Premature Observations on the Parkland School Shootings

As Steve said this morning, it is pretty much pointless to comment on mass shooting events before the facts are known. But that hasn’t stopped liberals from going into full hysteria mode, as they always do. And perhaps the dust has settled enough to allow some preliminary observations. Here are mine:

1. The facts, to the extent they have been reported, are very weird. The murderer, Nikolas Cruz, packed up a semiautomatic rifle, a gas mask and plenty of ammunition and took an Uber to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Apparently the Uber driver saw nothing amiss. Cruz shot some people outside the school; I take it that he did this before entering. He went into the school and reportedly pulled a fire alarm, then killed fourteen or so students who poured into the halls. Having done so, he put down his rifle and left the school as if he were an ordinary student, apparently without anyone being the wiser. He proceeded to a Subway, and from there to a McDonalds, where he was arrested without incident well after the murders were over. If these really are the facts, it is hard to understand why Cruz encountered so little opposition.

2. Liberals, naturally, are braying about “common sense gun legislation.” Barack Obama is one among many. Of course, they never can tell us what those “common sense” reforms might be. To the extent that it isn’t sheer political calculation, their hysteria represents a childish wish that firearms didn’t exist. I actually might agree with them on that, but for firearms to disappear you would have to erase 500 years of history. You might as well try to ban knives. But liberalism isn’t about practical solutions, it is about expressing emotion while trying to garner votes.

3. Mass school shootings are, thankfully, rare. The liberal talking point, endlessly repeated today, that this is the 18th school shooting of 2018 is simply false. (Don’t hold your breath waiting for corrections from the Democratic Party media, however.) But what, practically, can we do to prevent them? In recent years, just about every school district in America has hired an army of administrators of various sorts. If I were the principal of a school, the first thing I would do is terminate one of those administrator positions and replace it with an armed guard. The high school that my children all attended had a guard on the premises at all times, and while he didn’t display a weapon, my kids assumed he was armed. That should be true in every school. In some high schools, multiple armed police officers are present.

It has been reported that Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School had a guard–whether armed or not is not clear–but he “didn’t encounter” Cruz during his murder spree. It has also been reported that Cruz ranged between the first and third floors of the high school as he shot students. So the absence of an “encounter” is hard to understand. My opinion: if one armed guard isn’t enough, hire two. And teachers with carry permits are a useful backup.

4. As seems to be the case in all mass shooting incidents, Nikolas Cruz was nutty as a fruitcake. Fellow students immediately assumed that he was the “shooter.” The fundamental problem here relates to mental health. Having emptied its insane asylums in a misguided attempt at “liberation,” the U.S. is virtually without a mental health system. President Trump, despite the derision of the Democratic Party media, is absolutely right to emphasize this aspect of the problem.

The question, obviously, is what to do about it. One thing I don’t know: are there a million fruitcakes like Nikolas Cruz, Seung-Hui Cho, Adam Lanza and James Holmes, so that it is impossible to predict which of them will prove dangerous, while the large majority are harmless? Or are there just a few such potential perpetrators? If the latter, it would seem that far greater efforts could be made to identify and preemptively deal with potential mass murderers. Although how to do so within legal constraints is, of course, a serious question.

5. Along those lines, Nikolas Cruz was reported to the FBI after he commented on a YouTube video by saying that he was going to be a school shooter. To his credit, the guy who produced the video saw Cruz’s comment and contacted the FBI. The FBI interviewed him, but did nothing, reportedly because they weren’t able to find Nikolas Cruz, even though he used his real name in the comment.

This probably isn’t the time for snark, but it is hard to resist observing that the FBI should spend less time trying to bring down a president who is not of the same party as the Bureau’s political leadership, and more time trying to prevent mass murder.

6. In my opinion, people on the scene of a mass shooting incident are consistently given bad advice. Hiding and waiting for the murderer to find you is, generally, a poor strategy. In the best case, it won’t stop others from being killed. If three or four able-bodied men rush a single murderer from different directions, they will almost certainly be able to disable him. This is especially true if he is armed with a rifle, which is effective at a distance but not intended for close combat. Rushing a shooter takes courage and a certain degree of coordination, but it likely will work, as in the incident dramatized in The 15:17 To Paris.

7. This photo, according to the New York Daily News, comes from Nikolas Cruz’s Instagram account. Cruz apparently owned quite a few firearms:

None of these weapons looks especially expensive, but still: where did a 19-year-old get the money for them? It has been reported that some, at least, were legally purchased at a Florida gun store. My question to liberals is: which of the weapons shown in the photograph are you proposing to ban?

8. This is also, according to the Daily News, from Cruz’s Instagram account. I haven’t seen Democrats going nuts about it, but maybe that is because I never go on Twitter:

Expect to see a lot about that photo in days to come. To which I can only say: James T. Hodgkinson. Who, to all appearances, was not a fruitcake.


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