The Corner

National Security & Defense

How Many ‘Red Flags’ Can One School Shooter Accumulate?

Display at the 2013 NRA convention in Houston, Texas. (Reuters photo: Adrees Latif)

Let’s begin with the appropriate caveats; police work is hard and police officers, detectives, and agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation have difficult jobs. Cops have limited resources, manpower, and there are only 24 hours in the day. They are humans, and human beings make mistakes. No system of law enforcement that is compatible with a free society will ever have a 100 percent success rate in catching people who seek to harm others before they strike.

But having said all that…  it’s rather unnerving to learn that someone can write, “Im going to be a professional school shooter [sic]” in a YouTube comments section, under their own legal name, and worry the Youtube account owner enough to get him to call the FBI, and yet law enforcement never ran across yesterday’s shooter: 

“We were unable to identify the person who made the comment,” said Rob Lasky said at a press conference, also saying that no other information was included with that comment which would “indicate a time, location, or the true identity of the person who made the comment.”

The comment, posted in September on a YouTube page of a Mississippi bail bondsman, was made by someone with the user name “nikolas cruz.”

The shooter had a glaring record at the school:

…Cruz had a tortured history at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High, where he had been suspended for fights and having ammunition in his backpack. He was later expelled for “disciplinary reasons,” and was re-enrolled at a Broward school for at-risk youths.

However, Cruz did not go to school Wednesday morning, delivering a cryptic remark to a friend.

“He said, ‘It’s Valentine’s Day and I don’t go to school on Valentine’s Day,’ ” said attorney Jim Lewis, who is representing the friend.

Also in the past, Cruz had received mental-health treatment but stopped going to a clinic, Broward Mayor Beam Furr told CNN and NPR.

“We missed the signs,” said Furr, a former teacher. “We should have seen some of the signs.”

The gunman’s Instagram account allegedly featured dead toads and animal cruelty.

And now the leader of the white supremacist “Republic of Florida” claims he was a member of his group.

How many more big red flags can one man accumulate?

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