February 14th, 2018

School shooting in Florida: 17 dead

Another terrible act of violence, this time at a high school in Parkland, Florida. Today’s shooter did not kill himself, however. He’s now in police custody:

The shooting suspect was identified as Nikolaus Cruz, a U.S. official told The Associated Press…

Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said the suspect was taken into custody “without incident” and was “not a current student” at the school…

High school junior Noah Parness, 17, told The Associated Press that the fire alarm went off for the second time of the day about 2:30 p.m. He said he and others calmly went outside for a fire drill when he suddenly heard several pops.

I’m not finding many details yet. As usual, there is a certain fog that descends, and misinformation is often rampant.

The shooter appears to have been a student there at some point in the past:

According to other students, Cruz was the subject of jokes from other kids. A student told WFOR-TV that other students “knew it was going to be him.”

“A lot of people were saying it was going to be him. A lot of kids threw jokes around saying that he was going to be the one to shoot up the school,” the student said. “It turns out that everyone predicted it. That’s crazy.”

Seventeen-year-old junior Matthew Walker spoke to ABC News, saying Cruz was known to show off knives and guns on his social media accounts.

“He was going class to class just shooting at random kids,” he said. “Everything he posts [on social media] is about weapons. It’s sick.”

If that was true, who among the teachers and administration were aware of all of this? What interventions were tried with this young man? Is there anything that might have been done differently and more effectively? Each time there’s an incident such as this, I’ve written about those issues in the aftermath, and although each situation is different the remedies are rarely clear—although politicians try to make use of the tragedy to advance their own simplistic agendas.

RIP to all the students who came to school this morning expecting a normal day, and instead became victims of a violent killer.

44 Responses to “School shooting in Florida: 17 dead”

  1. OldTexan Says:

    Some grown ups, teachers and other staff should have Concealed Carry License’ and be carrying. Short and sweet, I became complacent when I moved to a town a short distance from San Antonio, it couldn’t happen here but it did on the other side of the city and now I carry when I go to church, along with a handful of other people.

    This is so sad and perhaps as we get more information we will know if there were signals that would warrant and intervention.

  2. GRA Says:

    >If that was true, who among the teachers and administration were aware of all of this? What interventions were tried with this young man? Is there anything that might have been done differently and more effectively?

    This is where school social workers and other mental health professionals come in with aid from teachers. There should be a “if something looks suspicious” sign around schools to let students give a heads up to the admin and staff … This could’ve been prevented.

  3. neo-neocon Says:


    Except perhaps they had already done that. Perhaps that is why he no longer attended school. You can’t lock him up until he commits an offense. You don’t have enough information to conclude whether this could have been prevented.

  4. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    Liberal/leftist politicians and gun control activists are acting in the usual predictable manner.

    But the problem isn’t taking seriously enough ‘warning signs’.

    It’s not accidental that none of this was going on when we baby boomers were growing up. It’s entirely relevant that prior generations were far more moral than have been the generations starting with the baby boomers. These killings are indicative of the progressive moral decay of subsequent American generations.

    The proof that this societal problem is a moral one is that when we baby boomers were growing up a higher proportion of the public were gun owners than are today, yet mass killings were so rare as to be essentially unheard of…

    ‘If there is no God, then everything [even the morally appalling] is permissible…’

  5. John Guilfoyle Says:

    I’m wondering about the kid’s meds…
    Was he taking SSRis? Was he on meth? “Both?”

    I’m curious about the parents too…where are they? What did they know & what have they been doing?

    Too early in the piece for anything but lots of questions & prayers for the victims & their families.

  6. Frederick Says:

    Once had a student (college) whose behavior was increasingly bizarre, to the point that his roommates approached me after class with their concerns. No one thought he was dangerous but he had a diagnosed condition for which he was not taking his prescribed medication.

    I told them there were procedures which I could invoke, but once I started them it would be out of my hands. They said they were sure it was a good idea.

    I was assured by the university that they would work with the student to see that he had everything he needed. He did clear himself up and did go on to graduate. Sometimes the system works.

  7. Irv Says:

    What is broken in our society is the family structure, the destruction of which was begun with the advent of Johnson’s Great Society.

