Evil acted in Parkland, Florida, and left behind death, mayhem, and horribly devastated lives. We grieve with the families affected, and pray they can rebuild their lives around the void that will always be there.
We must all be vigilant against evil, at all times, and report to appropriate authorities anything indicative of planned mayhem.
But when the authorities fail, are we obligated to make ourselves helpless? Are we to leave ourselves and our children to be sacrificed to a flawed ideology of utopian "if only?" In this incident there were so many failures on the part of the "appropriate authorities" and these must be addressed.
- The FBI failed, twice, to act on credible reports of someone planning mass murder. The second report, on January 5th, warned specifically that Cruz was "going to explode." The tipster provided links to Instagram accounts showing photos of animals killed, along with knives and guns.
- Broward County failed, after an astounding thirty-nine times of being called to the house for various "domestic disturbances," to get this family help. They filed reports instead, their duty done.
- The Parkland school system failed. Their internal systems prohibited reporting to police of problems in the school.
- Florida's Dept of Children and Families ignored red flags in Cruz's history.
- Worst of all, FOUR officers from the Broward County Sheriff's Office hid (with their own guns) behind cars OUTSIDE the school while Cruz was on his killing spree. They did not enter the school until police officers from Coral Springs arrived and shamed them into acting. But by then the carnage was over. Those officers will not face harsh punishment; several Supreme Court decisions have noted that police have NO requirement to protect the public. They are required to investigate and try to find perpetrators after the fact.
Unknown in this specific instance - but a factor in far too many incidents - is SSRI drugs in young adults. Several studies have shown they have NO affect on depression in those under age 24, but DOUBLE the risk of violent criminal acts in that age group - and increase the risk of suicide between 2.5 and 5 times.
ALL of these are areas for appropriate action.
- FBI: needs to face its failures and take these reports seriously.
- Police: when repeatedly called for domestic incidents, and the family is already involved with the DCF, there should be cross-reporting and coordination at the very least.
- Schools: should be MANDATED to report violent incidents or the threat of violence to police and to the DCF if families are already involved with that agency.
- No officers should be hired to protect schools if they are NOT willing actually to ACT.
- SSRI drugs should be made ILLEGAL for prescribing to anyone under age 25.
But there is another set of steps to be taken. Schools, as a target, must be "hardened." ANY willing staff (teachers, administrators, custodial) should be trained in the defensive/protective use of firearms, and urged to keep themselves armed in the schools. Any one staff member, armed, in Parkland, could have prevented many deaths. A "gun-free" zone openly screams to a killer "COME WREAK HAVOC HERE! NO ONE CAN STOP YOU!"