Op-Ed: Florida School Shooting

Jake Amato, Staff Writer

On Wednesday, February 14th, a 19-year-old boy named Nikolas Cruz took an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle and shot and killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High school in Parkland, Florida; he also wounded another 14. Authorities said that the suspect had a clear plan on how to hurt and/or kill as many people as possible; he pulled the fire alarm to get everyone in the hallways, and he was also equipped with smoke grenades and a gas mask.

Sadly, this is yet another tragic event that could have been avoided. Cruz had problems and issues a long time before the school shooting actually occurred; he had a history of violent behavior. According to Jim Gard, a teacher at the high school who taught Cruz, he “ wasn’t allowed on campus with a backpack on him.” The FBI received a tip in 2017 that a comment had been posted on Youtube. According to authorities, the comment specifically stated, “I’m going to be a professional school shooter.” They investigated but the post did not have a time or a location and they could not figure out who posted the comment. They did find that the username under the comment was “nikolas cruz.” This post clearly should have been taken more seriously and something should have been done in order to stop this event from happening. There is clearly a chance this could have been avoided if authorities listened to the many warnings they received and if Nikolas Cruz was able to receive the help he needed before it was too late. Over the past few years, Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel’s office “had received about 20 calls for service regarding Cruz and his younger brother.” For a long time people tried to get Cruz help and to warn authorities about the threat he posed. Cruz had a long history of trouble and the events that took place could have possibly been avoided if authorities took action before it was too late. This could have and should have been stopped; action needs to be taken to address and properly deal with individuals with a past history of violence or other issues that would make them dangerous to others, especially with a firearm.

This event is just another reason that action should be taken in order to control the the amount and types of guns that people may own. People who are trying to get weapons should be checked and examined thoroughly to make sure they are capable of owning a firearm and not committing any horrible acts with it. The age people are allowed to buy weapons is way too young as well; it should be raised to at least 21 years of age to ensure that people are at least a little bit more mature and capable of owning weapons. There are some people who should simply not be trusted with a weapon. How long will it take for us to learn this lesson?