The shooting at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida could have been prevented if…
If the recommendation of the School Resource Officer (SRO) (a deputized officer), since pilloried for failing to plunge immediately into the active shooting situation, plus the recommendations of two separate school counselors had been taken seriously back in September 2016, the terrible scene with that same student in the role of the “active shooter” might well have been made impossible. The SRO resigned from the Sheriff’s department following this tragedy amid accusations that he didn’t do his sworn duty at the time.
The SRO and the two counselors recommended, in September 2016 that Nikolas Cruz, the now accused shooter in the deaths of 14 students, be involuntarily committed for a mental evaluation. “He had written the word “kill” in his notebook, had told a classmate that he wanted to buy a gun and use it, and he had cut his arm in anger after his girlfriend broke up with him” according to a Sun Central report. This information came from a psychological assessment service, Henderson Behavioral Health, which was initiated by Cruz’ mother who obviously had seen and/or experienced his mental state and was very concerned about it.
Had he been involuntarily committed, he’d have experienced a barrier to his purchase of the AR-15 type weapon he used. That would’ve gone a long way toward having prevented this disaster from ever occurring. Had he been voluntarily committed, he might’ve been treated and might’ve regained sufficient mental stability to have avoided this entire situation.
So, Cruz is now facing a 34 count indictment for killing 17 and wounding another 17. If he is convicted, the death penalty would be in play. The public defender assigned to Cruz is recommending that he plead guilty thereby avoiding the death penalty.
This appears to be one of those examples of so many things which could’ve prevented this killing rage from taking those lives and wounding the others and of basically imprinting an image on the rest of those students that’ll never be outlived.
We may have not heard the end of this disaster yet, but it won’t change what could’ve been if this young man had been held to account somewhere along the road he walked to the point that he began pulling that trigger in what had to be a blind rage. (There was no ‘bump stock’ in place by all reports so that needs not be blamed.)
Frankly, this smacks of a cover-up at one or more levels. The school officials, in addition to the counselors, had to have been aware of the SRO’s report. The Sheriff had to be aware. The mother had to be aware that, at the least, her son had issues that required professional assessment and treatment.
So, several people along this path could’ve probably thwarted this tragedy, but through neglect or conscious decisions avoided getting involved for one or more reasons. The old saying about hindsight being 20/20 is true as it almost always proves to have been. But, there were a number of facts and actions that should’ve been taken together to indicate this young man had severe issues that needed treatment by professionals.
I feel certain that those who were tangentially involved, directly and indirectly, have torn themselves apart mentally for their roles in this tragedy. I can not imagine the lives they will lead from this point on. I suspect one or more might well be reported on in some future occurrence that might tie back to this tragedy whether or not we are aware of that.
In addition to individuals, there was certainly an institutional failure, as well. Intervention should’ve occurred at one or more levels. This is, again, not something to be blamed on the AR-15 type weapon. Safeguards exist but those were not engaged even though they existed. There were places along this route that should’ve resulted in the person being treated or incarcerated for his and our protection. Each of those steps failed for human reasons.