Florida school shooting

Another horrific mass shooting in the US, this time at a school in Florida.

Reuters: FBI was warned about alleged Florida gunman, could not locate

The Federal Bureau of Investigation was warned last year about an ominous online comment by the 19-year-old man accused of killing 17 people in his former high school but was unable to locate him, an agent said on Thursday.

Authorities said the ex-student, identified as Nikolas Cruz, walked into the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, near Miami, on Wednesday and opened fire with an AR-15-style assault rifle in the second-deadliest shooting at a public school in U.S. history.

Cruz may have left warning signs on social media. A person with his name wrote a comment last year under a YouTube video that read “I‘m going to be a professional school shooter.” The man who posted the video, Ben Bennight, a Mississippi bail bondsman, was alarmed and contacted the FBI, according to a video he posted online late Wednesday.

Wednesday’s shooting was the 18th in a U.S. school this year, according to gun control group Everytown for Gun Safety. It stirred the long-simmering U.S. debate on the right to bear arms, which are protected by the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

President Donald Trump addressed the shooting in a White House speech that emphasized school safety and mental health while avoiding any mention of gun policy.

“It is not enough to simply take actions that make us feel like we are making a difference,” Trump said at the White House. “We must actually make that difference.”

The big question is, given the number of guns and the lax gun laws in the US – how? There is no obvious answer that the NRA lobby and politicians they fund are likely to accept.

51 Comments

    • Gezza

       /  February 16, 2018

      Thanks for that Patz.

      I wonder how much, in addition to the lax gun laws & macho/paranoid combo gun culture of the US, their competitive ethos & the marketed cultural worship of guns drives these catastrophes as well.

      Compare the movies & tv shows of Britain & other countries to those continually pouring out of & shown in US. Especially cop shows & “hero” shows. In the US – it’s all sickos & guns, guns, guns. They create anti-heroes for the mentally disturbed & disgruntled.

      And with the random mass shooters, there almost seems to be an element of some of them trying to top previous mass shootings – either through bigger numbers of dead or some deadly new strategy for the killing.

      Without more effective gun control & thorough review & background & psychological checks like those mentioned in Switzerland & other countries, American Presidents will have to get used to reading out these “terrible thing, our thoughts & prayers” speeches on a horribly regular basis.

      • Kitty Catkin

         /  February 16, 2018

        They already have.Trump was a fool to accept money from the NRA and make himself beholden to them.

        The Onion has used the headline ‘This must never happen again.’ Says the only country where it happens.’ every time there has been a mass shooting.

  1. duperez

     /  February 16, 2018

    A powerful graphic.
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2018/national/mass-shootings-in-america/?utm_term=.047350510f65

    And a thought: “The FBI was warned last year about an ominous online comment by the 19-year-old accused but was unable to locate him.”
    Did they knock on the door, no-one home, ask the neighbour, “Don’t know where he is” and that was that?

    • Gezza

       /  February 16, 2018

      There was a spread of stories in NY Times last night & I read some. They included comments by students & teachers. It was apparently quite widely-known that this boy scared people at the school he was expelled from, & his disturbing, threatening behaviour had I think been reported to the school authorities – but it wasn’t known why he was expelled at the time the articles were published.

      One comment from a student was that other students had talked about him & said if there was ever a school shooting there, it would be he that did it.

    • Gezza

       /  February 16, 2018

      The Herald seems to have a series or articles now, judging by a google search. This is from one I saw early this morning.

      “There was plenty to be alarmed about.

      Math teacher Jim Gard, who taught Cruz last year before he was expelled from Stoneman Douglas, said that at some point during that period, the school administration sent out a note with a vague suggestion of concern, asking teachers to keep an eye on Cruz. “I don’t recall the exact message,” Gard said, “but it was an email notice they sent out.”

      “We were told last year that he wasn’t allowed on campus with a backpack on him,” Gard told the Miami Herald. “There were problems with him last year threatening students, and I guess he was asked to leave campus.”

