“Fear has its use, but cowardice has none.”
Mahatma Gandhi said that.
It’s always been one of my favorite quotes because it’s so incredibly accurate.
I’ve been in the wrong place at the wrong time on a few occasions, yet somehow managed to muddle through and do my job even though I was mainlining adrenaline.
The fear was definitely there, but it was strangely beneficial.
Real fear sharpens the senses and provides clarity of thought. Real fear is a tool. It’s difficult to comprehend its impact unless you’ve been through it.
I never conquered my fear. I somehow harnessed it because I needed to act. The whole process occurred in nanoseconds. Afterward, when everything was clear, I got the shakes as the adrenaline wore off.
Real fear is powerful, but if it’s not handled correctly it can be deadly.
I’ve seen a state trooper miss a gun-toting bad guy from five feet away — miss by a mile — with a shotgun. Thankfully, the bad guy was so scared by the buckshot passing harmlessly over his head that he threw down his weapon and surrendered.
I’ve also seen people freeze like a statue and then come to their senses after a bit.
And then there’s Broward County Deputy Scott Peterson, the school resource officer assigned to the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High campus.
Peterson waited outside the school as a madman inside murdered 17 people.
To be clear, Peterson never went in. He never marched toward the gunfire as cops have been taught to do since Columbine.
He just stood there waiting for God knows what.
Every gunshot Peterson heard was a human life being snuffed out.
Why didn’t he do anything?
He certainly had more than enough time to come to his senses and react.
In my humble opinion, he’s just a damn coward.
Peterson represents the worst sort of law enforcement officer — the type whom you can’t rely on when he’s needed most — when lives are on the line — because he’s only there to pick up a paycheck — a substantial paycheck. He made more than $100,000 last year in salary and overtime. He’ll make around $75,000 per year now that he was forced to retire.
Peterson has been an SRO since 1991, and was named Florida’s SRO of the year in 1994. He’s had stellar performance reviews.
Of course none of that matters now. Seventeen lives were lost because of his malfeasance.
He’s an embarrassment to anyone who’s ever had a badge in their billfold. He’s a stain on a noble profession — a cancer in uniform who should have been cut out years ago.
I really question where Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel goes from here.
I don’t know how he comes back from this — how he can ever regain his citizens’ trust.
This is the worst act I’ve ever seen committed by an LEO, and it occurred on Sheriff Israel’s watch.