    They destroyed the minority and welfare family structures by driving men out of the home in order to collect assistance. Then they put half of the country on some type of government assistance which completed the destruction of the family system in the underclass.

    To borrow a phrase from author Philip Wylie, we have been, for some time, raising a Generation of Vipers; children raised without any male influence in their upbringing. (I highly recommend Wylie’s ‘Generation of Vipers’ published in 1942 when a substantial portion of the men had gone away to war.)

    Until we find a way to repair the family structure things will continue to get worse. I hope we find a way before we pass the point of no return, if we haven’t already.

  8. Frog Says:

    Geoffrey is absolutely right.
    None of this occurred when I was young (!950s). My highly educated parents and all neighbors thought nothing of my 8 year-old brother and 11 year-old me going for long horseback rides on the dusty rural roads of eastern Bexar County, TX. The AFB began a riding school for officers’ kids. My dad was a civilian employee but I was enrolled. And a rear gate was unlocked(!!) for me every week to let me and my horse slip in from home two miles away.

    We have given away, thrown away so very very much, and what do we have to show for it? We now have chronically broken spirits, grief counselors, therapists of all stripes (massage, yoga, equine!), lap dogs on anti-anxiety pills, and are all of us the worse off for it. Even if you “see something, say something”, nothing happens; that is the Cruz story.

    Cringing Collectivism is a poor substitute for Individual Responsibility.

  9. huxley Says:

    I don’t wish to contradict anyone but American school mass murders go back further than the 1950s and didn’t necessarily involve guns or young males.

    The Bath School disaster, sometimes known as the Bath School massacre, was a series of violent attacks perpetrated by Andrew Kehoe on May 18, 1927 in Bath Township, Michigan, which killed 38 elementary schoolchildren and six adults and injured at least 58 other people.[Note 1] Kehoe killed his wife and firebombed his farm, then detonated an explosion in the Bath Consolidated School before committing suicide by detonating a final device in his truck.

    Andrew Kehoe was the 55-year-old school board treasurer and was angered by increased taxes and his defeat in the Spring 1926 election for township clerk.


  10. charles Says:

    We all know that someone, somewhere, in the news media will be blaming Trump for this.

  11. Griffin Says:

    I think with age, selective memory and massive access to information it becomes easy to fall into the trap of ‘not in my day’ kind of thinking. As Huxley stated these kinds of things have been happening for a long long time. Perhaps they may be happening more often but I’m not even sure about that because now we here all about each incident in detail where as in the past some incident a thousand miles away may not even make it on our radar.

  12. neo-neocon Says:

    Past vs. present school shootings: see this. That chart, of course, leaves out Kehoe, who was a mass bomber. I wrote about Kehoe previously, here.

    Here’s a chart about mass shootings in general. And this chart covers school shooting from 1992 on; in those years there does not seem to have been an increase over time.

  13. The Other Chuck Says:

    You can’t lock him up until he commits an offense.

    There was a time not long ago when an insane person was locked up before he killed 17 people. Compulsory commitment is still possible but requires a diagnosis that medication and outpatient treatment is inadequate, and it’s usually short term.

    Since the 1960 publication of Thomas Szasz’ The Myth of Mental Illness, state run mental hospitals have been closing. Ronald Reagan, who was influenced by Szasz, is always cited as the first to empty them while he was California Governor. The libertarian thinking was that the evils of state meddling in mental “illness” outweighed any benefit to society. We can now see the results – in the thousands of schizophrenics and manic depressives living under bridges, on the streets, and in homeless camps – and in the 36 school shootings since 1988 linked to outpatient mental patients on medication but not locked up. It would be interesting to compare the number of school shootings prior to Szasz influence to those since. I’d bet on a huge increase.

    Here is an excellent overview of the pseudo-science of psychiatry in The Federalist by Reagan’s Director of Personnel Management. It’s a book review of Tom Burn’s Our Necessary Shadow: The Nature and Meaning of Psychiatry:


  14. neo-neocon Says:

    The Other Chuck:

    But Cruz was not insane. He had behavioral and emotional problems, but even under the definitions that prevailed in the pre-Szasz days he was not insane and would almost certainly not have been locked up..