      And Broward County Mayor Beam Furr told CNN that Cruz had been getting treatment at a mental health clinic for a while, but that he had not been back to the clinic for more than a year. “It wasn’t like there wasn’t concern for him,” Furr told CNN. “We try to keep our eyes out on those kids who aren’t connected. . . . In this case we didn’t find a way to connect with this kid.”

      Now it’s emerged Cruz was a member of a white nationalist group and participated in paramilitary drills in Tallahassee.

      Jordan Jereb told the Associated Press that his group wants Florida to become a white ethno-state. He said his group holds “spontaneous random demonstrations” and tries not to participate in the modern world.

      Jereb said he didn’t know Cruz personally and that “he acted on his own behalf of what he just did and he’s solely responsible for what he just did”.

      He also said Cruz had “trouble with a girl” and he believed the timing of the attack, on Valentine’s Day, wasn’t a coincidence.”

      • Joe Bloggs

         /  February 16, 2018

        yet another alt-right shooter who won’t be labelled a terrorist by the present administration… Washington’s become a foetid sewer.

        • Kitty Catkin

           /  February 16, 2018

          How would the neighbours know where he was if he wasn’t living at home ? He could have been anywhere-sleeping rough somewhere, living under a different name in a squat…there is a limit to what anyone can do.

  2. David

     /  February 16, 2018

    I see no hope of any form of gun control in the US, the more shootings there are the more guns folk buy for protection. There will be renewed calls to arm teachers which to any sane person in any other country if it was suggested would sound ludicrous.

    • duperez

       /  February 16, 2018

      Given the tone of the rhetoric in some places in New Zealand I could imagine some wanting the kids to have guns but not the teachers.

    • Kitty Catkin

       /  February 16, 2018

      A fair number of teachers are already armed. I have heard about schools having metal detectors as long as I can remember. They have security guards and shooter drill as we have earthquake drill.

      It’s a vicious circle-guns are used in shootings ergo other people want them to defend themselves. I was told by an American how many people were shot by mistake for burglars when they came home late – I have forgotten the number, but it was very large. One would never forgive oneself.

  3. Zedd

     /  February 16, 2018

    As long as USA, has the mentality that private gun ownership is ‘everyone has the right to bear arms’ & in some states, the ‘background checks’ are almost non-existent.. these sort of events will continue; ‘The Wild West’ 😦
    Sad news indeed

  4. To stop school shootings train and arm the teachers.
    No matter how crazy a would be shooter is the fact that they are outgunned and dead meat walking would be a sufficient deterrent.
    If that didn’t work then a bullet would

    • Corky

       /  February 16, 2018

      So simple. Good work George. By simple dint of numbers, any shooter would be outgunned, given shooters have to be conspicuous to gain a decent kill rate.

      The only problem are teachers. Most are liberal, and no doubt would associate guns with ghetto blacks, white trash and conservative crazies who are homophobic. Of course they would never state that; only think it,

      • Blazer

         /  February 16, 2018

        I know, just issue all the pupils with….bullet proof…vests!

      • Kitty Catkin

         /  February 16, 2018

        Corky talking nonsense again. Many teachers are armed now, but the shooters have the advantage of surprise. Remember when a small number held Bombay to ransom ? A handgun will not be much of a deterrent when the shooter has a rifle or much larger weapon.

        • duperez

           /  February 16, 2018

          A handgun will not be much of a deterrent when the shooter has a rifle or much larger weapon so the teachers will simply have to have the biggest weapons.

          Which reminds me of something I wrote many years age;

          If I had a million guns

          If I had a million guns
          I would be very sad
          if my enemy had
          one
          gun
          more.

          I would kill him a million times
          but would die that
          one
          time
          more.

          • Kitty Catkin

             /  February 16, 2018

            They’ll have to have machine guns or cannons.

        • Chuck Bird

           /  February 16, 2018

          Kitty at close range a glock would be a match especially with a laser sight. A glock also fires a heavier projectile.

