Saturday, February 17, 2018

Nikolas Cruz, the Shooter and the Solution

On Wednesday, February 14th, 2018, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz (allegedly) perpetrated a terrorist attack on the students and staff at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.  Using an AR-15 rifle, Cruz murdered seventeen (17) people and injured dozens more.  The attack lasted seven minutes, after which Cruz ditched his rifle and other gear, and successfully passed himself off as a victim by temporarily joining the students fleeing the school.  He stopped at a fast food restaurant, and was eventually apprehended by local police over an hour later, more by accident than on purpose.  Cruz immediately confessed to being the school shooter that law enforcement was looking for, probably scaring the living bejeezus out of the uniform cops that initially stopped Cruz to question him.  Cruz is now in custody, has a public defender, and is on suicide watch.

I suppose I could waste a lot of bandwidth restating the old arguments about gun control, the Lunatic Left, and their tedious desire to conduct a systematic house to house search throughout the entire United States, collecting all guns and ammunition for the safety of the children, but I won't.  These discussions (if you want to call them that) are as effective as a broken paper shredder, and it's likely that everyone reading this missive is already familiar with them to the point of nausea.  Instead, I'm going to suggest a few solutions.

One article I read comes from an unlikely source, but describes what one public grade school teacher has been doing to discover and possibly help people like Nikolas Cruz before they reach critical mass.  Read One Teacher’s Brilliant Strategy to Stop Future School Shootings—And It’s Not About Guns by Glennon Doyle Melton from Reader's Digest, of all places.  The school teacher in question isn't named, so I'll refer to her as Lady X.  The author ended up in Lady X's classroom to try and understand how long division is being taught, which I gather is radically different than anything I ever learned.  From the article:

Every Friday afternoon, Lady X asks her students to take out a piece of paper and write down the names of four children with whom they’d like to sit the following week.  The children know that these requests may or may not be honored.  She also asks the students to nominate one student who they believe has been an exceptional classroom citizen that week.  All ballots are privately submitted to her.

And every single Friday afternoon, after the students go home, she takes out those slips of paper, places them in front of her, and studies them.  She looks for patterns.

Who is not getting requested by anyone else?

Who can’t think of anyone to request?

Who never gets noticed enough to be nominated?

Who had a million friends last week and none this week?

You see, Lady X is not looking for a new seating chart or “exceptional citizens.”  Lady X is looking for lonely children.  She’s looking for children who are struggling to connect with other children.  She’s identifying the little ones who are falling through the cracks of the class’s social life.  She is discovering whose gifts are going unnoticed by their peers.  And she’s pinning down—right away—who’s being bullied and who is doing the bullying.
Lady X has been doing this every single week since Columbine - April 20th, 1999.  That's a lot of paper.  I'd like to believe that all of the kids who need a little extra help get discovered and get whatever help they need.  I'm willing to believe that the vast majority do, but a few continue to slip through the system, unidentified.

How many public school teachers would be willing to put in the extra work it takes to do this effectively?  For all that matters, how many have the skill set to pull it off successfully?  Very few, I'm thinking.  I don't think many would do the work, and I think fewer still have the skill set to not only spot the pattern, but to actually help the student.  At the same time, I find it very believable that most of the school teachers are fully capable of taking a bad social situation and making it worse.

So where does that leave us, the great unwashed?  Pretty much where we are now.  School teachers demand more money, more vacation, and better benefits.  They're protected by a powerful labor union which backs them both as a group and individually - right, reason, or none.  My only thought is that I'd like to meet Lady X and buy her a drink.  She's making the world a better, safer place, and her problem students have an easier time of it.

While most commercial media is busy hammering out anti-freedom diatribes, at least one commercial media news source describes Cruz as mentally ill.  Check the article Florida Suspect Said He Heard Voices Telling Him to Carry Out Massacre by Julia Jacobo, Morgan Winsor, Jack Date, and Pierre Thomas, from ABC News.

The 19-year-old who is accused of killing 17 people and injuring dozens more when he opened fire on a South Florida high school Wednesday afternoon told investigators that he heard voices in his head, giving him instructions on what to do to conduct the attack, law enforcement sources told ABC News.

The voices were described as "demons" by law enforcement sources.

Those who knew suspect Nikolas Cruz described him as a troubled teen who was largely alone in the world.
The obvious question is, Where were the parents in all this?  Dead, that's where.  Nikolas Cruz was originally an orphan.  His adoptive father died a few years back, and his adoptive mother passed away last Thanksgiving.  Cruz lived with a distant relative, but when that arrangement didn't work out he moved in with a classmate's family.  Cruz owner the AR-15 when he moved in, and the family had no objection to the gun ownership.  Realistically, Cruz didn't have anyone he could go and talk to about his troubles at school (he'd been expelled), his feelings of anger and depression, and most importantly the 'voices' in his head.

