Thursday, February 15, 2018

Florida School Shooting: Dots Connected Afterward

By Douglas V. Gibbs
Author, Speaker, Instructor, Radio Host

If ever there was a case where everyone just knew that a particular person was going to become a mass shooter, Nikolas Cruz was that case.  He was obsessed with pridefully displaying and brandishing guns and knives on social media.  He grandly shared his stories about shooting rats with his BB gun, and combined with the fact that he brought bullets to school in his backpack, he was kicked out of school and sent to a continuation high school to finish his time in public school.  He was not allowed back on his old campus, especially with a backpack.

Cruz, yesterday, shot and killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.  He left 15 others injured.  He has been charged with 17 counts of pre-meditated murder.

While Cruz had no previous arrests, there were many signs and clues that should have led law enforcement to the conclusion that Cruz was a killer in the making.  The shooting was pre-meditated.  He fled the scene.  Everyone knew he would do such a thing.

On You Tube Nikolas Cruz proclaimed, "I'm going to be a professional school shooter."  Yet, investigators didn't go beyond that and question the potential shooter regarding his post.

The common thread among modern shootings in America has been social media, but is that enough to put together a case against someone?  Are we willing to chase after Minority Report-style arrests before someone commits a crime?  Or is that too Orwellian for a society based on liberty, and the United States Constitution, to use those kinds of methods?

Hindsight is 20/20.  Sure, looking back the dots were there to be connected, but in law enforcement you can't arrest someone because you think they are someone who might commit a crime.  The real prevention doesn't begin with government, it begins with making sure we follow a moral compass in society, and promote the traditional family model.  Unfortunately, families are not as engaged with their children as they used to be.

While we wish we could prevent such horrible things, at what price to liberty would such actions cost?

There is little we can do until a potential shooter actually commits the crime.  If there are suspicions, we can only hold people up to 72 hours.  Meanwhile, we have specific protections of civil liberties in this country, and we can't accuse people of crimes they have not committed yet because of what they posted on social media, or because a psychiatrist says they have the potential to do such a thing.  The reality is, the majority of gun owners are not violent, and the majority of mental health sufferers do not commit mass violence of this nature.

The conversation about mental illness being blamed in this shooting also has me nervous.  There is an extensive list of what is considered to be a mental illness.  If government is making the definitions regarding mental illness, how long before they use that power to accuse people of having a mental illness because of an opinion they have, or a stance they take?  How long before adhering to Christianity is considered a mental illness?  How long before people begin to be detained for mental illness issues because it is assumed they will be mass shooters because of their political stances?

It's a Pandora's Box we do not want to open, so allowing government to proceed with gun laws that are tied to their definitions of mental illness is a very dangerous path.

In Florida, where the shooting occurred, they have a law titled the Florida Mental Health Act of 1971 (Florida Statute 394.451-394.47891[1] (2009 rev.)), commonly known as the "Baker Act," which allows the involuntary institutionalization and examination of an individual.  Is that something law enforcement could have used as a strategy prior to the shooting?

A Baker Act initiated involuntary examination must be ordered by judges, law enforcement officials, physicians, or mental health professionals. There must be evidence that the person has a mental illness and that the condition creates a situation where they are a potential harm to themselves, to others, or that they could be self-neglectful (as defined in the Baker Act).  Examinations may last up to 72 hours.

Then, what do they do after the examination?  Following examination of the patient, they could then be released to the community, there could be a petition for involuntary inpatient placement (what some call civil commitment), involuntary outpatient placement (what some call outpatient commitment or assisted treatment orders), or voluntary treatment (if the person is competent to consent to voluntary treatment and consents to voluntary treatment). The involuntary outpatient placement language in the Baker Act took effect as part of the Baker Act reform in 2005.

While the Baker Act could have been used, was their enough evidence to impose such an action?  Or, an even bigger question, what kind of tyranny could laws like the Baker Act lead to if certain political persuasions decided to use the law for more nefarious reasons?

Judge Napolitano said of the Florida shooting that it was a "planned and plotted murder...classic death penalty case."  However, as I said before, hindsight is 20/20, and you can't accuse someone of crimes they have not committed . . . even if you are positive they will do it.

The possibility of Islamic Terrorism has also been considered, especially since Cruz has on his Instagram mentioned Islam, and Allah.  That said, there has been no evidence that shows any connections to Islam, or that the shooting was ISIS inspired.

Social media did come into play during the shooting, as the students kept the world updated as the bullets were flying.  Some of the students even sent out video footage from their phones.  The list of victims from the shooting is extensive, and one of the people killed during the event saved lives by acting as a human shield.  The hero who saved lives was a Football Coach, Aaron Feis.  As Cruz opened fire with an AR-15 rifle, Coach Feis, according to students, jumped in front of the bullets.  One of the fathers whose son is on the football team shared the story with other parents.  “The coach was also shot,” the father said. “He got shot by jumping on the guy, that’s what I heard.”  On Thursday morning, Broward Sheriff Scott Israel confirmed Feis was killed and described him as a person who was beloved in the school and community.

