Over the summer fifteen teen survivors of the massacre at Parkland’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida filed a federal lawsuit against local officials, their school and the Broward Sheriff’s Office for having failed to protect them during the Feb. 14 shooting.
In a stunning ruling, U.S. District Judge Beth Bloom has since formally dismissed the entire suit on the basis that none of the defendants had been constitutionally obliged to protect them.
“[T]he critical question the Court analyzes is whether defendants had a constitutional duty to protect plaintiffs from the actions of [shooter Nikolaz] Cruz,” she wrote in a Dec. 12 ruling, according to the Orlando Sentinel. “As previously stated, for such a duty to exist on the part of defendants, plaintiffs would have to be considered to be in custody.”
None of the fifteen survivors were in custody at the time that Cruz opened fire, killing 14 of their peers and three of their teachers. They had however been in class at the high school.
“Absent that type of restraint, there can be no concomitant duty to provide for the student’s safety and general well-being,” her shocking ruling concluded.
Bloom, who was appointed to her post by former President Barack Obama, basically said that when parents send their kids to school every morning, they should not expect them to be safe.
This despite how much money Americans pay in taxes to fund not only every public school in America, including Stoneman Douglas, but every police station as well, as noted by social media:
If the police have no duty to protect and “GuNz R bAD” what the fuck is the point of tax dollars?? https://t.co/uhKbGGNwu5
— The Gentleman Pirate (@StedeBonnet_) December 17, 2018
Just so you’re clear, folks, a judge just ruled that neither public schools nor law enforcement agencies – all mandated for us and funded by our tax dollars – have no… https://t.co/I0e4K93O4z
— Kathi J Wickizer (@khakiwick) December 18, 2018
Officers Had No Duty to Protect Students in Parkland Massacre, Judge Rules.
What a cluster-fucked this decision was…I want my tax money back! What’s point of paying them when they refused to protect us…
— ThatDude (@ThatDudeShannon) December 19, 2018
Soooo why pay any taxes then if they have no duty? Literally right there in their motto “Officers Had No Duty to Protect Students in Parkland Massacre, Judge Rules” https://t.co/c8AGIMKHfl
— Paul Rizzo (@PaulRizzo504) December 19, 2018
@realDonaldTrump Did you see this? OUR Tax Dollars Buys Cowardly Cops, Corrupt Judges And worthless School Officials.. Children’s Lives Don’t Matter!
Judge tosses Parkland shooting lawsuit. Cops and schools had no duty to protect students, she says. https://t.co/FABEHptOIh
— ❌❌❌Angry Americans United❌❌❌ (@mykotaus) December 19, 2018
So happy I became a policeman today! The best thing is that I don’t have to protect anyone, I can literally just cower in fear and collect a check. If you thought protecting the public through your tax dollars was MY job, you got it wrong pal! Fuck Florida. #parkland
— JM Yerian (@DeadPoe49) December 19, 2018
What made Bloom’s ruling seem particularly galling to many were the confirmed failures of the Broward Sheriff’s Office, whose officers literally stood outside during the shooting.
“Our sources near the Broward County Sheriff’s Department are telling us that the deputies who arrived at the scene of the shooting were told not to enter the school unless their body cameras were turned on,” she said at the time. “Then we found out that the deputies did not have body cameras, so they did not enter the building or engage the shooter.”
To make matters worse, the head honcho in charge — Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel, a Democrat — refused to accept any blame for the disaster, choosing instead to suggest to CNN’s Jake Tapper that he deserved kudos for his “amazing leadership.”
Reports published in the days after the shooting also revealed that that the FBI, the local school board and Israel’s department had all been aware of the shooter before he opened fire.
Yet none of them ever took any concrete actions to stop Cruz:
Signs of a potential school shooter:
1) Tells people online that he’s going to be a school shooter
2) Messages classmates with death threats
3) Parents report that he has “put a gun to others’ heads in past.”
4) Authorities visit 39 times, 2 FBI tips
YET FBI DID NOTHING.
— Dana Loesch (@DLoesch) February 22, 2018
Your institutions failed you at every level. Now, let them disarm you and protect you.
— Mary Katharine Ham (@mkhammer) February 23, 2018
If this report checks out, then — combined with all the missed warning signs — I truly can’t think of a more shameful law enforcement failure in modern American history. pic.twitter.com/M48S3tUxkN
— David French (@DavidAFrench) February 23, 2018
Were there any adults who didn’t fail?
The FBI failed.
Local police failed.
The security officer failed.
The people who set up the video feed failed.
Seventeen lives never should have been lost. https://t.co/1aYZUi6wU5
— Ari Fleischer (@AriFleischer) February 23, 2018
But Bloom feels otherwise and has chosen via her ruling to abdicate every institution that failed Parkland’s fifteen teen survivors of their obligations on the basis that they have no obligations.
What remains unclear is whether her ruling will hold. The Sentinel notes that last week another judge rejected an attempt by former deputy Scot Peterson — one of the deputies who stood outside — to dismiss a lawsuit filed against him by the family of Parkland victim Meadow Pollack.
“[Judge] Englander Henning found that Peterson had a duty to the school community as someone whose job was security and who had an ‘obligation to act reasonably’ under the circumstances of the shooting,” the Sentinel reported.
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