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‘Sheltering’ Parkland School Cop Not the ‘Only One’ with No Duty to Protect

‘Sheltering’ Parkland School Cop Not the 'Only One' with No Duty to Protect
Scot Peterson isn’t the “Only One” with no dutry to protect.

“Many have called him a coward, but former sheriff’s deputy Scot Peterson had no legal duty to stop the slaughter at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, his attorneys say,” the Sun-Sentinel reported Saturday. “Peterson took shelter rather than confront the killer, but he did not act with malice or bad faith … Therefore he can’t be held legally responsible for the deaths, they say in court documents.”

Morally, they’re wrong. Legally, they’re right.

“Anti-gun lobbyists get away with proposing to completely disarm the citizens only because most citizens just assume the police will protect them. That assumption is false,” the summary for “Dial 911 and Die” by attorney Richard W. Stevens notes. “The police cannot protect everyone — in fact the police usually have no legal duty to protect anyone.”

This is not news. The book has been around 1999. Stevens proved his claims by citing relevant statutes and precedents.

“For nearly every American state and territory, this book shows how the police owe no legal duty to protect individuals from crime,” the synopsis continues. The police in most places do not even have to come when you call.”

SCOTUS weighed in on the issue back in 2005.

“The Supreme Court ruled on Monday that the police did not have a constitutional duty to protect a person from harm, even a woman who had obtained a court-issued protective order against a violent husband making an arrest mandatory for a violation.”

So much for those who would prohibit their countrymen from keeping and bearing arms. So much for those who claim the police will protect you. So much for those who disparage self-defense as vigilantism.

It’s doubtful Scot Peterson will need to do much more to get the court to reject the lawsuit. I’m not a lawyer, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s free of it soon, unless he chooses to go after the father of the boy he refused to try and save for attorney fees and court costs.

Look for him to continue collecting his $8,700+/month pension with medical coverage courtesy of taxpayers who probably aren’t aware that “To serve and protect” is slogan, not an obligation.

Living with himself is another matter…


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David Codrea’s opinions are his own. See “Who speaks for Oath Keepers?”




David Codrea blogs at The War on Guns: Notes from the Resistance (, and is a field editor/columnist for GUNS Magazine. Named “Journalist of the Year” in 2011 by the Second Amendment Foundation for his groundbreaking work on the “Fast and Furious” ATF “gunwalking” scandal, he is a frequent event speaker and guest on national radio and television programs.



  1. Warren v. D.C., 444 A.2d. 1, D.C. Ct. of Ap. 1981 said it all. “To serve and protect” is for licensed businesses, not people.

  2. I hope this weighs on that yellow gentleman’s life the remainder of his tenure on this earth. I hope his neighbors and kin remind him of his cowardice every day. I hope his “Captain” will share his misery as SHE commanded the remainder of the SO to stand down. I was an SRO for years and trained constantly to retain the confidence to “make the shot” when called upon to do so. The very idea of not responding to the shooter was and is aberrant to me. I was confident in my God given abilities to do the job and was comfortable with the whole concept of giving my life for the children if necessary. I made my vows and gave my oath to do so. My children and teachers were aware of that and were not afraid. The whole Sheriffs Office knew my training and mode of operations concerning the schools. That is how you keep a school safe from terror.

    1. You must remember that there is NOTHING in the “Police Field Manual” that states the po lic are required to commit suicide as teachers have done,beginning with Columbine.

      1. I sure hope that you didn’t serve in Law Enforcement and if you did I’m sure glad you weren’t in my department. What a dumb ass statement..

      2. Their job is to serve AND PROTECT…that’s what they get PAID for! How did this sheriff PROTECT the students & teachers cowering away?

        1. I went in to work my shift the day after columbine and told my Deputies( I was the Sgt. Of the shift) that if we go to a similar situation, hearing screams and gunshots going on, we weren’t going to wait for SWAT, or anyone else to arrive! We’re going in!!! If I survive the encounter and find out one of y’all didn’t go in with us, I’ll personally Whip Your As-!!!! All my Deputies at work that day agreed with me.

      3. I don’t understand. My oath, when I became a Deputy said, “ I will protect my citizens to the best of my ability!! ( unspoken, but understood was to the point of giving my life) I had a military career also, of 21yrs( 4yrs regulär Army-17yrs Guard) and 27yrs Law Enforcement and NO WHERE in the oaths was the codicil: I understand that there is no mandate to save innocents in any situation, nor risk my life to go to the rescue of endangered civilians. This officer apparently just wore the uniform to try and look good, had no b-lls and I can’t believe he was hired!! With leftist Supreme Court rulings the last 48yrs it became harder to protect citizens, because the courts fine combed any misconduct charges, filed by scumbags we arrested, saying we didn’t protect HIS rights , in an effort to punish the officer and/or citizens for violation of the scumbags civil rights!!! In my opinion scumbags lose their ‘civil rights’ when they committed a felony! Righteous officers, all over the nation, are appalled by the so-called officers actions and I personally SPIT on the cowards whining and apparently trying to save his job.

