The Florida mass-murderer had a lot of problems: he was a “loner” (uh-oh, so was I!), and other kids thought he was “weird” (damn, that’s me again), and he’d also been treated in the past for mental health concerns (I was not, but there should be no stigma with getting help). Those all seem like irrelevant points to me, not associated with going on a shooting rampage, but there were other signs, which his foster family didn’t even notice.
Jim Lewis said the family is devastated and didn’t see this coming.
Maybe it’s because people don’t pay attention to the right signs. Like this one:
Victoria Olvera, a 17-year-old student, said Cruz was expelled last school year after a fight with his ex-girlfriend’s new boyfriend. She said Cruz had been abusive to his girlfriend.
“Abusive to women” — that one warrants a great big check mark in a large box at the top of the checklist. If you can’t respect one class of people, you’re probably already well-practiced at dehumanization and lack empathy.
He was in a fight so severe that he was expelled from school? There’s another sign, a propensity for violence. Unfortunately, once you’re kicked out of school, there isn’t a fallback institution where this kid’s problems could be corrected.
What else might have been a concern?
According to the family’s lawyer, who did not identify them, they knew that Cruz owned an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle, but made him keep it locked up in a cabinet. He did have the key, however.
Teenagers do not need an AR-15. I can sympathize with someone enjoys target shooting or hunting, although I don’t do either, but that’s a weapon that’s not particular good for either hobby. It’s good for stroking while you have bloody power fantasies.
Mutchler recalled Cruz posting on Instagram about killing animals and said he had talked about doing target practice in his backyard with a pellet gun.
Target practice with a pellet gun? Fine. Killing animals? Bright red flashing lights and a siren going off.
“He started going after one of my friends, threatening her, and I cut him off from there,” Mutchler said.
“Threatening people” is one of those things that has been treated as perfectly fine on the internet — it’s just free speech, man, you know you can’t say anything against free speech. Unless you threaten to kill the president, of course. Then for some reason they’ll think you might be a real danger to an Important Person, so they investigate further and open a file on you. Threaten an ordinary citizen…well, suck it up, ignore it, even if he does have an AR-15 and instagrams photos of dead animals and has a history of physical abuse.
“There were problems with him last year threatening students, and I guess he was asked to leave campus,” Gard said.
The parents, the school administrators, his peers, they all saw it coming. They knew this kid was a powder keg ready to go off. But you don’t get to condemn guns or abuse of women as a serious warning sign — those things are OK in this culture — so they did nothing.
Well, they did nothing except abandon the kid to his own devices, where he festered and got worse. Let’s see a stronger, more active response to dangerous people than neglect.
And let’s take their damn guns away.