Yesterday, 17 people were killed in a vicious school shooting in Parkland, Florida, a suburban town in Broward County. The shooting occurred at Stoneman Douglas High School and marks the eighth school shooting of 2018 in the US that resulted in injury or death. The shooter, 19-year-old Nicolas Cruz, was a former student at Stoneman Douglas High. The suspect opened fire on faculty and students Wednesday afternoon. During the school’s lockdown, the shooter was apprehended by police. Cruz was later charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder.
Cruz fits the typical mold of the ‘American school shooter’ persona. Almost immediately, media outlets began releasing information regarding the suspect’s life and ‘troubled past.’ It’s almost cringe-worthy to see some of the reporting. Countless news stations have broke stories of Cruz being an adoptee, a troubled teen struggling with the loss of his adoptive parents and an alleged diagnosis of autism. What many are failing to point out is just how sinister Cruz’s behavior was in light of the shooting.
According to the New York Times, Cruz was expelled from school for ‘disciplinary reasons.’ The Times also disclosed that the suspect seemed to have an ‘affinity’ for violence and was known for bragging about his firearms, killing animals, and had even been allegedly stalking a female student.
This portrayal of Cruz seems more sociopathic than ‘troubled.’ A few questions arise in the wake of the shooting like: how did Cruz’s behavior slip through the cracks? How did he obtain his firearms? What were his reasons for committing such acts against people he knew and went to school with?
In any matter, as more information is released, one thing is for certain – the media’s use of ‘suspect sympathy’ needs to stop. It’s a slap in the face to every victim of gun violence in America. Whenever there is a mass shooting committed by Caucasians in America, the public response by the media is to label the suspect either ‘mentally unstable’ or ‘troubled.’ Where was the sympathy for victims of police violence like Sandra Bland, a Black college-educated woman who died under mysterious circumstances under police custody? She was labeled ‘angry, belligerent, and in-the-wrong’ when reports of her death reached the media.
As a media outlet, #whereisthebuzzz would like to go on the record by saying that the heinous acts of Nicolas Cruz were the actions of a cold-blooded sociopath with no regard for human life. We will not glorify this killer, but instead, we would like to use this platform to honor the lives of the 17 victims of yesterday’s shooting. Below are some of the names of those who were killed, may they rest in peace.