A Reflection On The Florida Shooting

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Author Sean Whalen recently posted a video on his Facebook page in reference to the Valentine’s Day school shooting in Florida. He stated that the Parkland high school shooting could have been prevented if students would have spoken up about the shooter, Nikolas Cruz, appearing mentally disturbed and “drawing bombs and swastikas on the inside of his locker.” As students were interviewed after this catastrophe occurred, they expressed their anticipation for the former student to “do something crazy,” but many never spoke up about Cruz’s behavior because of generational values, in which Whalen blames parents. He said that people are unable to speak out about issues in fear of being labeled a bigot, a racist, or a homophobe.

Whalen is correct in his point that mental health should be taken more seriously, but his argument has flaws. Those closest to the shooter identified Cruz as having depression after his adoptive mother’s November death. Cruz, 19, a former student of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School where the shooting took place, was expelled because of psychotic behavior, a year before the shooting occurred. And according to students like Douglas senior Emma Gonzalez, who spoke out against Trump and his lack of interest in gun control, complaints were made about Cruz. The students did, as Whalen put it, “use their voices.” Cruz, entered the school campus while not even being a student and murdered 17 innocent people on his own.

So we should consider him a terrorist, right? For a White male to be labeled a terrorist in America is almost impossible. Instead, Cruz is depicted in the media as troubled and a lone wolf who was in distress after losing his mother. The voices told him to do it, right? Why was Cruz able to exit the scene, go to Subway and McDonald’s and not be apprehended for another 40 minutes? Would Cruz have been able to walk away so easily had he been a person of color?

Remember Tamir Rice, the 12-year-old from Cleveland who was shot for playing with a toy gun? What about Michael Brown from Ferguson, Missouri, who was killed with his hands up by a police officer after committing a minor crime? Neither one of them were given an opportunity to be apprehended. Not only does the Marjory Stoneman Douglas school shooting reveal a necessity for gun reform, but it also reveals racial discrepancy between people of color and Whites and the everlasting prevalence of White privilege in American society.

By Sullivan Anderson, Sophomore, Jones College Prep

Snapchat: justcallmesully


Sean Whalen Facebook Video

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