HIGH FALLS – Deputy Scot Peterson was the school resource officer at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. He’s 54 years old, and his sheriff, his president and most of the country is shaming him for not going into the school and having a gunfight against a teenager armed with an assault weapon. He resigned as a result.
Most resource officers I’ve observed — including those in my kids’ school in Rondout Valley — are older, friendly guys who have been placed there because they’re well-suited for creating a good rapport between students and officers. The exception to this is inner-city, high-minority schools across the U.S. Those officers are usually street-hardened, stony-faced young men who often assault black students for things like trespassing on the property of their own school, as happened in December 2017 at Kingston High School.
Countrywide evidence indicates that sheriffs — Paul Van Blarcum, for instance — didn’t put armed cops in elementary, middle and high schools to protect anyone; they did it to get kids used to living in a police state from a young age. The school-to-prison pipeline comes to mind. Just through its assumption that people are violent and that children are in danger when they’re in school, this police state is creating violence.
And now, this congenial-looking, older police officer who should’ve been on the road to retirement via a desk job is being blamed nationwide because he knew he didn’t have the physical and/or mental capacity to overtake a teenager with an AR-15 assault rifle and didn’t want to die.
(Incidentally, locals can buy an AR-15 just over in Tillson, with parts inscribed with "FUAC": F.U. Andrew Cuomo.)
The answer is not putting tougher cops with more firepower in our schools, or the ridiculous concept of arming teachers. If we want mass shootings to stop happening in our country, we need to dissolve the police state we’ve been living in and confiscate the tools of violence. And we need to start here, at home, with our sheriff, our mayors, our local gun sellers, our boards of education, and our state and county legislators. We need to work harder to make them work harder.