Lee County Sheriff Mike Scott weighs in on shooting tragedies

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Sheriff Mike Scott

As the country grapples with how to prevent another school shooting tragedy in the future Lee County Sheriff Mike Scott weighs in.

He says we’ve banned murder, rape, robbery and burglary and there’s no shortage of people ignoring those bans.

So why ban guns?

Much of the country and even Southwest Florida, people are divided about what to do after last week’s shooting in Parkland.

“It’s not just gun control because there’s too many guns out there already,” said Earline Kingston of Fort Myers.

On Thursday, Sheriff Scott joined the conversation, saying in a Facebook post, he supports a person’s right to defend themselves but can’t imagine a ban on guns today would result in student’s or parent’s immediate safety.

Below is Sheriff’s Scott’s statement in full [LINK]:

Although schools are the primary focus in the aftermath of the Parkland tragedy, the sad and scary reality remains that churches, parades, festivals, marathons, concerts, nightclubs, restaurants, and numerous other locations where good people gather, can be sabotaged very quickly by just one person with bad intent. At present and understandably so, parents and students are apprehensive and increasingly vocal about campus safety; specifically relative to an active shooter. If these same parents and students were asked if they are as fearful of the same threat on an airplane, in a courtroom, or during a tour of our state capitol or the White House…the answer would have to be a unanimous “no.” It is from this premise that I am afraid the time has long since come to cut through all the emotional speculation and narrow focus, and recognize that our security is directly tied to our convenience of mobility. In the example of TSA or courthouses and the associated lines and screening routines, few like the idea of inconvenience, and yet the end result is that the increased inconvenience directly translates to increased safety. I truly lament that perhaps the time is now to acknowledge that when it comes to unrestricted freedom of mobility and the highest levels of safety, we can’t realistically have both.

I regret that the predominant discussion is centered on blaming firearms since one was used at Parkland. Similar blame never transfers to homemade bombs as savaged the Boston Marathon or motor vehicles which have increasingly become a weapon of choice. Much like no one ever blames the fork for weight gain; or the needle for the alarming trend of intravenous overdose. We hear lots of talk about “new laws” that will somehow stop evil people from doing evil things as though it is as simple as the stroke of a pen. As though a lawbreaker or deranged person has ever allowed any law to deter their behavior. At last check, I think we already banned murder, rape, robbery, burglary, theft, drug dealing, and a litany of other actions and yet we have no shortage of folks ignoring those bans.

Notably absent from most conversations is that firearms identical to the one being blamed for the Parkland tragedy are a mainstay in the realistic simulations of shoot-to-kill, blood spattering, video “games” that can desensitize youth and have become the modern day babysitters in millions of households across this nation. I submit that a great many of the people vilifying guns in protest are also glamorizing them every day while their parents and guardians turn a blind eye, allowing them to be immersed in “pretend” gun violence? The billions of profit dollars reaped from these “games” have relegated the Hollywood types and media moguls suggesting a ban on firearms to a shameless hypocrisy. Following Parkland, the narrow focus blaming firearms and elected officials has even overcome the inexcusable revelations that the FBI totally dropped the ball with Parkland. Despite the FBI being forewarned about the perpetrator and the event but doing absolutely nothing, activists are still blaming guns and the elected officials that defend a law-abiding citizen’s right to own guns for self-defense, sport, and peaceful purposes. Activists are asking why a (19) year old should even be allowed to have a gun; apparently unaware that (18) year olds jump out of military aircraft into enemy territory with guns every day. Yes, the same (18) years olds that can’t legally drink a beer until they are (21) but we want to rely on more laws to protect us. Certain, pandering politicians pontificate about gun control from the safety of their fortified offices; somehow suggesting that law-abiding citizens should settle for anything less to protect themselves, their businesses, and their families.

As a career law-enforcement professional, I want what everybody wants in terms of the safest communities possible, and I have committed the last (30) years of my life to that end. I simply don’t think the scope of focus on causes and solutions is broad enough and I am certain we are not another law or ban away from a fix. Sympathizing with and understanding their frustrations, I can’t imagine that any of these students or parents decrying firearms actually believe that a ban on guns today would result in their safety tomorrow, next month, next year, or ever. If such was the case, we should just issue one, final blanket ban on all evil actions in the U.S. and then sleep easy.

My office has long offered, and will continue to conduct active shooter training, situational awareness seminars, threat assessments, and like opportunities for those individuals and organizations who are so inclined to prepare for worst case scenarios. I have been an advocate for uniformed law-enforcement in all our elementary schools since becoming your Sheriff. I recognize that our citizens are most often the “first responders” with a crime in progress, and I support their right to defend themselves until law enforcement arrives. Regarding campus safety and absent far more detailed entrance screening and the inconveniences that go with that, we can only hope that the millions of book-bags and lunch boxes on campuses each day across this nation actually contain books and lunch. Just yesterday, my team arrested a local high school student for threatening to commit a school shooting.

If we truly want students to be as insulated from evil on school campuses, as they would be on an airplane or in a courthouse; I think the questions on how to accomplish that have already been answered. Regardless, my team and I remain proud to serve and focused on the mission. We are intimately engaged with school district leadership, our elected officials, and our colleagues in law-enforcement; and I look forward to continued participation in a rational, realistic, ongoing dialogue as to next steps.

-Sheriff Mike Scott

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