          • Gezza

             /  February 16, 2018

            Pretty sad. As part of your teacher training you now have to learn cover & hide in place procedures for yourself & your students & maybe carry arms & learn & practice how to shoot & kill a rogue shooter at your school without accidentally hitting a student or another teacher trying to do the same thing. Fucked up society.

          • Kitty Catkin

             /  February 17, 2018

            The trouble is that one would need to be at close range, so the killer has a huge advantage.

          • Kitty Catkin

             /  February 18, 2018

            Tangent – I have seen tiny fancy guns that ladies used to carry for self-protection. They look like toys, but at close range are anything but, as I imagine a few people must have discovered and been disagreeably surprised at the discovery. Last words ‘ Oh yes, that’s a real gun – I don’t……..’

  5. Blazer

     /  February 16, 2018

    ‘To stop school shootings train and arm the teachers.’…..words fail…me.

  6. Joe Bloggs

     /  February 16, 2018

    From the evil fake news purveyors we know that this young Florida shooter had some really serious mental health issues and was expelled from school for bad and erratic behaviour no less…

    so… once again we have this transparently bullshit commentary offered up that mental health issues – not a lack of gun control legislation – are responsible for mass shootings in America. And it’s not the first time he’s blamed mental health. He did the same back in November last year after the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas.

    But let’s not forget that a year ago trump trashed a new regulation that would have prevented potentially irresponsible and mentally incompetent people from being able to buy guns

    ——

    And then there’s this:

    trump’s 2019 budget plan included a proposal to slash US$25 million from education programs designed to prevent crime in schools and assist with recovery efforts.

    https://www.politico.com/story/2018/02/15/school-safety-cuts-trump-administration-348968?cmpid=sf

    the US Education Department says it’s “committed to providing resources, direct support and technical assistance to schools who have suffered unthinkable tragedy” but trump’s proposed budget also proposes cutting funds that the department uses to support mental health aid for students and teachers caught up in school shootings.

    ——-

    sooo, not only is trump hypocritically blaming mental health issues while making it easier for affected people to buy guns, he’s also defunding the mental health support systems that pick up the pieces after mass shootings.

    What a piece of shit

    • Joe Bloggs

       /  February 16, 2018

      From CBS News:

      A little over a month after his inauguration, on Feb. 28, 2017, President Trump signed HJ Resolution 40, a bill that made it easier for people with mental illness to obtain guns. CBS News then asked the White House to release the photograph of Mr. Trump signing the bill, making the request a total of 12 times.

      White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders finally responded to repeated emails and phone calls with a one-line note on April 19, 2017, writing to CBS News, “We don’t plan to release the picture at this time.”

      A White House photographer confirmed to CBS News that there are photos of the bill signing. Those photos won’t be seen unless the Trump administration releases them, though, because the White House is not subject to the Freedom of Information Act.

      https://www.cbsnews.com/news/white-house-refused-to-release-photo-of-trump-signing-bill-to-weaken-gun-law/

      So the WH now seems to be operating on the basis that if no pictures are released then maybe we can deny the signing ever took place…

      CBS News also noted that the rule trump overturned “would have added about 75,000 names of mentally ill Americans to a database that would have stopped them from buying a gun.”

      • PDB

         /  February 16, 2018

        Guns are so numerous and so easily available in the US stopping people officially buying a gun doesn’t mean they can’t easily buy/get a gun. This story is just an unnecessary diversion from the real problems of gun overload.

        • Gezza

           /  February 16, 2018

          It’s just business.
          The NRA are a business. Their strategy is:
          1. Thump the outmoded 2nd Amendment right to carry arms as a human right.
          2. Thump the need to carry arms to protect yourselves from your fellow citizens who carry arms.
          3. Buy Trump.

          • High Flying Duck

             /  February 16, 2018

            From the CATO institute (Re Barack Obama’s efforts in 2016):

            Conclusion

            For all the pomp and ceremony, nothing in the president’s proposals is going to put a dent in U.S. gun crime or even substantially change the federal legal landscape. In that sense, apoplectic opponents and overjoyed supporters are both probably overreacting. President Obama’s clarifications on the FFL system and the ATF’s removal of a substantial burden on individual enthusiasts wishing to procure NFA-regulated items may even be improvements over the status quo (in deep contrast to the tone of the president’s emotional message).

