It has been nearly a month since Nikolas Cruz killed 17 students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Many of you probably know the basics of what happened, but there are some interesting details about the shooter that you may not know:
- Cruz’s father died when he was very young, leaving his mother to raise the family herself
- As a child, Cruz constantly got into fights with his siblings, and often police had to come to break them up.
- In 2014, Cruz threw his mom against a wall because she took away his Xbox.
- In 2016, Cruz posted a disturbing Instagram post that suggested that he would shoot up the school.
- Sometime in 2016-2017, Cruz was expelled from Douglas High School
- In early 2017, Cruz’s family ran into serious financial problems, and they had to sell their home.
- In November 2017, Cruz’s mother passed away. After this, Cruz became increasingly more violent and obtained a firearm.
His online presence was arguably even more suspicious:
- He left a comment on a YouTube video saying “I’m going to be a professional school shooter” and another saying “I want to die Fighting killing sh** tons of people”. (Cruz ended up being one of the very few school shooters who did not get killed)
- He posted pictures of himself with various dangerous weapons, including guns and knives.
- He was reportedly in an Instagram group chat that advocated for the killing of gays, blacks and Mexicans.
Finally, on January 5th, an anonymous caller tipped the FBI that Cruz had a “desire to kill people” and warned about a possible school shooting.
It may seem puzzling how the FBI or other law enforcement agencies did not act sooner, given all the evidence. However, it is important to note that strange and disturbing YouTube comments are pretty common, and most of the time the authors of these comments are simply trying to make a joke. Many people also leave anonymous tips relating to school shootings as a prank. Finally, most calls and tips did not leave a school name- this makes it very hard to take action, unless every school in the entire district was shut down, which is unreasonable.
This incident does teach us, however, to take family and private issues people are dealing with much more seriously. Things like violently reacting when people take away video games, or frequently fighting with siblings, can be a red flag for serious mental problems later in life.
– Amit Rajesh