Criminalising cowardice: the ethics of school shootings

My latest article on MercatorNet is about Scot Peterson, the former deputy and School Resource Officer who seemingly failed to respond appropriately during the 2018 Parkland school shooting in Florida.

Peterson was arrested this month and charged with child neglect, facing as much as 97 years in jail if convicted.

It’s an emotional topic, with professional standards, scapegoating, and questions of cowardice and heroism adding to the weight of these unprecedented charges.

The Active-shooter Training demands outright heroism from police officers. It would take great courage to run towards the gunfire instead of away from it, and in line with the training and our ideals for the police force there is an element of self-sacrifice required.

Whether the charges and eventual punishment are warranted in this case, it will play into the narrative that the gun problem in America can be solved through personal acts of heroism and ad hoc responses to threats, without addressing the availability of powerful weapons in the first place.


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