            The mental health proposals are more worrisome, and the behavior of state governments and federal healthcare agencies in response to an expansion of their power to circumscribe the rights of people seeking mental health treatment will require close scrutiny (and perhaps litigation) to ensure that people diagnosed with mental illnesses are not being unfairly deprived of their rights.

            The most disappointing aspect of the proposals is that there is so little in them to suggest that President Obama is willing to address any of the major drivers of gun crime in America. The sad irony is that President Obama could do far more to protect American lives and clean up our streets by ending the drug war than by expanding background checks. Criminals, from gang members to spree shooters, have no trouble passing checks, finding straw purchasers, or simply buying guns on the inherently unregulated black market. As long as there are hundreds of billions of dollars changing hands in the illicit drug market every year, the black market for firearms and the violent competition for market shares will continue to claim thousands of lives annually and make a mockery of the idea of gun control.

            Gun crime is a serious problem, and it deserves attention. Unfortunately, these proposals do not offer effective solutions.

            https://www.cato.org/blog/round-president-obamas-gun-control-proposals

      • High Flying Duck

         /  February 16, 2018

        So which Democrat governments have made meaningful changes to gun control?
        The Dems talk a lot and do very little.
        A pox on both their houses on this issue.

        • MaureenW

           /  February 16, 2018

          The irony of Obama now calling for common-sense gun safety laws?

          There were more mass shootings under his presidency than any other, and he did ….. nothing – shed a few tears.

          https://edition.cnn.com/2018/02/15/politics/obama-florida-shooting/index.html

            • High Flying Duck

               /  February 16, 2018

              2007 – 2011 the Democrats held both Houses. Obama was President for at least 2 of those years. Same at the beginning of the Clinton presidency.

            • High Flying Duck

               /  February 16, 2018

              “Obama’s first-term record was more focused on gun rights than control. In 2010, he signed bills allowing Amtrak passengers to pack guns in their luggage and carry loaded firearms into national parks.

              Overall, adding any restrictions was a non-starter among gun rights activists and lawmakers, who often refused to debate more than 100 gun-control measures introduced since U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., was shot in January 2011.”

              From the article you posted.

            • Gezza

               /  February 16, 2018

              I know, I read the whole article. But if you’re going to be that selective, here’s the rest. And was it his last two years that Republicans controlled both Houses, making him a lame duck President?

              Shows the power of the odious gun lobby in the States, doesn’t it?

              ” During his 2012 re-election campaign, Obama said he wanted to work toward reintroducing a federal assault weapons ban, because “weapons that were designed for soldiers in war theaters don’t belong on our streets.”

              With little interest from Congress, renewing that ban rates as a Promise Broken.

              “The gun control-gun rights debate is already so heated and often is deadlocked so that very little legislation, whether prompted by a mass shooting or any other form of violence, is passed,” said Jaclyn Schildkraut, an assistant professor at the State University of New York at Oswego’s Department of Public Justice.

              Schildkraut was a co-author for a 2013 article that showed while some school shootings in particular prompted some lawmakers to introduce proposals for stricter gun control in recent years, very few passed.

              Part of the reason a new assault weapons ban didn’t gain traction in Congress under Obama was because the prior assault weapons ban, from 1994 to 2004, didn’t stop violent incidents like mass shootings, Schildkraut said. For example, one of the weapons used in the 1999 Columbine shootings, an IntraTec TEC-DC9, was on the list of banned guns, she said.

              Obama couldn’t institute another ban without Congress, but he could still strengthen existing laws. (He had promised to “enforce the laws we’ve already got” during his re-election campaign. We rated that a Promise Kept.) He included the ban as part of a sweeping set of suggested legislation and 23 executive actions he announced in January 2013.

              His plan to reduce gun violence included a focus on mental health treatment, limiting magazine sizes, strengthening background checks and restarting federal gun research that had been frozen for years. Obama issued further actions on medical histories in background checks in 2014.

