Florida Sheriff Uses Orlando Massacre to Slam Obama Hours After Mass Shooting

In the horrible hours after 49 clubgoers were massacred in Orlando early Sunday morning, everyone in Florida grasped for how to respond to the brutal tragedy. Family members texted and checked in safe on Facebook. Hundreds lined up to donate blood.     

And one Florida sheriff decided the moment was perfect to rage against President Obama's police policies. Just five hours after the final shots were fired inside Pulse nightclub, Lee County Sheriff Mike Scott posted this missive to his official sheriff's office Facebook page:
It's hard to even enumerate how tone-deaf this move was from the elected law enforcement head of Lee County, a Gulf Coast district of 600,000 people centered on Fort Myers. 

Scott doesn't even mention the victims — you know, the hundred-plus innocent people strafed with gunfire from an automatic weapon — until 152 words into his 214-word rant. And even then, they're a secondary thought, a clause attached to a far more visible political potshot.

Plus, Scott's argument makes little sense. Military equipment didn't help the Orlando police prevent or effectively handle the worst mass shooting in American history.

In fact, as Marc Caputo at Politico points out this morning, real questions remain to be answered about the police response to the mass shooting. The first round of victims bled inside the club for nearly three hours before police stormed in and killed the shooter. 

There's probably a valid debate to be had over Obama's curtailing of military weaponry for police. But trying to spark that debate on Facebook a few hours after the worst act of gun violence in your nation's history isn't political discourse — it's straight-up trolling.

Scott isn't the only elected official who could barely wait for the blood to dry before bludgeoning his opponents over the head with the Pulse shooting, of course. Donald Trump quickly tweeted to "congratulate" himself over the shooter's reported links to radical Islam. Texas' governor had to quickly walk back a biblical tweet the morning of the shooting.

But there's something particularly offensive about a sheriff doing so on his official page while a short drive away from Orlando, where hundreds of cops and federal agents are still wrapped up in the brutal job of actual police work untangling this awful crime. 
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Tim Elfrink is a former investigative reporter and managing editor for Miami New Times. He has won the George Polk Award and was a finalist for the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting.
Contact: Tim Elfrink