There were red flags – lots of them. He was transferred from six schools for aggressive behavior. He posted on social media accounts that he wanted to kill people. Once a bird flew into his window and he took it into the house and started cutting it up. He shot his neighbor’s chicken with an air pistol. In May 2018, a relative was so concerned that he would do something that she called the FBI.
Here too was sadness. His birth mother had numerous charges, and his adoptive parents both died – his mother just three months before he went into a spiral. He did not make friends easily and was socially unable to form relationships. He is said to have abused and physically attacked others.
A strong mix. Things turned deadly on Valentine’s Day 2018 when 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz took an Uber to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, killing 17 people and injuring 17 others wearing an AR-15 half-helmet in just four minutes . automatic rifle. He had swastikas etched onto the magazines he used.
Afterwards, while children ran screaming past the bodies of their classmates to escape, Cruz casually walked through the crowd amidst the chaos to a supermarket and bought a drink. He then went to a McDonald’s where he was eventually arrested.
Cruz was an angry young man. His assault on the world was not just a moment of insanity, but a meticulously planned event that he had hinted at online months earlier. He wanted to be a “school shooter”.
All we can do is carry Cara’s light forward…and always remember her and know that all she wanted in her life was laughter, love and peace
While being questioned by police, he tried to defend himself, saying he heard a “demon” in his head telling him to do bad things. In a remarkable recording that was later released to the public, an experienced detective tried to extract basic information from him. Hours later, realizing his subterfuge wasn’t working, Cruz asked for an attorney. “Does the demon know a lawyer?” asked the clever detective.
A psychiatrist examined Cruz before the trial and found no evidence of psychosis, although there were behavior problems and depression. The only emotion the shooter showed was crying when his brother was allowed to see him in custody and told him he loved him.
Last October, Cruz pleaded guilty to all charges. He now faces trial for a jury to decide whether he should receive the death penalty or life without parole. The victims’ families have already heard the live streamed hearings – statements so powerful that even Cruz’s own lawyer wept.
On Thursday, the jury inspected the surviving shooting scene, bullet holes still in the walls, bloodstains still on the floor. It’s hard to imagine how they could emotionally detach themselves to weigh mitigation against premeditated murder.
14-year-old Cara Loughran was one of Cruz’s victims. On Wednesday, Isabel Ferreira Dalu spoke eloquently in court while Cruz sat with his head on one hand. As a friend of Cara’s parents, Denise and Damian Loughran, she read out a statement on their behalf. “She loved the beach, she loved surfing and most of all she loved spending time with her family,” she said through tears. She painted a picture of a happy child dreaming of “her first date, her first kiss and falling in love.”
“She was looking forward to her family’s holiday in Ireland in the summer of 2018 where she would be able to spend time with the family she had there,” she said, adding that Cara’s Irish dance school had named a feis in her memory and awarded scholarships in your name.
In a Facebook post in October, her aunt Lindsay wrote: “At the end of the day there is no justice… nothing will bring our loved ones back… No justice for the man who pulled the trigger, whose life was a tragic catastrophe in his womb and for whom never a meaningful one.” help came. No justice for society as so many refuse to change the gun culture that claims over 30,000 lives annually in this country. All we can do is carry Cara’s light forward…and always remember her and know that all she wanted in her life was laughter, love and peace.”
America has a problem. There have been 27 school shootings so far this year and still a Second Amendment puts the right to bear arms before protecting a child’s right to live and learn in a safe environment. During his time as US President, Donald Trump’s solution was to advocate for arming teachers with guns. The school’s solution was to increase security at the entrances. In contrast, students fought under the Never Again banner and managed to change Florida’s gun laws, including raising the minimum purchase age to 21.
Nikolas Cruz has apologized but cannot undo the damage done. Even the death penalty doesn’t stop mass shooters from slaughtering others. Surely it’s better to spend the rest of his life in prison and oblivion than to have him martyred by execution – no doubt a factor influencing other lonely, angry young men in need of notoriety.
When the American Dream is out of reach for such people, they become nightmares for others instead. When a state considers itself the arbiter of life, it devalues it. A lethal injection will not cure the terror Cruz created, but will sleepwalk the land of the free and turn it into another copycat atrocity.
The victims were good people cruelly kidnapped from their time. They are the ones whose names should be remembered: Alyssa Alhadeff (14); Martin Duke (14); Jaime Guttenberg (14); Gina Montalto (14); Alaine Petty (14); Alex Schachter (14); Peter Wang (15); Luke Hoyer (15); Carmen Schentrup (16); Helena Ramsay (17); Joaquin Oliver (17); Nicholas Dworet (17); Pollock (18); Scott Beigel (35); Aaron Feis (37); Chris Hixon (49).
And Cara Marie Loughran, 14, the beautiful freckled Irish dancer who loves Disney movies and spending time with her family.
https://www.independent.ie/opinion/comment/the-death-penalty-wont-cure-the-terror-nikolas-cruz-chose-to-create-when-he-shot-dead-17-at-a-us-school-41894631.html The death penalty will not cure the terror created by Nikolas Cruz when he shot 17 at a US school