Shit Happens When School Administrators and the FBI Don't Act on Tips

Without getting into the heated gun debate which will change nobody's opinion, the Florida shooting was preventable.

Three students who knew the suspected high school shooter told BuzzFeed News they reported him to school administrators for erratic behavior and threatening them after an ex-girlfriend broke up with him and began seeing another teenager.

The students who spoke to BuzzFeed News — Dana Craig, 16; her boyfriend, Matthew Rosario, 16; and Enea Sabadini, 17 — said that such a fight happened, and that it was the culmination of a jealous and angry period for Cruz because Enea began dating Cruz’s ex-girlfriend. Three other friends who asked BuzzFeed News not to use their names, for privacy reasons, confirmed their accounts.

"Im going to watch ypu bleed," read an Instagram message sent under Cruz's name to Enea in 2017, when students said Cruz was no longer at the school. "iam going to shoot you dead." Another message said Enea "stole my ex."

The FBI said it received and botched tips about Cruz’s threats of school violence. The Broward County Sheriff said his office received about 20 calls regarding Cruz over the years, and Cruz’s social media history shows an obsession with weapons and violence.

Matthew said Cruz whispered threats to him in his fifth-period engineering class. “I turned around. He would be staring, or I don’t know how to explain it, whispering threats,” Matthew said.

“It would be like: ‘I hate you,’ and ‘I’ll kill you,’ he said.

The messages to Enea said, "I am going to enjoy seeing you down on the grass," "Im going to watch ypu bleed," "iam going to shoot you dead," and included a photo of guns.

Message Images

Multisystem Failure

The F.B.I. admitted on Friday that it had failed to investigate a tip called into a hotline last month by a person close to Mr. Cruz identifying him as a gun owner intent on killing people, possibly at a school. The local police were called to Mr. Cruz’s house many times for disturbances over several years.

Howard Finkelstein, the Broward County public defender, whose office is representing Mr. Cruz, said the report was further evidence that Mr. Cruz needed serious help long before the shooting but did not get enough of it.

“This kid exhibited every single known red flag, from killing animals to having a cache of weapons to disruptive behavior to saying he wanted to be a school shooter,” Mr. Finkelstein said. “If this isn’t a person who should have gotten someone’s attention, I don’t know who is. This was a multisystem failure.”

Questions Abound

  • Why did the FBI fail to act?
  • Why did school administrators fail to act?
  • Were the administrators aware of gun threats?
  • Was Cruz's mom unaware of of his arsonal?
  • Did the kids show the gun images to any authorities?

Gun Statement

I said I would stay out of the gun debate. I changed my mind. Here is a simple statement that nearly everyone should agree with.

Mentally unstable persons, those making gun threats against others, and persons convicted of violent crimes should not own guns.

Does the NRA disagree?

Assessing the Blame

Breakdowns Everywhere

Regardless of how anyone feels about the gun issue, we clearly have a huge education issue at the FBI and by educators.

The kids should have told their parents and administrators about the gun threats.

Cruz could have been locked up had anyone followed up, anywhere along the line.

Meanwhile the FBI's top priority remains a nonsensical investigation into Russia meddling.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

while on bail

The underlying thought behind the NRA is something I agree with: keeping a government from becoming a tyrannical beast by ensuring government suppressing actions can be stopped by force... But it's 2018, and when I look at the USA it's as if the people are loosing their liberties anyway, while being well-armed all the way. In other words, this whole right to bear arms thingy only serves to give vigilant Americans a false sense of security. And there is the upkeep in human lives to pay as well. My observation is that it's never the elite class or whatever you want to call it paying the price. My condolences to the victims...

Democritus; You make a good point. Owning guns does not protect you from very much. If the Government wanted to use force against you personally, what would your gun do against an entire military? As far as losing your rights as a citizen goes, the scenario looks like this to me: 1. American forces have been interfering in other countries for decades, killing people all over world, and creating enemies. 2. When these people fight back with “terrorist” actions, your Government responds by taking away your privacy rights (and others) in the name of national security. 3. As a bonus, they incite fear in the average citizen, causing them to waste more of their hard-earned money on relatively useless guns, ammunition, accessories, shooting ranges etc. 4. All the guns available in America are a huge problem, which helps contribute to all the massacres. 5. Americans are a hundred times more likely to be killed by each other than by a foreign terrorist. It’s all so sad.

