“Because No One Loved Me”
“Because no one loved me.” That’s the reason Nikolas Cruz gave as to why he carried out the Parkland school shooting on Valentine’s Day in 2018. He felt nobody loved him and he hated Valentine’s Day because he was never able to get a valentine. Finally, he decided that if he couldn’t have a good Valentine’s Day, no one would, so he carried out the massacre that killed 17 people and wounded 17 others. Prior to carrying out the massacre, he had gotten in trouble at school. He got into fights, made threats, and even got expelled. In 2017 when he was expelled, one of the school security guards predicted that he was going to come back and shoot people at the school someday. That security guard was absolutely right. 17 people died on Valentine’s Day in 2018 and the Parkland community still hasn’t gotten over it. How to we stop people like Nikolas Cruz from becoming mass murderers? If that security guard so accurately predicted that he was going to kill people at the school someday, why didn’t professionals see it? Why didn’t people try to get help for him? Even if he hadn’t committed mass murder that day, he would’ve been a loser for life. He never would’ve been able to make good contributions to society, he would’ve been drifting from job to job, from failure to failure, and he probably would’ve committed suicide somewhere down the road. I can understand his feeling about Valentine’s Day, though. I never had a girlfriend either and I remember how sick and awful I felt when I couldn’t get a date for the Prom in 1972. Back in the 70’s, you had to have a date in order to go to Prom and because I didn’t, there was no Prom for me. I remember how badly I felt about that. I had no idea how to get a girlfriend and there’s no way I could’ve known. I had no father, my mother had mental health issues, and my grandmother was hostile, critical, and angry. There’s no way I could’ve acquired the skills on how to get a girlfriend with that kind of background, and my background was a lot better than Nikolas Cruz’s. He had fetal alcohol syndrome and his mother died of cancer four months before he committed the massacre at Parkland. He had no future given his background. He was going to be a loser for life and deep down, he knew that. He will probably get the death penalty for his crimes. However, giving him the death penalty isn’t going to solve our main problem of how we’re going to stop these things before they happen. There are plenty more people where he came from and while not all of them will kill, some will. The ones who don’t will end up either committing suicide or being a loser for life. I would’ve been had I not gotten onto the Board of Directors of the Lanterman Regional Center in 2007. That’s when I learned how to be a winner. Prior to that, I had known only losers - people who wanted to do good things, had good intentions, were socially conscious, and wanted to help make a difference, but lacked the social and emotional skills needed to do so. If there had been a program to teach Nikolas how to acquire dating and relationship skills, that might’ve enabled him to get a valentine. However, there wasn’t, and he decided that if he couldn’t have a good Valentine’s Day, nobody could. He’s probably going to get the death penalty for his crimes. I can’t imagine anyone on the jury voting for him to get life in prison instead. Public feeling against what he did is so high and what he did was so outrageous that if anyone were to vote for him to have life in prison instead of getting the death penalty, they would have to move and start new somewhere else. If I were on that jury, I would have to vote for the death penalty because 1) he probably deserves it, and 2) if I didn’t and people found out I was the one who voted for his life, I would have to leave the state because there would be so much anger against me. We need to focus on preventing mass shootings from happening. We need programs to teach people social and relationship skills and we need to have intervention programs and dating mentors. I’m a firm believer in mentoring and role playing. If Nikolas had been able to role play with his peers and get mentoring from professionals who understood his problems, I think there’s a good chance he wouldn’t have committed the mass shooting. I don’t think he was able to find happiness even if he wanted it.