              “There is little more that Obama could have done on gun control,” UCLA constitutional law professor Adam Winkler said. “The president’s power is limited, and the NRA wrote the laws to restrict what the executive can do.””

            • High Flying Duck

               /  February 16, 2018

              I read the whole article Gezz. The point is he had opposition from within as well as without his party. The gun lobby owns several Democrats.
              There were pleanty of reasons for introducing stricter gun control legislation in his first term – the Giffords shooting being one of them. There were three mass shootings (more than 10 deaths) in 2009, the year Obama was first elected.

              It’s all very well proposing the legislation when the other side will get the blame – but when Democrats controlled both houses the fact remains Obama expanded gun rights.

            • Gezza

               /  February 16, 2018

              That example cited was for a very small group & specific circumstance though, HFD. What was the background? Their national parks have bears & cougars. The point though was that Obama by his 2nd term WANTED to do something about gun control. Trump doesn’t.

            • High Flying Duck

               /  February 16, 2018

              Trump hasn’t started his second term yet though…
              And I still think Obama would have been less gung ho on gun control had the Democrats held the majority in his second term. When it’s your representatives who will be attacked by the NRA you tread more carefully.
              Obama DID very little to nothing. But he spoke very eloquently.

            • Gezza

               /  February 16, 2018

              It’s not a competition over who did the least for me, HFD. Trump rolled back what little had been done to try & restrict sales. Even reported to be considering legalising silencer sales.

              More gun sales – more guns -around – legal & illegal – more gun crime & more mass shootings. More gun crime & mass shootings – more gun sales. More gun crime. More mass shootings. Bet on it.

              The US seems to be heading towards becoming an armed camp. Schools included. They are going to be more fearful of their own psychotic or enraged generations-back natural-born citizens than Islamic terrorists.

  7. Pickled Possum

     /  February 16, 2018

    Make a concerted effort Schools, to Stop Bullies.
    Protect the vulnerable children from the mean kids.
    They are always sorry after the deed is done.

    There has to be a reason why all these guys
    (who always looks like the kid who got sand kicked in HIS face)
    are mowing down teachers and class mates.

    Is it bullying., School in USA is not safe any more and no amount of
    gun regulation will stop it.
    Who manufactures the Most guns in the world. yep you guessed it,
    good ole USA.

    So maybe the people who make guns can make a difference hahahahah
    larffing all the way to the bank, cos that’s all they care about …
    till one their loved ones goes down.
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/maps-and-graphics/mapped-the-countries-with-the-most-guns/

  8. PartisanZ

     /  February 16, 2018

    School security could be upgraded to include heavily armed guards, dogs and X-Ray booths at every entrance, sniper stations, CCTV coverage of every inch … and drones armed with 30 or 50cal machine guns and/or 20mm canon constantly circling during school hours …

    Even rockets? Like if a situation got too bad and the gunman couldn’t be located with perfect accuracy, just waste a whole classroom … because the collateral damage may be ‘better’ than the mass-shooting death toll?

    Waste those behaviourally disturbed and mentally-ill students and ex-students … all those kids with “bad and erratic behaviour” …

    Yeah … Lock’n’load … and Waste ’em … !!!

  9. PartisanZ

     /  February 16, 2018

    ‘Open letter from shooting victim’s aunt: ‘We don’t want your prayers” – NZHerald …

    Powerful stuff … “My friends and fellow citizens, your guns are not protecting you. Your guns are killing our kids … Why is your hunting hobby more important than my niece’s life? Don’t you see that your “second amendment” rights have been twisted and distorted beyond any rational interpretation? Why should my niece have been sacrificed at the altar of your “freedoms?”

    Why don’t you trust our police to protect us from crime? Don’t you realise that mental illness has been and always will be a part of the human condition and that weapons of war should not be available to those among us who dream of mayhem and death? Don’t you see the blood on all of our hands?” – Abbie Youkilis MD

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/world/news/article.cfm?c_id=2&objectid=11996270

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