"Mentally unstable persons, those making gun threats against others, and persons convicted of violent crimes should no own guns. Does the NRA disagree?"
No Mish, the NRA agrees with you. OBVIOUSLY there is nothing worse for law-abiding gun owners than crazy people and criminals with guns. There are already laws in place to prevent the people you list from having guns. The NRA says we need to enforce those laws which we already have. Do you agree with the NRA?


It brings up the same issues:

sorry.. thought I could set numbers in the post. The issues are the same and it is about control: why are the schools not set with screening areas with controlled access points? My schools all had walls and fences around them with gates that were closed once school started. You could still enter at that point thru the admin building, but it was a controlled entry. Why are metal detectors NOT installed at this point? Arming Teachers will not help: they will not all be willing to learn how to use them safely. It is also know that even if they know how to use them they will be able to act.

The Federalization (Central) of USA continues apace...leaving local solutions to an overall (Centralized) legal regime totally helpless.

Now we have 25 mass shootings and all but one were in gun free zones. I wonder when people will get it out of their heads that these laws do not work and yet schools where teachers can be armed do not have these problems.

My biggest problem is access to the school. He was expelled and allowed to get in again to commit this heinous crime. Our schools have controlled access and metal detectors. Our teachers may conceal carry as long as they have attended the correct enhanced classes. We have never lived in a world without violence and never will. People need to wake up to the FBI not doing its job. They knew about this and still the parents point the finger at an AR rifle. Thank goodness he did not carry an automatic 308 or 30-06 as those bullets travel thru walls.


"At the time of its writing, the 2nd amendment only applied to the federal government, not state and local governements." ~Jon
I'm confused; if the Constitution did not apply to the states, then where did it apply?

This is so sad. People keep making the same comments that are made after every single mass shooting. We need to arm more teachers; we need to make our schools more secure (controlled entrances, metal detectors, security cameras, armed guards, etc.), we need to somehow prevent crazy people from getting access to guns, authorities are to blame for not doing their job (the fbi, the police, the schools). As a result the massacres will continue. Nothing will change as long as 1. America continues its love affair with guns, 2. America continues to be a society divided by hate, 3. Americans continue to believe that violence is an acceptable solution to many problems. As a result, I am not optimistic that America can end these massacres. I have said before that America would not make my top ten list of places to live (though I do like to visit), because of these three problems.

You don't have very much life experience do you? I have a friend now in Sydney and he can't wait to come live in America. I also have friends that have lived in many other countries and all say the same thing, America is the best. so where ever you live stay there. Out of the 12k gun deaths per year only about 6k are murders. the rest are suicides. So do the math. 6k deaths by gun out of 350 million. Thats .00171 % chance of being killed by a firearm in the USA

Klausmkl; your numbers are wrong. For the year 2013 there were 11,208 homicides, 21,175 suicides, 505 accidental, and 281 undetermined. I imagine the numbers get progressively worse each year since. On a comparison basis; deaths per 100,000 Australia 0.93, America 10.94. Your friend from Sydney is welcome to move to America. I suspect you are American, as you attempt to insult me by questioning my life experience. Very typical. I also have friends and family all over the world, including the US. Most are pretty happy where they live. I myself have lived in several countries in my lifetime. However, I would not want to live in the US.

Realist said: “your numbers are wrong.” Speaking of that:

“...a mass shooting might occur once or twice per year in other developed countries while they occur hundreds of times per year in the US.”

I am pretty certain that is not correct. We here in the US have been experiencing fewer than a dozen mass shootings per year. 2017 was a big year with 11 mass shootings and the Las Vegas massacre was a couple orders of magnitude worse than most.

“...throughout America’s short history, from the Wild West, the civil war, the war of 1812, presidential assassinations, and the dozens of wars America has gotten into in the last century, Americans have all grown up immersed in a culture of violence...”

