Scot Peterson, then a sheriff’s deputy, was armed and on campus when a former student opened fire in Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, in 2018, killing 17 people. But Peterson didn’t intervene; instead of entering the building, he took cover 75 feet away. A trial over his failure to act sparked an existential question about police accountability: Can cops be criminally punished for failing to move toward gunfire? [The Atlantic]
The Business of Guns
In October, following increased scrutiny of U.S. gun sales to countries with poor human rights records, the Commerce Department announced that it was imposing a pause on export licenses for most civilian firearms. But some countries were exempted from the break — including Israel, where, days after the deadly October 7 attack by Hamas, the government relaxed licensing requirements for civilians to own guns.
Since then, data from the U.S. International Trade Commission shows, American exports of handguns to Israel have soared: In October and November alone, the U.S. exported more than 27,500 handguns to Israel, more than in any full year over the past two decades. The surge comes as lawmakers and activists are voicing alarm about increasing violence against Palestinians by radical Israeli settlers in the West Bank. The Trace’s Chip Brownlee has the story.
What to Know Today
In 2021, a scathing report found that Baltimore Police exacerbated trauma for victims of gun violence and their families, often treating them like suspects instead of survivors. The six-person team in the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Safety and Engagement works to better serve crime victims — and in 2023, the office’s first full year in existence, it helped 163 people. [The Baltimore Banner]
In June 2022 — shortly after the massacre at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas — Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds announced that her state would spend $75 million to improve school security. More than 19 months and two deadly school shootings later, the vast majority of the money is still unspent. [Associated Press]
The involuntary manslaughter trial against Jennifer Crumbley, whose son killed four people in 2021 at Oxford High School in Michigan, resumed Monday. Prosecutors have shown jurors message exchanges in which the shooter texted Crumbley about hallucinations and mental distress, and video of Crumbley and her husband, who is also charged with involuntary manslaughter, entering the school hours before the shooting. [Detroit Free Press]
The Justice Department announced that it will commit extra resources to counter a spike in violent crime and carjackings in Washington, D.C. While other major cities experienced marked declines in homicide and violence last year, homicides in the district rose to the highest number since 1997. [USA TODAY]