Policy and Change

Scratch out thoughts and prayers, focus on policy and change. This mantra has broken the internet as a result of the most recent school shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Broward County, Florida.

We hear of so much terror and strife in the world yet we don’t understand the magnitude as more often than not, it is not directly effecting us. However, as a Florida native that lives in the county over, this shooting hit a little too close to home.

First of all, it boggles my mind that someone my age could be held responsible for such an event that causes nothing but pain and suffering. However, what bothers me more is the fact that multiple sources expressed that they would expect this from Nikolaus Cruz.

The 19 year- old gunman had been expelled from this high school due to disciplinary violations. He was forced to carry his school supplies in a plastic bag rather than a backpack because they couldn’t trust him. His teachers and peers noticed something “off” about him. The FBI was notified about his behavior as he made a comment on a YouTube video saying “I am going to be a professional school shooter one day”. His social media presence was disturbing. All of these factors were known about Cruz, yet the school, the FBI and those who knew him took no measures to prohibit him from doing anything this wild. To me, Cruz gave many indications that he was capable of pulling off what he did. 

I am not putting the blame on anyone by any means as no one could foresee this tragedy. However, I believe it is a social commentary regarding the trends in our society. Whether this becomes an argument of gun control or mental health- this is yet another circumstance that will influence the way citizens perceive life. With all the tragedies in our world, it is hard for people to block out potential scary situations in everyday life. America prides itself on keeping its people safe, but how safe are we really if the news shows details of a shooting or laws allow just anyone to buy a gun?

The day after the shooting, I was in an Uber and the driver brought it up. He asked me if I thought that media violence and video games could potentially effect the underdeveloped brain of a child.  I know that in my household, I was not allowed to play games that involved guns or killing. My parents believed that it was unnecessary for me to be exposed to that kind of violence. I am not saying that this was the sole reason Cruz decided to shoot up a school because clearly, he was a deranged person to begin with. Our society has normalized violence whether it be through media outlets such as the 6 o’clock news or video games on the market such as Grand Theft Auto.

Unfortunately, this is not the first time something like this has happened and I don’t think it will be the last. Our society has become accustomed to things like this. It is close to impossible to stop every offbeat person from causing horror. Yet, as a country I think we need to do everything in our power and account for every questionable hint as they arise to put an end to the reoccurring tragedy of ridding a school of its safety.

What’s done is done. But as we go forward with grief in our hearts, I can only hope that our country will do everything in its power to identify the big and small threats to our safety. 

Sources: 

http://miami.cbslocal.com/2018/02/14/florida-shooting-suspect-custody-17...

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2018/02/15/nikolas-cruz-was-living-with-florid...