In the past ten days, February 14 – February 24, 2018, there has been a tremendous amount of news and first hand accounts following the slaughter of innocent students in Parkland, Florida that in turn launched an emotional national discussion about gun violence, gun rights, and gun control.
This national debate culminated in an extraordinary town hall meeting on Wednesday evening February 21, 2018, where the Parkland High School community was given the opportunity to pose tough questions about guns and gun control to lawmakers, and Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel, and NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch. The event was hosted by CNN.
This in turn elevated the raging national argument to an even higher level. We learned on Friday February 23, 2018 that four Broward Country deputies remained outside Parkland High School during the massacre, refusing to enter the building to neutralize the attacker who was using an AR-15 assault rifle to slaughter former classmates. It was instead the teachers who displayed extraordinary heroism, several stepping between the shooter and the students to take the bullets and protect these teenagers, three teachers losing their lives. (This reminds me of Charlottesville, August 12, 2017 when the police stood by and did nothing while White Nationalists went crazy and turned violent against the protestors, one mowing down Heather Heyer.)
The lessons to be learned from the Parkland massacre are extensive. We have to break everything down into small fragments and process the multitude of takeaways so we can develop programs and methods to protect the millions and millions of other students for decades to come.
The only thing that never changes over time is human nature – good versus evil. So spotting and interpreting red flags and triggers and creating antidotes is critical.
The January 2018 call to the FBI from what appears to be a female distant cousin, or the like (“not by blood” is how it was phrased), is one of the most remarkable calls I’ve ever read. She points out numerous RED FLAGS, and marks each, as if to code it as a “dot” to be connected to other dots. Now, reading all these and lining them up, there does seem to be another angle to this horrific traumatic event.
What was the actual trigger that made Nikolas Cruz storm his former high school on Valentine’s Day 2018 and massacre 17 students?
Why February 14, 2018 and not a day in November 2017, or even December just before the holidays when Cruz would have been missing his mom so much. (He was initially living with another family, the Deschamps, but became violent when he lost his mother’s photo, and was forced to move out of that house into the Sneads. It seems like that would have been a trigger, but it wasn’t.)
I’m sure investigators have been asking themselves for the past 10 days what exactly triggered Cruz. They most likely have already pieced it together because they’ve been speaking with Cruz. We’re the ones who don’t know. And this makes me that much more intrigued. Knowing “why” is everything.
So Cruz was a very troubled teen. Years and years of documented evidence. One would think that getting thrown out of Parkland would have been a trigger. Or his mom’s death on November 1, 2017 would have caused him to go crazy and kill.
We’ve read in the news that Cruz would get violently upset about certain topics, but the articles never mentioned what the topics were. The January 911 caller points out that a main trigger for Cruz was discussing the $25,000 he would receive following his mother’s death. (Apparently he was to receive $800,000 when he turned 22.)
Cruz initially took money from his mom’s bank account shortly after her death to buy the many guns and knives he owned. But the 911 caller explained about the life insurance check that would soon arrive. She voiced strong concerns about the family Cruz had moved in with. Explaining how “…He also said, when Nikolas gets his money, his $25,000. This man will invest it for him.” The 911 caller referred to Mr. Snead’s plan to invest Cruz’ $25,000 s a “another flag.”
“He doesn’t know Nikolas from a hole in the wall. And I don’t know who he’s going to invest it with or what’s going to happen but I do know, and this is a fact, when you ask Nikolas for money, he goes up one rule and down another. He gets crazy, because he will not give anyone his money. Matter of fact, he thinks anything he [UI] the bank is all [h]is, you know, to hell with everybody else including his brother. So, and I have th-the, uh, man’s name who uh-I-we’ve, the family ad I have tried to call this gentleman and he refuses to return any phone calls, but I got his name and his address if you’d like it.”
“Yes, that’s the man’s supposed to be staying with. And um, an aunt of his has, had called him. Another woman who was taking care of Nikolas, uh, who has already spoken to him tried to call him. I tried to call him just to find out how Nikolas was and to make sure he understood the problems of this. he has. And he just doesn’t return my phone calls, which, if you’re going to help somebody and you know there’s family involved, at least return the phone calls and talk to them about it. Or, you know, return the phone call and say mind your own business. Yeah, something.”
So the 911 caller outlined red flags that were causing her great anxiety to the point she needed to have a clear conscience if Cruz “explodes” (I admire this girl so much). There was much talk about Instagram and the gun photos and his “I want to kill” statements. But the red flags that surprised me because the news didn’t necessarily cover them:
- Cruz doesn’t have the mental capacity to properly reason through and solve problems or conflicts. “He’s only 18 but has the mental capacity of a 12 to a 14 year old.”
- This $25,000 was of monumental importance to Cruz. He seemed to process it as the only thing that made him feel secure after his mother’s death. He didn’t have a high school diploma. Only a low paying job. No friends. No real family. So again, it seems this money was his anchor. His only real safety net.
- The 911 caller implied that she didn’t trust Mr. James Snead. She seemed frightened about what might happen if he took Cruz’s money and invested it.
Investigators are surely looking into this. Mr. Snead’s version of events seem quite different from the 911 caller’s. “Didn’t notice anything,” … “Nikolas said his life had never been better.”
Yet something in fact triggered Cruz’ on February 14, 2018.
Maybe it really was ISIS. The 911 caller mentions her alarm over Cruz’s fascination with ISIS and his new love of Arabic. “..he-he dresses up like a ninja or a, or a-a-a ISIS guy.” …I can totally picture ISIS wanting to massacre US children on Valentine’s Day.
Or perhaps it was the White Supremacist influence. Jordan Jereb of the Republic of Florida claimed Cruz was a member of their organization (but later walked this back). Initially however, he stated Cruz “participated in paramilitary drills” with them. Is Richard Spencer associated with ROF? Richard Spencer is definitely associated with hearts (Richard Spencer had a significant role in the Charlottesville violence on August 12, 2018 – Virginia is for Lovers). Hearts are definitely connected with Valentine’s Day.
I realize investigators rarely share what they learn with the public. But this time, I wish they would. The vast majority of us have consumed gigantic amounts of information on the subject. I’ve been researching red flags and triggers that lead to killings for many years, this in the hopes of learning techniques to defuse someone who goes ballistic wanting to commit a mass atrocity. Since it appears we can’t always rely on police, and there’s so many potential perpetrators out there, the more we know as individuals about red flags, triggers, and ways to defuse, the safer we’ll be.
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