Florida’s School “Gun Free Zone” No Deterrent to Crazy Nikolas Cruz

Feb.16, 2018
by Bob Adelmann

There is no doubt that Nickolas Cruz is crazy. And there’s no doubt that the FBI and the officials at the school he attacked on Wednesday knew it. Cruz left abundant clues about his mental instability: gruesome pictures he published on social media of animals that he had brutally killed; claims that he wrote “Allahu Akbar” on Instagram; revelations that the FBI knew of his erratic behavior months ago when it was reported to them by one of Cruz’s classmates; that he was expelled last year from the same school he attacked for “disciplinary” reasons; classmates being intimidated by him and avoiding contact with him because he was “weird” and a “loner”; and so forth.

But when it came to target selection, Cruz knew exactly what he was doing. A former student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, Cruz was familiar with all the protections put in place to keep shooters like him out: the cameras, the metal detectors, even the police cruisers that were parked outside every school day. He knew that under Florida law no one inside would have a firearm to defend himself so he was confident that no one would be able to return fire.

Crazy or not, Cruz planned the attack carefully. He entered the building near the end of the class day on Wednesday wearing a gas mask and armed with smoke grenades and firearms. He set the grenades off and then triggered the fire alarm system, which sent students scurrying into the halls where Cruz picked them off one by one with his rifle.

Twelve of the people he shot were found dead inside the school building, while two others were killed just outside and another one on a street near the school. In all, Cruz murdered 17 and wounded dozens more.

He wasn’t found and arrested until nearly two hours later as he left the building and deliberately blended into the crowd of fleeing students. Surveillance cameras later picked him out of the crowd and he was discovered, arrested, and taken into custody about two miles away from the school.

Does this sound like a crazy person? Or just someone evil (as the Florida governor called him) taking advantage of an opportunity? According to two scholars, Cruz wasn’t acting crazy in picking the school that expelled him last year, just being eminently logical. Wrote David Hemenway, a public health researcher in Harvard: “I suspect that most places that mass public shootings could logically occur are ‘gun-free zones’ either determined by the government (schools) or by private businesses and institutions.”

John Lott, the author of The War on Guns, agrees: “Mass public shooters avoid places where victims can defend themselves.”

If Cruz isn’t crazy, then who is? Is it the president of the United States, who, after tweeting that there were “so many signs that the Florida shooter was mentally disturbed” added that the solution is to “report such instances to authorities, again and again!” Even with police cruisers in the school’s parking lot, officers couldn’t get to Cruz in time to stop him from killing 17 students and wounding dozens more. Why, they weren’t able even to find Cruz for an hour and a half as he had hidden himself in the crowd of students leaving the building. The FBI knew about Cruz months ago. The school officials knew he was trouble a year before.

The students knew Cruz was crazy. One of Cruz’s former classmates, Matthew Walker, told a local television station that he “knew 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. It turns out that everyone predicted it. That’s crazy.”

Some of the school’s teachers knew Cruz was a problem and a danger, including his former math teacher, Jim Gard. Gard told the Miami Herald last year that Cruz “wasn’t allowed on campus with a backpack on him. There were problems with him last year threatening students and … he was asked to leave campus.”

Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel offered his solution:

If you are on a website and you know something or you’ve seen something, you see a person with rifles and weaponry, and you see something that’s not right, you owe it to your family, you owe it to your community and you owe it to law enforcement to make this a safer nation by calling up someone tonight.

Call up the FBI, call up the Broward Sheriff’s Office, call up someone tonight and let them know that you have information that something’s not right. You can prevent a major tragedy like this devastation that happened in Parkland tonight.

So the solution appears to consist of turning every student into a snitch whenever strange – definition yet to be defined – behavior is observed. Big Brother here we come! Isn’t this crazy?

What about the Florida legislators who had a chance to rectify this situation a year ago, but declined to do so? State Senator Dennis Baxley and Rep. Don Hahnfedit offered a bill last February to nix restrictions on where permit-holders can carry concealed weapons. If it passed it would have allowed them to carry in various places such as jails, police stations, courthouses, polling places, airports and – of course – schools. Baxley called those so-called “gun free zones” an “illusion,” adding that “perpetrators of violence do not care what your rules are … this bill [would eliminate] the sterile target we have created with noble intentions.”

Those legislators made sure this bill never saw the light of day. Aren’t they the ones who are crazy? It all depends on your definition. 



FoxNews.com: Florida lawmakers propose eliminating 'gun-free zones'

John Lott’s The War on Guns

The Wall Street Journal: Several Fatalities Reported in Florida School Shooting; Suspect Caught

The Wall Street Journal: 17 Dead in Florida School Shooting; Suspect Caught

MarketWatch.com: Opinion: More security measures won’t stop mass shootings in schools

DailyMail.co.uk: REVEALED: Expelled gunman in gas mask and armed with smoke grenades 'SET OFF fire alarm…

Miami.cbslocal.com: Florida Shooting: Suspect In Custody, At Least 17 Dead


LATimes: Florida teen charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder in high school shooting; Trump calls for public vigilance

FoxNews.com: Nikolas Cruz: A portrait of suspected Florida high school gunman who shot and killed 17 people

Background on the school

The school is a gun-free zone

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