By Zachary D. Mason ’19
On the afternoon of February 14th, 2018 a mass shooting took place at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland County, Florida. Seventeen people were killed by former student, Nikolas Cruz. Cruz, opened fire on his peers with his legally purchased AR-15. It had been rumored that Cruz was a violent threat to the school for months. The FBI was contacted almost eight months prior because some individuals thought that Cruz may try to act on someone’s life. Cruz was removed from Stoneman Douglas almost eight months prior to the shooting because of the way he had been acting on social media and to his former classmates.
This was the eighteenth school shooting in 2018 alone. Because of these events a majority of people may think back to the days in which you attended high school, or you may think of someone you know that is currently in high school. But what some people may not realize, is that all high schools are the same. There is one, or a few kids in every high school that go through these mental breakdowns and have thoughts of doing horrible things, whether it be to themselves or others. But I do know that Nikolas Cruz, and all the other students out there that have either acted on their thoughts or had these horrible thoughts have one thing in common. All of these young men and women are lonely, cast astray, singled out, and isolated. There may be one thousand words for it, but all of these people felt as if there was no alternative to what they did. And almost all of these situations could have been avoided, if a peer, a classmate, or even a teacher just stopped and said asked if he was alright. All anyone had to do was show some interest in him, and maybe 17 innocent people would be alive today. Cruz at nineteen years old would have been in high school with a lot of the kids that he was shooting at only one year removed. It only seems obvious that a man would not shoot at his friends or people that had not done him wrong. So I am certain that the people he was shooting at as well as the ones he killed, were people that he was around and saw five days a week for years; he most likely knew a lot of them by name. Those students were not his friends, quite the opposite. Cruz must have been so alone in his life that it finally got to him, and I can only assume that he wanted his fellow students to feel the same pain that he felt they contributed to. Although, Nikolas Cruz had several factors that may have acted as contributors toward his doing. He was put into the foster care system and a child and bounced around from several homes for years. I only say this because maybe through having a stable home life he may have had a different mind set and not been so violent because he would have been taught that it was wrong. But the man is not insane, he knew good and well what he was doing.
When Nikolas Cruz went to buy his AR-15, when he approached Stoneman Douglas, as well as when he opened fire on people he knew he knew what his intentions were and what he wanted the outcome to be. Did he feel justified? Were the teachers and students that he was gunning down deserving of what he was doing? The short answer is no, but that does not mean Nikolas didn’t believe otherwise. High school aged people are mean, rude, objectifying people. They all are. Not one human being in that facility wanted to be “the weird kid’s” friend. But the moral of the story is, if Cruz had one friend, made a single bond in his high school career; maybe those seventeen teachers and students would be alive today.