We've all heard today that Valentine's Day festivities were overshadowed by events in Parkland, Florida. The sensationalists in the Mainstream Media---as they always do---give most of their attention to the whackos who commit these crimes. Little is ever said about the victims, and even less about the heroes in such circumstances.
What we know about the suspect indicates that he was a complete loser who was a passive-aggressive type of a decidedly cruel character. All of us are probably familiar with this type at one point or another in our lives. They rarely actually do these kinds of things, but when they do, no one is surprised.
But rather than focus on such scum, we decided to profile Sheriff Scott Israel of Broward County, who is handling the case. Sheriff Israel organized the response and brought the wounded to safety---as well as organizing the suspect's capture. Israel stated in 2017 that local sheriff's departments were too often caught off guard by mass-murders. In the aftermath of the Las Vegas shooting, he made it a point to state that: "These kinds of events are impossible to stop. You play them as you're trained and that's what we have to do. I have a commitment never to stop training within this agency."
Mass-shootings and terrorist incidents are to our day what gangster attacks were during the Great Depression and train robberies were in the Old West. Sheriff Israel understands this---as a proactive law enforcement official he realizes that his agency must adapt to new challenges.
His theory was put the test a year ago when another psycho killed five people during a rampage at the Ft. Lauderdale Airport. Then, as today, the sheriff's department moved quickly, captured the suspect, and prevented further tragedy. Israel's techniques were both praised and studied by other departments. One noteworthy innovation of his was to coordinate first-responders. Israel noted that police, fire, EMT, and others are dispatched to a given scene through multiple services. This creates chaos at a mass-murder scene. But by coordinating them through a special emergency central command, these men can function as an organized team.
Sheriff Israel understands teamwork. Active in his community, he was a volunteer football coach. In fact, one of his sons plays quarterback at the very high school where today's shooting occurred. In a 2016 interview for the Behind the Badge television series, Israel states that, as a leader, he holds to Martin Luther King's maxim that "a leader doesn't hold consensus; a leader molds consensus."
Sheriff Israel also started a program to divert juvenile offenders through a mentoring program which includes the family and adult peers. This program is an innovative in that it is hands-on and bypasses the juvenile justice and social-work bureaucracy. And juvenile delinquency rates have gone down under his administration.
The sheriff spoke during a campaign interview about his own father's influence. Sonny Israel, a veteran of the Korean War was also a policeman. "He believed in the Talmudic saying that 'whoever saves one life saves an entire world." Israel said. "Those words guided my brother and I as we also became police officers."
Sheriff Israel is happily married and the father of triplets. His wife Susan was formerly an executive for an addiction-recovery group.
Instead of joining the chorus of political finger-pointing that happens after every mass-killing, let's instead applaud the people getting the job done. And better still: join in that job in some way.