  3. I guess I wasn’t finished with my comment. If you have not completely thought through the concept of the mission and are not satisfied with the commitments due it, DO NOT TAKE the oath. There is a small closet in this world for people who break their oath. I am afraid there are many people who do not even understand the concept of an oath. We see this in many situations lately. There is a small corner of earthly hell for these people.

    1. Captain, I agree with your statement. Taking an Oath is not just reciting words. A man is only as good as his word and if you choose to (solemnly swear or affirm) an oath of office then you have committed yourself to the office you represent. If at anytime one feels can nolonger continue the commitment he/she made should resign the office immediately. It seems to me the deputy was days from retirement and was not going to put his life in jeopardy at the cost of innocent lives. His actions were an act of selfishness like no other. I’m retired military reservists, carry concealed everyday, My oath I took some 40 years ago is still active, I train and prepare that should I need to back up the blue or kids in danger then I will take action. No gun free zones in my world.

  4. Scot Peterson may not have had a “legal” responsibility to act but IMHO he should have had a moral responsibility. He had the power to end that killing but chose, for some reason, to not use it. What was going through his mind at that moment will always be uncertain. I pray that whatever the reason that stopped him, at some point in his life he finds peace with that decision. Old Combat Corpsman opinion.

  5. It is my understanding the reason police are armed is to protect themselves while upholding the law; not to protect the citizenry from danger.
    Why then would anyone question lawful concealed carry? For as described in that famous idiom, “When seconds count, the police are just minutes away.”

    1. I have not scene an officer yet in any recent videos, not protecting either themselves or the innocents around them when a criminal was near. Yes, most of the time, they are not there during the crime, but when they are I haven’t seen any of them cower and run away, like this SRO did in Parkland Florida!

    2. The saying has now been amended, ” When seconds count, the police are right outside the building cowering in fear behind their patrol cars”

  6. Our illusion of police protection is only eclipsed by the strong delusion suffered by many wearing the badge. Most came into the job without the requisite skills and abilities, and most continue in that vein of not seeking to round out their deficiencies or even taking advantage of training that is offered at no expense to them.

    When your job description entails putting yourself in harm’s way to protect and preserve society (everyone’s assumption), it would seem to be a no-brainer that we would only put the best we had to offer into positions, not posers and paper tigers. Filling slots is not fulfilling the mandate to “protect and serve,”

    So here is a salute to the hard-working men and women that actually do it right and a curse on the phonies and fakers that bring shame (and cost lives). They are supposed to be modern day knights and paid athletes, not a collection of empty promises….

    1. The courts have ruled that law enforcement officers have no obligation to protect the public. Their obligation is to enforce the law. Thankfully there are many officers who feel a moral obligation to protect citizens from harm. It should be all of our moral responsibility to protect the defenseless. That is what real men and women do.

      Shorty Dawkins

      1. “The courts have ruled that law enforcement officers have no obligation to protect the public. Their obligation is to enforce the law.” What?! Because “[t]he courts have ruled” do we have some obligation to suspend our own abilities to think, to question, to disbelieve, to disprove? How many times have “[t]he courts ruled” erroneously–and grossly so? In the case of the duties of the police, most of these court rulings beg the question–which is whether “protect[ing] the public” is an inherent aspect (in some situations at least) of “enforc[ing] the law”. There are, for example, laws against assault and battery. If a policeman actually observes an assailant committing an assault, but only after the assault is completed, and the victim beaten to a pulp, arrests the assailant, he “enforce[s] the law” in some sense. Would he not better “enforce the law” by stepping in immediately and preventing (or mitigating) the assault, even at some risk to himself? Would he not have an obligation “to enforce the law” which necessarily entailed “an obligation to protect [that one member of] the public”? Would not his failure to do so constitute a failure–or worse yet a refusal–to “enforce the law”? Or would it have nothing to do with “enforc[ing] the law [in this specific instance]” because he supposedly had no “duty to protect the public [in general]”? Is the law there simply to apprehend and perhaps punish the wrongdoer after the fact, or (if possible) to stop the wrongdoer before or during commission of the illegal act? Which is the desideratum: punishment of crime after the fact, when the harm to the victim cannot be undone; or deterrence, prevention, or mitigation of the crime or its effects in the first place, when harm to the victim can be avoided or minimized? Perhaps “the courts” should take that into consideration before they feed us more rancid bird seed about how the police “have no obligation to protect the public”.

