Florida Failed Nikolas Cruz


Throughout the motions of life, there will always be horrible scenes or incidents. Sadly society has become somewhat desensitized to many violent issues. However, what is remarkable is how on one hand society desires to create safe spaces or concerns yet, on the other hand, responds in a manner no different than witch hunters or extreme disciplinarians. There is no desire within American culture to remedy violent behavior or mental illness except allowing law enforcement to silence particular crimes.

It is as if mental health physicians and specialists are utilized after the fact rather than proactive. For example, a typical American social worker is usually summonsed during a crisis rather than before the crisis. In Europe social workers are a part of the norm rather than a stigma, usually based in America, to react to issues.

The recent shooting by Nikolas Cruz in a Florida school was perhaps the most tragic since the Columbine school shootings. However, what did we learn from the Columbine shootings? In 18 years since the Columbine shootings and five years since the Sandy Hook Elementary school shootings, we have not learned or implemented a single act towards mental health reforms or gun safety.

In each of the massacres, the perpetrator was a loner, ostracized, volatile, and experiencing some form of trauma. To make matters worse, there was at least a minimum level of raised awareness that intervention or red flags should be implemented for the safety of themselves and others. Very little, if anything, was done. Instead, the focus is to shift into this witch hunting mode to place all the burden on the wrongdoer and label them in the descriptive text as a monster, assassin, disturbed, or other labels as the lowest form of humanity. The most interesting part about this is that these same words were perhaps used before crimes yet nothing was executed to help remedy a foreseeable tragedy from occurring.

While it may be true, we should be responsible for our actions it should be indicative that we may want to become advocates towards facilitating better actions. There is no need to criminalize our intent. Instead, to become better at identifying potential threats we must learn to become proactive whereas not to create further harm. Society must stop becoming a lynch mob during a crisis and learn to become facilitators and advocates of mental awareness.

Mr. Cruz is a young man with a very troubled past. Being placed up for adoption only to have his newly adoptive parents die separately during his youth perpetuate the band-aid effect we place upon youth. If we spent more money on mental health rather than the end of year testing, we might see some better outcomes in our educational system. What Mr. Cruz did was heinous but inexcusable. However, it is my observation that Mr. Cruz was not in a clear mental focus to make any reasonable judgment. For that, the people of Florida failed Mr. Cruz and the students that were involved in the school shooting. It is a loss for both sides of the issue.

Author: Dwayne Daughtry

“You’re punching, and you’re kicking, ​and you’re shouting at me / I’m relying on your common decency?" I tried to become vegan (it was the worst 6 hours of my life), Registered Lobbyist, Legislative Consultant, Blogging Columnist, Army veteran, Arizona State alum | B.A. Organizational Leadership | M.S. Political Science | Ph.D. student Public Policy

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