MARCH 10, 2018
This is the speech we never heard. These are the answers we never got from politicians in Florida. If we were eager to know the truth, then this is what they'd say.
Thank you for coming to this town hall meeting. Children and teachers died in a public high school. We knew about the murderer. We failed to protect you and your children. We let you down and I'm sorry. It is time for things to change.
We lied to you. We said that you and your children are safe. That isn't true. We can't keep criminals and crazies away from you. Not at school and not when you are at home. I'm sorry.
As a state lawmaker, I want you to understand what happened. It is easy to make laws that sound good. It is very hard to make good laws that actually work. Too often, politicians like me left broken laws on the books and passed laws that we knew would fail in practice.
We said that we'd protect your children at school and we can't. We have no duty to protect any of your children. Not at any time and no matter how badly we fail. Not the FBI, not the state police, local police, local deputies and not school resource officers. By law, we are never accountable for their safety. Not one child. Not now. Not ever.
That sounds horrible, but please understand the size of the problem. I can't protect your children when they are in the classroom. I can't protect them when they are on school grounds, or on school activities away from school. I certainly can't protect them when they are on the bus traveling to and from school. They are vulnerable all that time.
I can't protect them in private daycare facilities, in a church that operates a kindergarten, or at the state university. I can't do it there or anywhere in between. Beware the people who tell you otherwise. Some are sincere, but most are self-serving politicians trying to advance an agenda or their careers.
I can't protect you from the mentally ill. A judge said we can't force the mentally ill to take their medications. It is difficult and expensive to lock dangerous people away from us. We have done it, but we didn't do it this time. We didn't pass new laws to protect you. Instead, we passed laws that sounded good and that offered ineffective solutions. You never held us accountable. I hope you will.
In the case of the Parkland murders, we didn't keep crazy people away from your children. We didn't arrest and prosecute individuals who blatantly broke the law time after time. We denied you and your teachers the ability to protect yourselves and your children. We proposed more laws that will provide a TSA like solution. We offered you security theater that looks good on the TV and sounds good to the media in a soundbite.
There is hope. There are solutions. It is time we got out of the way and got our laws out of your way. You are more likely to find good solutions with your local school board than to depend on Washington. Your school board might be accountable. The people in the state capital and in Washington DC are not.
There are good solutions to keep our children safe all across this country. We've seen local school districts harden their schools to keep a bad guy out at minimal cost. We've seen local schools approve and train armed staff to stop an attacker inside your schools. We've seen them provide medical supplies and training to school staff.
Some counties provide mental health treatment. Some states provide effective mental health care. We didn't do that. That is our fault, not yours.
We failed you, now please go protect your children because we can not.
I gave you 600 words. Please leave a rating and a comment. What would you like to hear your politician say? RM