The Slatest

Today in Conservative Media: Stop Blaming the NRA and Start Blaming Local Police for the Parkland Shooting

Florida Governor Rick Scott (R), Broward County Superintendent of Schools, Robert W. Runcie (C) and Broward County Sheriff, Scott Israel (L) on February 15, 2018 in Parkland, Florida.
Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel, Broward County Superintendent of Schools Robert W. Runcie, and Florida Gov. Rick Scott on Feb. 15 in Parkland, Florida. Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Today in Conservative Media is a daily roundup of the biggest stories in the right-wing press.

America is still talking guns and what to do—or not do—about them. President Trump weighed in (again) Monday, this time to ponder what he personally would have done if he were on the scene when the Parkland school shooting erupted. Conservative media also considered those who were paid to be there, with guns, and how they actually responded. The editors at National Review branded local law enforcement “Broward’s Cowards” in reference to Florida’s Broward County, where the school is located. “It is impossible to imagine circumstances under which Broward County sheriff Scott Israel could attempt to perform his duties with the confidence of the public, the editors write. “He should resign immediately, and if, as he promises, he refuses to go quietly, then he should be shown the door by the people he professes to serve.”

Why the focus on local cops? “The numbers tell the story,” the editorial explains, “23 sheriff’s calls involving the Parkland shooter; 18 sheriff’s calls involving the shooter’s behavior directly (some of the others were principally about his brother); four sheriff’s deputies, armed and trained, cowering outside the high school while the killer within carried out his massacre; 17 dead.”

The left, however, is ignoring this localized failure of law enforcement, Ben Shapiro writes for National Review. “We now know what happened in Parkland, Fla.: the failure of law enforcement on every level,” Shapiro explains. “Yet ardent gun-control advocates continue to claim that the National Rifle Association and law-abiding gun owners across the country are to blame.” How has the NRA responded to the onslaught? Better than anyone else, Jim Jamitis writes for RedState in a piece titled: “Of All The Voices In The Aftermath Of Parkland, The NRA Is The Least Worthy Of Condemnation.”

Why, then, is the NRA bearing the brunt of public criticism in the media? For starters, the students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School are compelling figures calling for reform, and Kyle Smith writes at National Review, the media is “opinion laundering,” or using these now-popular young figures “as a mouthpiece for their gun-control message.” “You may find something dismaying about grieving students being exploited for the purpose of advancing a media crusade,” Smith writes. “Or you might call the Parkland students inheritors of a grand tradition of Americans who use their personal experience to push for social change.” Either way, he concludes, “Progressives don’t have a plan for stopping mass shootings. So they’re falling back on venting at gun owners, and they’re using the children of Parkland to do it.”

When it comes to the idea of arming educators to combat school shooters, Townhall’s Matt Vespa writes that teachers in Butler County, Ohio, have answered the call. “At least 500 teachers signed up for a free course in order to obtain their concealed carry, but the cut off point was 300,” Vespa writes. Ohio isn’t the only state where teachers are looking to arm themselves; in fact, Katie Pavlich at Townhall writes, there are hundreds of school districts in America that already allow teachers and administrators to come to school packing heat. There are, for instance, 110 school districts in Texas that allow teachers carry a weapon at school, Pavlich writes, and “18 states allow adults with carry permits to be armed on campus so long as they get proper approval from school officials.”

While the semi-automatic AR-15 used by Nikolas Cruz likely won’t be allowed in America’s schools anytime soon, Scott Morefield writes at Townhall that the gun is unfairly maligned in a post titled: “The AR-15, a Tool For Good. Nine Powerful Real Life Examples to Counter the Left’s Empty Rhetoric.” “When it comes to public relations, the much-maligned AR-15 has had a rough go of late,” Morefiled writes. “Even though it has admittedly been used in several high-profile school shootings of late, the AR-15’s involvement in overall crime in the United States is much less than the fear-mongers would have us think.”