February 23, 2018

The recent tragedy in Parkland, FL hits close to home for me. I lived just South of the school for 10 years and watched Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School being built. It was literally within a couple of miles from my house and I would often ride my bicycle to the campus to watch the building process. It was a lovely location where the school was surrounded by beautiful Florida vegetation. I feel deeply sorry for the students, teachers, and the rest of the community that are mourning and suffering because of this tragedy.


Eight months ago, the Congressional shooting at the baseball field in Alexandria, VA took place at the field where I played High School and American Legion baseball. Two significant tragedies in eight months in communities you have lived and played really makes you think and count your blessings.


I am angry. Angry at the FBI, local police, Congress and anyone else that was presented the signs of potential violence and did not prevent this from happening.


The sad part of the Florida shooting is that it could, and should, have been prevented. It is beyond my comprehension how the authorities missed stopping this one. The system of “see it say it” worked in this case. We just failed to act on what was seen and said. Who is being held accountable for allowing this shooting to take place? Local police had to come to the shooter’s house over 30 times. Civil liberties and laws not withstanding make this a touchy situation. But the signs were there and nothing was done to stop a heinous act. For the FBI to not follow up on two tips/warnings is unbelievable. 17 are dead. Who is being held accountable?


I have always had the utmost respect and admiration for the FBI. The 1950s movie, The FBI Story starring James Stewart, told a wonderful story of how the FBI grew into the premier law enforcement agency in the world. When I was growing up, I would take the bus across the Potomac, to Washington, DC to take the FBI tour. It was an incredible tour, very thought provoking, and made me want to take my children when they were old enough to have some understanding of how the FBI works and protects us. My tours were many years prior to wide-spread computer usage, so I can imagine their capabilities now.


Yet the recent weeks and months have brought up many questions about the FBI. I have no doubt that the FBI is working diligently and has many, very hard working and concerned employees working to protect us; however, the craziness that has taken place at the top of the organization causes many questions to be asked. The investigation of Hillary Clinton’s email server and Blackberrys raises a lot of questions. The handling of the dossier raises many questions. Writing an exoneration of Secretary Clinton two months prior to her interview raises more questions. The changing of words on the exoneration to avoid treasonous terms adds more questions. The choice words of calling the Clinton investigation a “matter” instead of an investigation. The text messages between a top FBI investigator and FBI attorney adds even more questions. I could go on and on, but you know what has been coming to light, yet 17 are dead because of communication and follow up failures of the FBI. Who is being held accountable?


In business, I teach accountability. Many years ago, I learned how important accountability is and how understanding the levels of accountability are an important part of getting desired results for any organization, including the government. Maybe this is why our government appears to often be paralyzed. Where are the proper authorities on the levels of accountability in dealing with Parkland and some of the other questions noted above? Were/are they unaware and unconscious? Were/are they blaming others? Were/are they making excuses? Were/are they waiting and hoping it gets better? Or are they acknowledging the situation and taking some role? Are they aware of the problem and owning responsibility? Are they finding solutions? Are they making it HAPPEN? Who is being held accountable for Parkland?


Targeting gun control, mental illness, whatever is necessary to solve our mass shooting challenges must take place. Unfortunately, Congress is so polarized they have difficulty working together for the betterment of the country. I have said for a long time that Henry Clay (the great compromiser) has turned over in his grave.


We can put a man on the moon with computers less capable than our hand-held telephones, yet we have not been able to stop mass shootings. Why? Is it the political divide? Is it the inability to compromise? Is it the thirst for power?


We have the best and the brightest minds in the world. I truly believe that. We can find answers and stop the madness. It starts with accountability. Accountability at home, at school, at work and in government. We can make it happen. We must hold our representatives accountable to make it happen or the greatest country in the history of the world will continue to deteriorate.