of logic, rationality, and effective policy-making. The nation’s experience with the execrable Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel is illustrative of that sorry condition.
On Tuesday night, Sheriff Israel told his commanders that he believed he would soon be removed from office by newly inaugurated Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. If that is true, and it appears likely, it would be a richly deserved fate for the two-term sheriff. Israel’s handling of the massacre in Parkland was marked by incompetence, craven exploitation, and an all-consuming desire for self-preservation.