U.S.A: Home of the Brave, and the Troubled

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Jose Bermundez Lenis | jbermudezlenis@radford.edu

On Feb. 14, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz took an Uber cab to his former high school, Marjory Stoneman Douglas HS. According to the police reports, he was dropped by the Uber cab around 2:20 p.m. that Wednesday.

According to Al-Jazeera, shortly after Cruz who was armed with an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle deliberately opened fire and gunned down 17 students, leaving campus in the middle of sorrow and shock, he was then arrested and kept in custody as of today.

As expected, social media entirely turned to this incident with many people protesting the lack of gun regulation and background checks.

Many people protest the fact the U.S government seems to be used to a cycle in which after a school shooting occurs, U.S. officials send “thoughts and prayers” and then forget about the subject until the next school shooting. Many people claim that instead of “thoughts and prayers,” from U.S. lawmakers, there should be “law and change.”

However, with the crooked U.S. Federal Government, as well as many ultra-conservative politicians, change seems distant.

“How do we stop mass shootings?” many people ask. However, not a lot of them ask, “Why do mass shootings happen?” Citizens and lawmakers seem urged to create new laws to stop mass shootings, but they do not consider nor try to find the reason as to why mass shootings happen.

It is easy for Americans to hate. It is easy to wish death on Nikolas Cruz after his actions, and those wishes are understandable.

However, it is hard for Americans to find the broader factors that lead a person to commit this sort of crime. It is easy to blame the inefficient gun laws and the ineptitude of the FBI.

According to CNN, FBI agents in Miami were informed of Cruz’s unusual behaviors back in January but did nothing about it. However, Americans fail at considering the reasons why Cruz did what he did. Americans ignore the facts before they proceed to hate, they do not think about Cruz’s background or early history, since those facts do not sell a newspaper, or get website views.

According to The New York Times report on the shooter’s background, Cruz’s mother died shortly after he was born. Then adopted by a family in which both parents were past the age of 50, his stepfather died when he was six, and his 70-year-old mother died shortly before the incident.

These events put Cruz into a deep depression. According to testimonies of people close to him, he would often post dark content explicitly stating that he would become a school shooter one day.

Cruz was a troubled teenager who did not seek help, but he was not offered any help either, despite showing every red-flag indicating a chronic depression and psychopathic tendencies. Neither his step-family or his friends tried to provide genuine support, even though in the interviews they say he had those tendencies since way back.

Understanding the origins of an issue is hard for society since, as I stated before, it is easy to find an escape-goat to blame for an issue rather than do complex research and try to eradicate the problem rather than prevent it.

In my opinion, neither gun laws, or FBI negligence are responsible for this act.

A real solution will not come from reinforcing gun laws, establishing harsh regulations or suspending FBI agents. The real answer will come once Americans realize that mental health is a real problem and it is present throughout the nation.

Once Americans stop finding escape-goats and looking for a specific reason or people to blame, it is when mass shootings will cease happening, and the cycle will be finally broken.

Photo Credit (pilotonline.com)