    He also was 19, fairly old and not a juvenile. Read about his history here and here. He was attending a school for “at risk” teens. He had been adopted, but his adoptive father had died of a heart attack when Cruz was around 6, and his adoptive mother died last November—of the flu. Since then, Cruz had been living with another family who had offered to take him in.

    Very troubled person, clearly, and very dangerous. He had received help off and on but it didn’t seem to do him much good, and he currently wasn’t under treatment. But he had done nothing that would have gotten him put in an asylum way back when, nor jail.

    A terrible situation all around.

    By the way, if you want to read my previous post about Szasz, go here.

  15. huxley Says:

    It’s a tough problem. As a young person in the sixties I was persuaded by Szasz and R.D. Laing that crazy people weren’t necessarily CRAZY but misunderstood and what else could you expect in a civilization which was killing people in the millions and millions and might finish the job with nuclear weapons.

    That joke was on me when I came close to signing papers to give my mother electroshock treatments after she started seeing young men in white vans following her everywhere and believing her landlord was pumping LSD into the air she breathed.

    My mother was smart enough to figure out she couldn’t say stuff like that openly anymore, so she got out of the locked ward, but she didn’t get better.

  16. bob sykes Says:

    A typical Chicago weekend. But, avert your gaze.

  17. physicsguy Says:

    Well, the FBI knew about him, but the tip disappeared down the black hole of bureaucracy and 17 people ended up dead:


  18. Chris B Says:

    Something I’ve often wondered but never seen addressed, is how many of these young male shooters were addicted to violent video games?

    Some of the video games out there are incredibly violent and realistic, and I can imagine that certain unstable individuals might be tempted to act them out in real life.

  19. The Other Chuck Says:

    But Cruz was not insane.

    And by current definitions neither was the Texas church shooter, although he had a well documented history from which any rational person would conclude insanity. I’m guessing but in Cruz’ case the fact that he lost his mother about six months ago probably had a bearing on his out of control rampage. If his classmates could see how wacko he was, then surely his mother could and should have long ago tried to get him into treatment. If she didn’t it is more than likely that she was trying to handle the situation herself to avoid misplaced shame.

    What is the dividing line between emotional/behavioral problems and insanity? Surely killing 17 innocent children crosses that line.

  20. The Other Chuck Says:


    I wasn’t aware that Szasz was embraced by liberals, but he was certainly a big influence on libertarians and Rand’s Objectivists. (Ending up in Ann Coulter’s camp makes me want to rethink the whole thing.)

  21. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    This chart in the second link neo provides above clearly shows the increased frequency in mass shootings. And the timing closely matches my assertion that the overall moral turpitude of the public has declined since the baby boomers attained adulthood.

    So yes, while there have long been mass murderers, the percentage of them has substantially increased. I believe that increased percentage to be indicative of a societal problem.

  22. Dave Says:

    It’s easier to blame the gun for the death than hold an individual accountable. banning guns to liberals is a lot easier than provide help to those with mental problems. Liberals love to rage propose some new legislation that will solve no problems just to posture as someone with great compassion.

    The best solution is to simply ban guns from criminals who are about to use guns to commit crimes, but liberals also oppose denying people a certain rights due to their mental health histories or other factors which renders banning guns from criminals exclusively impossible so they will only propose denying gun rights from everyone, which conveniently align with what they want, further diminish individual’s power against the authority and make the government even more powerful.

  23. TommyJay Says:

    We know that Cruz had received mental health treatment for a while and had quit for some period of time prior to the shooting.

    Likely conjecture: He probably was taking psychoactive drugs and then quit taking them.

    If those drugs were SSRI’s then there is a documented side effect of suicide ideation for people under the age of 25, sometimes while taking the drug but more often when the drug use stops.

    But our officials and politicians are seemingly not allowed to talk about these dangerous drugs. Years later we know the Aurora movie theater shooter was subjected to these drugs.

    There were supposed to be two armed cops on this school campus at all times. Haven’t heard what they were doing or did. Seems like the campus and building is huge, so two cops isn’t much.

    In CA, one has to be 21 to buy a handgun but only 18 to buy a rifle. The logic is that handguns are much more prone accidental injuries because of their small size, and also more apt to used in robberies or assaults, again because of size and crime statistics.