        1. Edwin,

          I agree with most of what you say. I happen to agree that the police have an absolute moral obligation to protect as well as serve. What is needed is a definitive law that requires the police, and all law enforcement agencies, to protect. Apparently there are judges who have ruled otherwise. In a just society, it would be implicit that officers MUST protect, (as it is our moral obligation to do so as decent humans), but the liberal courts have deemed it not so.
          Judges can be impeached, but few have ever been.

          Shorty Dawkins

  7. You gotta make the shot. When the women are screaming, the children are crying, the dogs are barking and the sirens are wailing, you gotta make the shot.

  8. Scot Peterson is no different than the vast majority of police officers in our country. They will fail to protect people because they have no obligation to protect people. If the SHTF, most of the police will be like the vast majority of our armed forces; they will blindly follow the orders of their superior grade officers and fight against us.

  9. An interesting subject that demands expansion. Shorty, you’re incorrect when stating that the police have no duty to protect. The courts have spoken clearly. Police have a duty to (1) enforce the laws & (2) protect the public IN GENERAL. This 2nd duty does not run to any individual, absent a unique situation wherein police have created an enhanced, individualized duty. Thus, if one dials 911 to report immediately impending rape, robbery, etc., whereupon the dispatcher laughs it off or the cops stop for donuts & don’t show up in time, the hapless caller cannot sue. They’re simply bleeding & out of luck. When seconds count, the police are just minutes away. Hopefully, they’ll get the paperwork right.

    1. Rollie,

      I don’t disagree with your belief that police SHOULD be required to defend. I was merely pointing out that there are court decisions that have said there is no obligation on the part of the police to do so. I happen to disagree with those decisions. Any moral person would.

      Shorty Dawkins

    2. Rollie. You can take your donuts and shove them! You’re wrong about being sued. We are the only segment of the population that can be tried twice for the same crime, ( Double Jeopardy)thanks to the Supreme Court. An officer was cleared of all culpability by a Grand Jury. The feds weren’t happy about that, so the fbi got the case files, filed charges for ‘violation of civil rights and this time( thru news media and the feds pressure everyday) got a conviction!

      1. No, not the only ones. Military personnel are at risk of double jeopardy. I have seen service members charged under the UCMJ after being charged by the local law enforcement. I have seen cases where service members were cleared in public courts and still charged by the military, and vice versa.

  10. Courts so not rule, that is the role of legal citizens. Courts are only legally authorized to submit written opinions on narrow matters before them on s single case. Courts cannot rule, cannot make Las, cannot change law. Laws are made and changed by legal citizens through their representatives. The supreme court is authorized to submit opinions on the constituional application of a particular law in the circumstances in a specific case. The supreme court cannot enact not invalidate nor change any law, anywhere. As pointed the political hacks posing as judges have commited crimes by illegal ruling and fraudulently misrepresenting numerous laws and building false case law to undermine laws, the constitution and society. The only purpose for citizens to hire a police man, Sherrif is to protect life and property. There is no other valid reason. The false narrative that policemen are hired by citizens to enforce laws is part of the police state narrative that is anti-Christian, anti-social and unconstitutional.

  11. While this is true as stated in Warren V D.C. and supported in Castle Rock v Gonzales (Sup Ct), is is not necessarily about a “duty” to protect. If you as an office do not have the moral content or place value on lives other than your own, then you do not and should not be a police officer.

  12. The contents of this thread bring my mind to the recent-past murder when a police officer… a Somali… Mohamed Noor… now on trial for murder… “…the charges would have come sooner had some of Noor’s fellow officers cooperated with investigators. Because of some officers’ unwillingness to cooperate, Freeman convened a grand jury.”

    The code of silence among so many cops. Complicated stuff. Cops are societal “white blood cells” that rid society of filth. Cops deal with societal scum constantly and I understand how that affects one’s thinking.

    I am unsure of the message I want to convey. We need cops. We need a legal system. Both are problematical and need restructuring. So does society. The quality of the citizenry is declining. Diversity and multiculturalism is a path to societal fall. The ongoing class war that the lower socioeconomic cohorts is losing is harming life for the masses of common folks. The elite-class control of media and huge influence upon government is harming the lower classes AND the USA as a whole as the empowered few make wonderful lives for themselves.

    I am convinced if the Founders appeared and after observing the multitude of horrors confronting the common folks would begin the task of starting a much-needed Revolutionary War Two. Without that I have doubts about the long-term survival of the USA. When will the Founder’s Great Experiment turn into a fiefdom with a tiny minority of elite rulers, monolithic corporate control over society and government at all levels and the vast majority of the population mere serfs obeying the tyrannical overlords? And thus we observe the elites and their media doing all it can to disarm the populace.

