The mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida has horrified all Americans. Sadly, few details about the shooter have emerged and Americans are left wondering how this clearly unstable young man was able to get his hands on a gun and how the mechanisms already in place to protect people failed…yet again.
So far, we know the killer–Nicholas Cruz–is 19 and that his adoptive mother recently died, which left him without parens since his adoptive father died over a decade ago. Those who know Cruz have stated his mental decline accelerated after the death of his mother. Because of his age, Cruz was legally permitted to purchase a firearm in Florida, yet we don't know how he obtained the firearm. Did he, in fact, purchase it, or did a family member? Was it his mother who purchased it before her sudden death? Those details are still to come. But we do know that Cruz hadn't been convicted of a prior crime, nor had the courts adjudicated him as mentally unstable despite the fact that his mother had called the police on him after he'd become violent with her. Both a felony conviction and a finding of mental illness by a court would have shown on a background check–and prevented him from legally purchasing a gun. There are also reports that someone who had viewed his disturbing and threatening posts on Facebook contacted the FBI. Cruz was also a problem at school and school officials were aware of his mental instability.
Yet, despite all of this, Cruz walked into that Parkland high school with a black duffel bag and a backpack, pulled out a semi-automatic rifle and began shooting kids and teachers in the hallways and inside five classrooms. Then, after his killing spree, Cruz blended in with the rest of the fleeing and terrified students and eventually made his way to a Wal-Mart where he did a completely normal teenage thing–he bought a soda. And then he was arrested.
Both the mainstream media and Monday morning quarterbacks on social media have jumped on the "DO SOMETHING" bandwagon calling for "common sense gun control." Perhaps it's understandable that in the face of such tragedy, no one wants to hear that common sense gun controls are already in place in the form of very restrictive regulations on gun ownership.
As for me, I prefer to wait a day or two to see what actually happened before suggesting a variety of ways in which we can limit law abiding citizens' freedoms and constitutionally protected rights to bear arms.
In the meantime, I choose to pray for the victims, their families, and all those affected by this tragedy.