    So it wouldn’t be crazy to single out AR-15’s for an age requirement of 21, now that it seems to be the preferred weapon of the spree killer. Although the Ruger 10/22, a kid’s hunting rifle, was used in the Cascade mall shooting and was used in a San Diego school shooting decades ago.

    Then there is the crack team of FBI agents who had some advanced warning about this kid. Sheesh!

  24. Geoffrey Britain Says:


    “The best solution is to simply ban guns from criminals who are about to use guns to commit crime”

    Good luck with banning guns from criminals…

    A better solution might be to implement the death penalty for possession of a gun during the commission of a crime. The rationale being that the presence of a gun presupposes the willingness to use it and since a gun’s sole purpose is to kill, the criminal has demonstrated a unilateral disregard for their victim’s “inalienable right to life” resulting in the voluntary forfeiture of their right to life… since logically, one cannot insist upon an “inalienable right” that one denies to others.

  25. mezzrow Says:

    The shooter’s sole remaining parent dies in November. He has been expelled from school. He has exhibited serious problems with verbal expressions of violence and fetishizes weapons.


    Is there a real problem here? Of course there is. Will the “solutions” we hear in the aftermath of this carnage stop this from happening in future? Unlikely. These solutions are more about “making a difference” than solving a solvable problem. All the benefit accrues to those who call for universal disarmament, not the victims of the gunman.

    The only way to enforce the solution we hear proffered is to eradicate the weapons through armed force, via a more totalitarian state. Door to door. The prospect makes the mouth water, for many.

    “Here’s our chance…” Never let an opportunity go to waste.

  26. huxley Says:

    I wasn’t aware that Szasz was embraced by liberals, but he was certainly a big influence on libertarians and Rand’s Objectivists.

    The Other Chuck: In the 1970s hippies and liberals leaning towards the counterculture embraced Szasz and R.D. Laing.

    Mark Vonnegut (son of Kurt V.) went crazy on a commune and his friends and family only took him to a hospital as the very last resort. After much treatment Mark V. recovered and wrote an article humorously titled, “Why I Want to Bite R.D. Laing’s Leg.”

    Later he managed to get into medical school, Harvard no less, and has had a long and productive career as a pediatrician. Nonetheless, years later he went crazy again and recovered again.

    His memoirs, “The Eden Express” and “Just Like Someone Without Mental Illness Only More So,” are excellent.

  27. Frederick Says:

    @Geoffrey Britain:This chart in the second link neo provides above clearly shows the increased frequency in mass shootings

    It shows no such thing. By my count, the graph shows:

    1960 – 1970: 13 shootings
    1970 – 1980: 16 shootings
    1980 – 1990: 16 shootings
    1990 – 2000: 22 shootings
    2000 – 2010: 18 shootings

    Within the statistical uncertainty (which is between 4 and 5 for each decade), that’s no change in count in 50 years. Especially considering how much the population has grown, that graph shows a large decrease in the probability of a shooting.

    Perhaps the shootings are more severe in that time, I haven’t patience to try to estimate and add up the casualties and I do not have the raw data. But our population in 1960 was 180 million and it was 309 million in 2010; I don’t think you can make the case from the graph that the severity is 1.7 times higher.

  28. Ray Says:

    I live in Virginia and the sons of a friend went to high school with the Virginia Tech shooter. He said that everybody knew that Cho was crazy and he frightened people, but there was nothing the authorities could do until he harmed himself or somebody. When he finally harmed somebody it was a mass shooting.

  29. Dave Says:

    despite having probably the greatest human rights conditions in the history of mankind, America continues to be harshly criticized by liberals just for being not perfect. However, sh*thole countries with atrocious human rights conditions continuous to get a pass from the liberals and sometimes being praised for in the case of Haiti because according to liberals that’s the way they are and non white countries can’t be criticized or the person criticizing is the racist.

    I do not understand the logic behind it, it is like saying we need to harshly criticize a good husband just because he forgot the anniversary this year but give a pass to a wife beater and let him continue to beat his wife without intervention because that is the way he is.

  30. Manju Says:

    @ Frederick and Geoffrey Britain:

    The chart that shows an increase does not appear to be adjusted for population.

