First it was Scot Peterson, the armed Broward Sheriff’s Deputy, waiting outside the school in Parkland as the gunfire sounded for a period of several minutes, and only calling for back-up rather than going in.

Then, we find out he was also on the radio with the Sheriff’s Office and likely receiving instructions. In other words, Peterson, along with several other Broward Deputies who sheltered behind their vehicles, were likely following orders.

Then we find out that Broward Sheriff Scott Israel had received countless calls and several explicit warnings, and had responded to many house calls, all relating to Nikolas Cruz and his family. But Cruz was never charged and therefore there was no information on Cruz in law enforcement data bases. It’s not just that Miami’s FBI Field Office didn’t act on information. There was No. Criminal. Record. on Cruz. So officially he couldn’t be flagged.

Why in the world did the Broward County Sheriff’s Office refuse to charge Cruz?

Because of a change in policy under the Obama administration that was intended to shut down the “pipeline” from school to prison for young offenders, especially minority offenders. And among the 50 odd counties in America that put this new policy into practice (it was seen as a rollback of zero-tolerance policies) Broward County was a leader in implementing the new policy.

In a revealing and disturbing article in Real Clear Politics, Paul Sperry outlines this change in policy and how it was put into place in Broward County. First of all, you had a key player in the shape of Robert Runcie, Broward School Superintendent. Runcie is a Chicago-born and bred, Harvard-educated and with close ties to Obama and to Obama’s then-education Secretary, Arne Duncan.

Runcie put in place a collaborative agreement with local police that downgraded various misdemeanors and other offenses to incidents that would no longer be reported to police. Sheriff Scott Israel signed that agreement around 2013, and became an enthusiastic supporter of the new discipline guidelines. Expulsions and suspensions plummeted, violence in schools increased, and Runcie obtained millions in grants from his old boss, Arne Duncan, the Secretary of Education. While Runcie raked in the subsidies and grants, teachers’ lives became far more risky with apparently increased incidents of student violence against teachers.

So, it wasn’t so much a case of negligence in Nikolas Cruz’s disturbing and horrific example. It was a matter of deliberate, progressive government policy being put into action in Broward County.

So while Runcie might have proudly claimed he was giving students a chance and turning back overly strict disciplinary codes that could ruin a student’s life and their chances to get a job, or go to college, or join the military, he and Duncan and Israel were putting in place the blinkers that deliberately overlooked Cruz’s behavior and allowed him to even remain in the school system, rather than in jail or an institution.

A program with good – if misguided – intentions becomes a sweeping social experiment in education and sets the stage for a horrifying tragedy. Should we be shocked and angry? Yes, by all means. Should we truly be surprised? No.