The day after a mass shooting is always a somber day where we pay tribute to those that had lost their lives. It is a day where we hold our loved ones a little tighter and pray that it will never come close to being our own reality. It is a day that we hope to learn from and find ourselves pulling others a little closer towards us for strength. The day after a tragedy is also the day that we reflect on what just happened and try to piece together the hows, the whys, and the what-ifs in order to try to prevent this from happening again.
How did we let something like this happen again? How was Nikolas Cruz able to pull off this attack on innocent people so easily? Why would someone do something like this? When will this ever end? What could have been done to prevent this? Was something seriously wrong with Nikolas Cruz? What if someone stepped in when they had the opportunity?
There is always this urgent feeling where we find the need to fix everything that is wrong after every huge tragic event that passes. We need to crack down on bullying in schools. We need to figure out a way to control how guns are getting into the wrong hands. We need harsher punishment for these individuals who act out violently. We need to find better ways to protect innocent people. We need to prevent this from happening again. The one thing that is continuously missing from this is the need for a discussion about mental health.
I have spent a good part of the day reading articles that have said the same things about the shooter in the Florida tragedy, Nikolas Cruz.. “we knew he would do something like this,” “he was a child who always had issues,” “if someone would do something like this, it definitely would be him,” “he had a history of violent behavior, so this isn’t surprising.” It has been said that Nikolas displayed all the signs that he was mentally unstable. There was proof that Nikolas was violent towards animals and humans. People acknowledged the fact that Nikolas had legally purchased several automatic weapons and wasn’t ashamed to post on social media about them or his hatred of everyone around him, inside and outside of the school district. The FBI and YouTube stated that they knew he was a threat. And yet, no one stepped in to prevent this.
Over and over again we see these individuals that are having mental health issues and are desperately in need of help, yet we do nothing about it until they act out. The warning signs are always there that these people are screaming for attention, and yet, we distance ourselves from them fearing that we might get caught up in their problems. The twisted mental images that they have present themselves in a way that they are going to lash out at some point, and yet, we choose to fear them for our own protection; until the problem becomes our own when it is too late.
Every single time a mass shooting happens in America, it is said that we need better gun control, but that goes hand in hand with mental health support. Not only do we need to be able to regulate the guns that are being issued, we need to make sure that those who have the guns are going to do no harm with them. We need to make sure those individuals out there that are having mental issues are getting the treatment that they need. While guns are a major issue, it is the health and well being of the people who own them that we need to further discuss.
It is far too easy to say that Nikolas did this because his mother recently passed away and he is now an orphan. It is easy to say that he did this in order to kill his ex-girlfriend who broke his heart. Hell, it is easy to say that he did this simply because he was bullied. It doesn’t matter now. It’s not going to help those families who are grieving for the loss of their loved one. It isn’t going to make a student feel safer going to school in this country. It isn’t going to bring peace to those who can’t wrap their heads around another mass act of violence. What matters is that this could have been prevented if someone would have stepped up to the plate and offered him help rather than pushing him away and hoping someone else would clean up the destruction he was causing, even though he didn’t want help.
It is sad that we continue to keep having these huge tragedies happen. It is senseless, it is heartbreaking, and it is downright terrifying. While we may never be able to prevent something like this from happening again, we can take the steps to encourage the discussion about mental health and signs to look for in those who might need help. As painful as this may be, Nikolas Cruz was mentally ill. The signs were there, he just didn’t want any help, so nobody wanted to step in sooner. This shooting and many of the other shootings in America could have been prevented if someone would have just stepped up.
Photo by Daniel Garcia on Unsplash
No, it’s about fucking gun control in the US. Y’all are crazy for letting it get this far. Time and time again we see innocent people lose their lives because of your ridiculous right to bear arms. Against who…? The only people that should have access to guns are law enforcement and legit farmers. Nobody else needs that shit. Why do you think we don’t have this problem in the UK?