  13. The American Gestapo has no legal obligation to protect you. They are there as part of the organized criminal gang of City, their lying, thieving, bully thug criminals gang, their corrupt courts and judges and all the attorneys involved. They are using their positions for personal gain!

  14. So called “liberal” logic: Ordinary citizens should not be armed. They should rely upon the police to protect them.

    BULL SHOT. Any so-called ‘law’s requiring you to be disarmed for your “safety is no law at all. It is in itself a threat to your safety, and also goes against my sworn Army oath to uphold and defend my Constitution. SXREW the leftist regressive scum! There a a special place for thrm: under our boots Stay armed and dangerous to tyrants as well as pasties and Mercs hired to orchestrate and carry out mass shootings. Look at the Vegas shooting. Look what’s not being discussed by Congrefs. .

  15. I spent almost 10 years pursing an LE career, until I read the book “That Every Man be Armed: the evolution of a Constitutional Right”; by the NRA’s top attorney Stephen Halbrook. In that book was a citation of the case Bowers v.DeVito, whereiin the 5th Circuit(?; case from NYC, NY/Nassau County) said the police have no duty to protect individual citizens, but society as a whole. The Bill of Rights is a set of negative liberties, and tells gov’t to leave people alone. Since the police have no ABILITY to protect BEFORE the fact, they have no RESPONSIBILITY, and therefore incur no LIABILITY, should they fail to do so. So…since every DA, in every jurisdiction across the country is an “officer of the court”, as is every sworn officer, for them to KNOW this decision, and YET refuse to allow citizens to take responsibility for protecting themselves,. when THEY KNOW that all the police can do is to act AFTER THE FACT (investigate, take evidence photos, draw chalk outlines, and interview/take statements from witnesses) amounts to being criminally negligent, and socially irresponsible. I heard more than one officer (deputies/officers) say plainly, that THEIR job was to make sure they go home at the end of their shift, and/or make it to retirement, to which my response and thought is…YOU NEED TO FIND ANOTHER JOB, BECAUSE YOU ARE AS USELESS AS BALLS ON A PRIEST, OR TITS ON A BOAR HOG!! Ball-less, worthless motherf**kers. These are the kind of people the city/county/state/fed bean-counters in H/R are HIRING, and PROMOTING. That should tell you how much care and concern they have for the public they PRETEND to serve. The policy makers are ADVOCATING and ENACTING laws and policies INTENDED to cause society to eat itself and turn into a rotting, putrid, pile of sh*t, so they can JUSTIFY taking our 2A Rights and seizing arms from everybody. And if they get their way…THEN, you’ll see the fangs and claws come out, which they don’t even dare contemplate, as long as America remains armed and steadfast. And if you dismiss my “paranoia” as rediculous “conspiracy theory”, ask yourself this question:. with a TOTAL debt obligation (both ON and OFF-budget debt) in excessof $120T (TRILLION!!!), how do you think “Uncle Sugar” is planning to pay such an inconceivable mountain of debt? Why, “…on the full faith and credit of the US Government…”, dont-you-know. That is, ON THEIR TAXING AUTHORITY to rob and steal from the American people, through the IRS, of course. To pay the aforementioned level of debt, THEY’RE GOING TO HAVE TO SEIZE EVERYTHING FROM EVERYBODY. Don’t think IRS is stealing? Ask yourself this question:. Have I ever seen the law that makes me liable to pay a tax ON OUR WAGES? The answer is , “No, you haven’t”; why?…BECAUSE IT DOESN’T EXIST!! THERE ISN’T ONE!! Think, study, and read for yourself, and think outside the box; and realize that if the IRS/et Al are doing what they’re doing, and there’s no law giving them legitimacy, THEN THEY ARE STEALING…as much as if I put a gun in your ribs and said “give me your wallet”. NOW do you understand why the elites are so HELL-BENT on disarming the nation?? How did the FIRST Revolutionary War start on April 19, 1775, at Lexington and Concord, Mass.? When the British marched to seize the supplies of powder and shot stored in the churches; i.e. GUN CONTROL! What is the agenda now? To take away our 2A Rights and seize our arms. Once they get our guns, you’ll see what they have in mind; if history is any indicator, with respect to OTHER countries in the last century, it will be serfdom, slavery, and Mass Extermination of “dissidents and undesirables”; maybe I should’ve wrote…”deplorables”. Are you GETTING it now?? As a T-shirt at a Gunshow said, “Our forefathers would be SHOOTING by now”. As President Kennedy said, “Those who would make peaceful revolution impossible, will make violent revolution inevitable.”. Pray like your life depends on it. As far as this sh**bag SRO is concerned, there is a special little corner of Hell reserved for those who let Innocents die when they have the means at hand to stop it, and are GETTING PAID to accept those risks and act accordingly with what society and common morality have a right to expect.

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