The victims of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida did not have to die. According to a retired Secret Service agent, the school could have implemented security measures that would have prevented the shooter from carrying out the massacre. Indeed, he informed the school that their lax security system was making them vulnerable to this type of attack.
Unfortunately, the school did not listen. This story represents yet another failure on the part of the authorities who were tasked with keeping the students safe. The gun control lobby has all but ignored this reality, preferring to use the incident to push for more restrictions on firearms. Nevertheless, the truth about the Parkland high school shooting continues to surface.
Flawed Security Warning
Steve Wexler, a retired Secret Service agent who served for 27 years, told The Sun Sentinel that he was invited to inspect the school’s security program two months before the shooting. Wexler pointed out several steps the school should have taken to protect their students and teachers. “I said, ‘This stuff is blatantly obvious. You’ve got to fix this,’” Wexler told the school’s leadership. The retired agent stated that he never heard back from the school after giving his recommendations.
According to The Sun Sentinel, the state commission charged with reviewing the incident wanted to interview Wexler about his findings. Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, who is leading the commission, stated that they are “interested in talking to him.”
Wexler had a special interest in helping the school beef up their security measures. Both of his children graduated from the school. He was well-known in the district because he gave regular classes about law enforcement searches and seizures.
Wexler identified several flaws in Marjory Stoneman Douglas’ security measures. When he first arrived to conduct his inspection, he noticed that the gate was open, which was not abnormal given the time he entered the parking lot. However, after sitting in his truck for 20 minutes, he was not approached by security.
He then walked into the school through the unlocked back door. He was carrying twenty numbered Post-It notes. After entering the building, he handed the assistant principal, who was standing in the area the first sticky note. This indicated that she was the first victim that could have been shot. He proceeded to post the notes at various locations inside the school. “Nobody challenged me,” he said. “No one approached me — ‘Who are you?’” After running out of Post-its, he turned to Assistant Principal Winfred Porter and said “Mr. Porter, I ran out of numbers. You want me to keep going?”
The former agent made the following recommendations:
- School gates should have been locked, and students should be required to wear ID badges.
- The school should hold multiple active shooter drills throughout the year. Some of the students indicated that they had not participated in a drill.
- Every adult should be able to call a “Code Red,” which would lock the school down. At the time, only an assistant principal could make that call.
- The school should not immediately evacuate students when a fire alarm is pulled — this could make them a target for a gunman.
Regrettably, the school neglected to follow the majority of Wexler’s suggestions. “Where on the food chain did that information die?” he asked. The former agent stated that he is aware of only one suggestion that the school adopted — they started having the campus security staff patrol the front parking lot.
The Gun Control Lobby Is Wrong
As with any other mass shooting, the gun control crowd has repeatedly insisted that the gun used by the mass murderer at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School was to blame for the tragedy. However, as more facts surfaced, it has become apparent that the shooting was the direct result of the failure of law enforcement and the school district.
Not only did the school and police ignore repeated warnings about the gunman, but they also ignored warnings about the flaws in their security. Wexler’s suggestions could have saved the lives of the students who perished in the attack. Liberty Nation’s Graham Noble has also penned a series of articles detailing how schools could prevent mass shooters from taking lives.
There is no valid reason why this slaughter should have been allowed to happen. There were several points where it could have been prevented. Unfortunately, this truth is lost on those who wish to use incidents such as these to push their anti-gun agenda. The reality is that there aren’t many additional gun laws that could prevent these situations from occurring.
There have been numerous incidents in which an armed security officer was able to save lives that were threatened by mass shooters. Moreover, schools that have implemented more robust security measures have been shown to be safer than those that do not. Hopefully, state and local governments will listen to people like Steve Wexler, rather than giving in to the gun control lobby. Practical solutions are the most effective way to save lives, not a bevy of new gun control laws.
A self-confessed news and political junkie, Jeff’s writing has been featured in Small Business Trends, Business2Community, and The Huffington Post. Born in Southern California and having experienced the 1992 L.A. Riots up close and personal, Jeff's insights are informed by his experiences as a black man and a conservative.
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