    Here’s what an adjusted chart looks like. As we can see, on a per capita basis, violent crime has been going down since around 1980. Ditto for property crimes.

    I understand we are talking about mass shootings here, but its always good to know the forest from the trees. Beware of cherry-pickers hellbent on demonstrating an American Carnage.

  31. TomR Says:

    … clearly shows the increased frequency in mass shootings

    It shows no such thing. … [counts shootings]

    But not all shootings are “mass shootings”. There has to be more than one victim for it to be a “mass shooting”. According to Wikipedia, there is no broadly accepted definition, but it then goes on to suggest “four or more people [killed] selected indiscriminately” or “five or more [casualties]”.

    If we take the latter definition, then, based on that graph, the total count from 1900 through 1965 is 1 mass (school) shooting. After 1965 there are lots more. Clearly something has changed.

  32. Richard Aubrey Says:

    Muslim terrorists think trucks and SUVs are pretty handy. When my kids were in high school, there was usually about a hundred of them between the buses and the front door for about ten minutes during loading and unloading time.
    The gate at the football field had maybe a hundred people in the process of waiting to go through into the bleachers.
    In an elementary school, Lanza could have done his horrid work with a hatchet.

  33. J.J. Says:

    There have been two mass shootings in my bucolic rural area since 2008. Both perps were mentally ill. Both had parents who had begged the police and other social institutions for help. So, both perps were “known wolves.” Like the case with Cruz many people recognized these young men as bombs that would explode at some point. Unfortunately, there is no established procedure for dealing with these dangerous, mentally ill people. The police and medical authorities don’t want to get involved. IMO, that needs to change. It’s a tough issue, but we can’t keep ignoring it.

  34. Ymar Sakar Says:

    Relying on the authorities to deal with local community problems is why you humans are considered livestock.

  35. The Other Chuck Says:


    I read Szasz ,The Myth of Mental Illness, back during my college years and briefly swallowed his argument, until finding Ellis who was more of a fit following my Rand worship phase. Cognitive rational therapy was perfect for a kid trying to find order, and escape from a chaotic upbringing. I haven’t delved all that much into Peterson’s treatment methods but did note the similarity to Ellis. Peterson says, clean up your room, and Ellis said, pull up your socks!

    The Mark Vonnegut story is fascinating. His books look interesting. Thanks for pointing them out.

  36. neo-neocon Says:

    huxley, The Other Chuck:

    I read The Eden Express back when it first came out and remember liking it. I don’t remember much about it, though, except that I recall thinking that the author fit into a subset of schizophrenics I’d learned about in Abnormal Psych who tended to have a good prognosis: normal pre-morbid personality and rapid onset of schizophrenia.

    Szasz I also liked at the time, but I think that while his movement did some good it also did a great deal of harm. It appealed to the libertarian in me, though, although at the time I didn’t even know that word.

  37. AesopFan Says:


    There Were Three School Shootings This Year, Not 18. That’s Still Too Many. by JIBRAN KHAN February 15, 2018 5:29 PM

    Any number of school shootings is too many. And, at this time when we are so rightly hurting at yesterday’s brutality in Parkland, Fla., a sensationalist report has gone viral, claiming that there have been 18 such acts this year alone. The factoid has been promoted by countless major media and political figures, as well as by celebrities. Indeed, such a number would mean an unprecedented crisis. But it’s not true.

    The original source of the figure is Mike Bloomberg’s gun-control advocacy organization, Everytown for Gun Safety. The organization arrives at the figure by defining a “school shooting” as any time a gun is fired at or near a school, college, or university, regardless of whether students are present or anyone is injured. In fact, if one counts only events where a shooter enters a school and shoots someone, there have been three school shootings, including yesterday’s. (The other spree shooting was in Kentucky and a murder happened at a school in Texas.) …
    While such acts are obviously cause for concern in their own right, all that conflating these incidents with “school shootings” does is to create a climate of terror.

    Suicide and violent crime are very real social problems, but they are not the same thing as school shootings.

    Yesterday’s events are horrific enough on their own. There’s no need to amplify them by manipulating the public with falsehoods.