The solution here is to spend more money on quality mental health care, but that costs tax dollars that could be spent elsewhere, or that haven't been collected yet.  Given the popularity of new taxes or reallocating tax dollars from some fathead's pet project to the glamorous social service of mental health - this isn't going to happen.  It's much easier and cheaper to scream about gun control.

Then there's the inevitable fallout.  Check Florida School Shooting: 19-Year-Old Accused of Killing 17 is a 'Broken Child,' Lawyer Says from ABC News.
Since Wednesday's shooting, "copycat" threats were made at other schools, Broward Sheriff Scott Israel said at today’s news conference.

"We will respond to every threat. Every threat we receive, we will not classify it as a copycat or prank call,” Israel said at a news conference. “We will respond in full and investigate it.”

But “any call that is made fictitiously, any fake call, any call that is made to take out resources at a time like this and place them in places where we don't need to be, we will do the full power of the sheriff's office. We'll investigate this and charge anyone accordingly with the maximum charge we possibly could for doing something so horrific, so pathetic.”

One false alarm at a nearby school this morning was unfounded, the sheriff's office said, but while at the school, "a deputy accidentally discharged his gun and injured his leg."
This is ridiculous.

I'm a gun owner and a shooter, and I can count the number of accidental discharges I've ever had, in my entire life, on one hand.  One (1) accidental discharge.  I was shooting skeet, had my finger on the trigger and was about to yell 'pull', when, in a truly senior moment, I got my actions mixed up and shot the skeet house.  Then I yelled 'pull'.  Fortunately, I didn't nail the catapult.

The classic accidental discharge (AD) was performed by official idiot Lee Paige during an official firearms lecture.  According to Himself, he was the only one he knew of, in this room, who was professional enough to handle the Glock 40.  If you've never seen it, here's a link to the video accidental discharge by Lee Paige .

So in the middle of all this, with the commercial news media already salivating about gun control and safety issues, some boneheaded deputy has to torch one off and nail himself in the leg.  He probably took three weeks off the back of everyone's life who was standing within earshot.  I'd have his gun, badge, and pension for this little stunt.

From a practical standpoint, Cruz was an active shooter for seven minutes, and he chose to ditch his rifle and leave.  He didn't run out of ammo.  This incident could have been a lot worse than it was, but no one wants to talk about that.  Now the cops are busy giving the third degree questioning anyone who is foolish enough to admit to having some kind of contact with Cruz that day, trying (they claim) to piece together just what happened.  What the cops are really looking for is a likely accomplice, maybe even a second shooter.

People talk about arming the school teachers.  I'm reluctant to do that, unless the teachers who choose to carry a gun successfully complete some rigorous firearms training involving combat scenarios, and are required to re-qualify every year.  I'd also require these same school teachers to undergo a psychological interview to determine their mental stability.  Having several armed police at the school is a better idea.

All these ideas have several things in common.  All of them cost money, and none of them are going to be popular with the anti-freedom crowd.

It is now time for happy hour.  I'm not happy, but I'm having a drink anyway.


CWMartin said...

Great post. I have been saying this as well- I have a friend who claims you can link all of these shootings either to kids ON prescribed drugs or off them and they shouldn't be. I posted a comment thus on FB the other day, and a (now former) friend tried politicizing it, blaming all (as she always does) on the "Orange Mofo". When I suggested attaching a little true tolerance might help her thoughts be better received, I got a "how dare you not hate Trump as much as I do" lecture and she stomped out of my life yet again. I just said, fine, I have no time for people who have a hate that's more important than friendship anyway. Really wondering if the solution wouldn't be looney binning anyone with a Dem voter registration, but that might be a bit much...

Glen Filthie said...

There is no answer. It's always the same: some loon slips through the cracks, kills a bunch of people, the same idiots do the same blood dance and the same virtue signalling - and it will happen again in a couple months. If they can't get guns - they'll make bombs in the sink as they do in moslem countries. Or they'll fly airplanes into sky scrapers or drive trucks into crowds at public events.

Evil walks the earth.

Mad Jack said...

CW: We don't have enough room in the loony bin. I suppose we could send them to Egypt, or Mexico. But some of my friends are Mexican, so... Egypt. Behavior modification drugs are an easy solution for everyone except the consumer - that would be the child. Children have an excess of energy, and they need time to burn it off. They also need patience and encouragement from adults, which is almost always in short supply.

I also have a few 'friends' like your Trump hating acquaintance. There's nothing you can do about them except wait. I don't expect any of them to come around to our way of thinking, but they may eventually run out of energy - and turn to drugs.

Glen: I agree. What really bothers me is the blatant schadenfreude from the anti-freedom zealots. It seems they won't hesitate to sacrifice anyone or anything to further their goals.

CWMartin said...

" I don't expect any of them to come around to our way of thinking, but they may eventually run out of energy - and turn to drugs. " Thanks, that was a badly needed laugh!