President Donald Trump cancelled a planned trip to Orlando, Florida after news of the deadly school shooting in Parkland reached his administration.  Trump is still planning a separate trip to Florida to meet with families and local officials in Parkland.  After stating his administration plans to look at the mental health issue associated with the shooting, he also urged Americans to “create a culture in our country that embraces the dignity of life that creates deep and meaningful human connections.”

Who's to blame?  What's to blame?  Is it the fault of our gun culture, or the reality that our society is spiraling out of control due to other influences and mindsets?

The Democrats will push for more gun control, and in fact they already are.  Other politicians will call for a crack-down on mental illness in this country.  Honestly, at the end of the conversation, EVIL is the reason for the shooting.  Evil has been teaching society that life is not something to be valued; Six States have Assisted Suicide Laws allowing doctor assisted personal euthanasia.  Obamacare and other leftist socialist universal medicine plans, as a part of rationing health care, include provisions for "end of life counseling" with euthanasia being a consideration.  Abortion is accepted as a "reproductive right," with over 58 million innocent babies being slaughtered in the womb since Roe v. Wade (and that doesn't take into consideration "ghost abortions," which are those children that would have been born had the abortion victims lost had grown up and had families of their own).  Laws are being passed forcing the abortion pill into the hands of our girls on college campuses, and unconstitutionally attacking pro-life pregnancy centers by compelling them by law to advertise for abortion clinics (due to be heard by the Supreme Court on March 20 - NIFLA v. Becerra).  Our children are being taught that life has little value, especially if those lives are old or young.  They are being taught it's okay to be promiscuous because babies can be killed and discarded with ease.  The media and entertainment industry celebrates abortion.  Our country has determined that we do not value life of the innocent, so why would a kid with dreams of death and revolution floating inside his brain value the life of others?

In America our kids have been drugged, and like their parents they suffer from depression, anxiety, and a whole list of mental illnesses or learning disability labels that may, or may not exist.  Life is horrific, from their point of view.  Climate Change will end the world before they become adults, Trump wants to imprison them and all we can plan for in the future is a loss of Social Security and the rise of an Orwellian Society that will control everyone through a massive tyrannical technocracy.  They live a life fearful of bullying, and offensive language.  Political Correctness has them looking over their shoulders, and technology has them locked inside their rooms with devices to keep them company.

No wonder some of them have resorted to video game style shooting rampages.

Cultural Marxism has promoted hate, and has divided society; and all we can think of as a political machine is which Natural Rights suppression knee jerk reaction should be applied next.

As for the news media, we aren't even sure if we get all of the information to understand what is going on.

Aside from the fact that there is an obvious political bias, sometimes they simply leave things out when they report the news so as to influence our thinking.  In the case of the Florida shooting, one witness claims there was a second shooter.  Cruz was taken into custody without any issues, complying with the commands of law enforcement.  Authorities have not mentioned anything that says they believe that there is the possibility of a second shooter.  How about this unreported tidbit while we are at it: Guns are used 2.5 million times a year in self-defense. Law-abiding citizens use guns to defend themselves against criminals as many as 2.5 million times every year -- or about 6,850 times a day.  This means that each year, firearms are used more than 80 times more often to protect the lives of honest citizens than to take lives.  And, on top of all that, of the 2.5 million times citizens use their guns to defend themselves every year, the overwhelming majority merely brandish their gun or fire a warning shot to scare off their attackers. Less than 8% of the time, a citizen will kill or wound his/her attacker.  How's that for something that is being left out by the news media?

The shooter in Florida was not suicidal, and as stated earlier, signs and clues were there that should have made everyone connected to Cruz ready for such a thing.  While, as I stated earlier, I don't think we should become a Minority Report crime prevention system that arrests people because we think they are capable of some kind of violence, I also recognized that the FBI was warned and there surely is something that could have been done to stave off such a situation from developing.

Would more guns in the hands of teachers and personnel (and security), and making sure it is known publicly that shooters will be dealt with instantly and with severity by those people wielding firearms, been enough to scare off such craziness?


I think that is exactly what needs to be done.  Let's get rid of the gun-free crap, and let's fill our schools with good guys with guns.  That, right there, will stop at least most of the madness. While criminals and potential mass shooters may be willing to cause harm on others, more often is the case that they don't want to be shot at; and the threat of being gunned down by a society that is fully armed is plenty enough of a deterrent that will likely stop most of the mass shootings we have been experiencing.

-- Political Pistachio Conservative News and Commentary

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