    * * *
    With Bloomberg et al., amplifying events with falsehoods is a feature, not a bug.

  38. AesopFan Says:

    PowerLine covers a lot of points made here, but this is worth noting:
    “5. Along those lines, Nikolas Cruz was reported to the FBI after he commented on a YouTube video by saying that he was going to be a school shooter. To his credit, the guy who produced the video saw Cruz’s comment and contacted the FBI. The FBI interviewed him, but did nothing, reportedly because they weren’t able to find Nikolas Cruz, even though he used his real name in the comment.

    This probably isn’t the time for snark, but it is hard to resist observing that the FBI should spend less time trying to bring down a president who is not of the same party as the Bureau’s political leadership, and more time trying to prevent mass murder.”

  39. huxley Says:

    The Other Chuck, neo:

    I found R.D. Laing’s “The Politics of Experience” on a paperback bookrack at the ripe old age of 16. It shattered me:

    Society highly values its normal man. It educates children to lose themselves and to become absurd, and thus to be normal. Normal men have killed perhaps 100,000,000 of their fellow normal men in the last fifty years.

    That resonated. I was deeply alienated from the so-called normality of family, school and church. Just about all adults I knew struck me as fools or knaves or both, to use neo’s terms. I didn’t see a clear future ahead.

    Laing springboarded from there to a defense of insanity and altered states of consciousness as possible solutions, which fit in well with the percolating drug romanticism of the time.

    So I took to the Szasz/Laing anti-psychiatry movement like a duck to water.

    I ended up at an experimental college where one group of students took over a dorm for communal living and named it “Kingsley Hall” after Laing’s communal London experiment where staff and mental patients lived as equals. The real Kingsely Hall lasted longer than one might think — five years.


    Later I became part of a commune with ambitions to become an intentional therapeutic community to take in mental patients and heal them with equality and craft work.

  40. huxley Says:

    If only it were that simple.

    Since then I have seen enough mental illness up close and personal to know how intractable mental illness is.

    Mark Vonnegut’s recovery was impressive but, as neo notes, he fit the profile of a minority with better prospects.

    In his second memoir Vonnegut admits the voices he heard in his head never really went away.

  41. Ymar Sakar Says:

    The voices are what people hear that tell them to jump to an erroneous rage filled conclusion based upon the false flag operations causing fear and despair.

    Humans are easy to manipulate. The smarter and saner they think they are, the more vulnerable they are.

    This happens more often than people wish to believe. On an internet comment zone, like this one, somebody will say/write something and it will be taken 180 degrees from the origin source. This usually causes dissent, conflict, and confusion. Humans cannot even pretend to control their own emotions and psycho pathetic behaviors. Even when nothing is on the line for them personally, financially, and etc. When it comes to putting their lives on the line, they will crumble before the might of the DS.

    They aren’t really listening.

  42. Ymar Sakar Says:

    This probably isn’t the time for snark, but it is hard to resist observing that the FBI should spend less time trying to bring down a president who is not of the same party as the Bureau’s political leadership, and more time trying to prevent mass murder.

    The FBI and others were likely ordered to “stand down” on certain internal security matters. The same reason why JFK didn’t have his SS guards along the car.

    Stand down orders are a convenient tool. Police unions used it to order the police to stand down and let Antifa rape, murder, pillage. Shrugs, no skin off their flesh. ALlies help allies.

    Benghazi, the US military African command said to the various CIA ready teams and military forces “stand down, let them die”.

    Am I stupid enough to believe that this was merely coincidence, sorta like the Tea Party getting strategically knee capped by the IRS?

  43. neo-neocon Says:

    Ymar sakar:

    I know that you have often discussed your ideas about the Kennedy assassination, and we disagree profoundly. I doubt this will change your mind about anything, but I very much suggest you read Vincent Bugliosi’s tome on the subject, Reclaiming History. (See this and this.)

    As for the reason the Secret Service was not on Kennedy’s car’s running board, see this.

    I assume you reject Bugliosi’s voluminous, comprehensive, meticulous research on the subject, but I find it extremely convincing.

  44. Mrs Whatsit Says:

    Gracious, there are some weird spam comments on that old Szasz post of yours, Neo! They’re found poetry, with the logic of dreams.

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