Oakton Outlook

The Repercussions From a Major Event

Nikolas Cruz, 19 year old, has been charged with 17 accounts of murder after the Florida school shooting… so what does that mean for us?

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The Repercussions From a Major Event

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   There were warning signs for Nikolas Cruz before he committed the school shooting on Valentine’s Day in Parkland, Florida. Cruz had been expelled from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School about a year before, but this was not the only sign.

   Starting back in middle school, Cruz had disciplinary issues. In eighth grade, he was transferred to a school for children with emotional and developmental issues, but after two years he was transferred to Stoneman Douglas. Cruz had been investigated by mental health professionals in 2016 after Snapchat videos of him cutting his arms were discovered. His mother died in November of 2017, and Cruz was depressed after, although his adoptive family, the Sneads, did not find any red flags. A CNN investigation found that Cruz was in a private Instagram group where the killing of small animals was discussed and encouraged. Some of Cruz’s social media posts have been considered very disturbing, with pictures of guns and knives.

   One of the most shocking things that stands out the most is the comment that Cruz posted on YouTube, stating, “I’m going to be a professional school shooter.” The FBI did look into this comment, but was unable to find who posted the comment. Additionally, The Washington Post reported that the FBI disclosed that they had received a tip on January 5 from someone very close to Cruz. The caller was concerned about Cruz’s, “gun ownership, desire to kill people, erratic behavior, and disturbing social media posts, as well as the potential of him conducting a school shooting.”

More students have come up to me to talk about this [shooting] over the past couple of days… the fact that people are interested in this and engaged is good.”

— Mr. Waxman

   President Trump has reacted to the school shooting with a speech offering many condolences. However, the aftermath of the massacre has people wanting more “policy and change” rather than “thoughts and prayers”.Following the Las Vegas shooting, President Trump deflected calls to action for gun rights, saying the time wasn’t right. As a presidential candidate, he opposed gun control and it appeared his policy was not going to change. President Trump appeared to be following the same logic following this school shooting, until his push on Twitter to arm teachers across the country and give teachers a bonus if they are trained to fire weapons. While the consequences for the school shooting are still unclear for the new legislation and what politicians are going to do is still unclear, many people are pushing for change now rather than later.

   Mr. Waxman, AP Government teacher at Oakton, stated, “This is a hard issue on many levels,” when asked his thoughts on the school shooting in Florida. While Mr. Waxman is not sure with regards to policy change what will happen next, something is definitely different about the Florida school shooting. “The idea that students are holding politicians accountable, parents are in the politicians faces…it all feels very different,” said Waxman.

   Students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School have not been afraid to call out President Trump and the rest of politicians and government on their lack of action for gun control and school shootings. Many students have become very politically active after the shooting, speaking out on national news and calling for anti-gun violence demonstrations.

   For Oakton, what does this mean? There is a 17 minute nationwide walk out being organized for March 14 to stand against school shootings, demonstrating that same increase in civic engagement that has made Florida’s reaction to the school shooting stand out. As a government teacher, Mr. Waxman stated, “The idea that people are engaged and challenging the system and asking hard questions to politicians, that civic responsibility is something I’m very excited about.” Mr. Waxman continues on to state that the adults no longer no how to act, with the boy standing up to Marco Rubio, students pressuring the president, and nationwide having school schedules interrupted with walk outs. “More students have come up to me to talk about this [shooting] over the past couple of days… the fact that people are interested in this and engaged is good,” Waxman said.

   The school shooting that happened in Florida on February 14, 2018 is one that has left its mark. It has us wondering- why did we not notice the warning signs? What should we do differently? How should we react? But a noticeable difference is the way that the students and younger generations have gotten involved with this issue. At Oakton, students have been taking lock down drills much more seriously, and will be participating in a walk out in the near future. Does this make up for the lives lost in Florida? No, but hopefully it will make something change.


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The Repercussions From a Major Event