You are living in Australia, right? Correct me if I am mistaken, but wasn’t Australia founded more recently than the United States? As for the wars “America has gotten into in the last century...” for the most part I agree that US leaders have deployed US troops far too eagerly into many areas not critical to US interests. I think we would do better to lead by good example than to occupy foreign soil where it suits the interests of some policy wonks. On the other hand, I do think Australians should be just a tiny bit thankful the US entered WWII. I know it’s an old and dusty laurel to mention, but you did say the last century.

“Nothing will change as long as 1. America continues its love affair with guns, 2. America continues to be a society divided by hate, 3. Americans continue to believe that violence is an acceptable solution to many problems.”

That sounds like an emotionally worded appeal with zero practical detail. As for number 3, no one I know thinks violence is an acceptable solution to many problems. I do know people who believe that killing an active shooter quickly is a good way to stop a massacre.

Hi CautiousObserver; Australia is a wonderful country. I do not live there, though I gladly would. It does make my top ten list. I used Australia as an example because Klausmkl had a friend in Sydney who wanted to move to the US. As I said, I do not want to live in the US. Your comments regarding Australia's short and sometimes violent history are also correct. Australians were enamored with guns as well. However, after a mass shooting in 1996, Australia brought in strict gun laws, which reduced the number of guns dramatically, and also reduced the amount of gun violence dramatically. Australia is a great example of what the US can do to reduce the horrific amount of gun violence. Will Americans bother to look at this example?
Regarding your belief that there are only a few mass shootings per year in the US, that is incorrect.

Mass shootings: There were 372 mass shootings in the US in 2015, killing 475 people and wounding 1,870, according to the Mass Shooting Tracker, which catalogues such incidents. A mass shooting is defined as a single shooting incident which kills or injures four or more people, including the assailant.
Source: Mass Shooting Tracker
School shootings: There were 64 school shootings in 2015, according to a dedicated campaign group set up in the wake of the Sandy Hook elementary school massacre in Connecticut in 2012. Those figures include occasions when a gun was fired but no-one was hurt.
Source: Everytown for Gun SafetyResearch

Many of the shootings on “Mass Shootings Tracker” appear to be gang related, drug related, or suicide related. I would be interested in knowing what the comparison between countries looks like when one compares those types of homicides overall, whether a gun was used or not.

Regarding “Everytown for Gun Safety,” they state that “From 2009-2016 in the U.S., there have been 156 mass shootings.” That works out to an average of 22 per year. That’s not a good number, but not hundreds per year either. I cannot immediately find the quote of “64 school shootings in 2015...[including] occasions when a gun was fired but no-one was hurt.” I did find on Wikipedia that Michael Bloomberg is the primary sponsor of that group, and his pro-confiscation position on guns is well known.

Also, when I was in middle school many years ago one of students had a parent who was a police officer who demonstrated the difficulty with witness accurately reporting a crime by staging an incident in front of the class that involved gunfire (blanks, presumably). The incident was “an occasion when a gun was fired but no-one was hurt.” Just saying...

True about gun control no better example is when Obama stated, as he did many times after the California Muslim husband and wife jihad murders, in countries where they have strict gun control these things don't happen. Wow how insightful. I don't understand what happened the following week in France where they have some of the strictest gun control laws in the world. Even many police were disarmed resulting in their unnecessary demise during the Paris attacks. Know in the fake news media happened to question this statement by Obama after that. Gun control works just ask the evil dictators of the 20th century who murdered over 200 million of their own citizens

Hey Cautious; I appreciate that you took the time to check those sites. The number of mass shootings depends on how it is defined. As shown in my post, Mass Shooting Tracker counts incidents with at least four people injured or killed by guns. Official US government numbers only consider it a mass shooting if there are at least four deaths. This causes the number of official mass shootings to be lowered significantly. So, there are still hundreds of mass shootings every year in the US, but apparently they don’t all count because some people are merely injured, not killed. I guess you can use the “official definition” if you want to pretend it’s not so bad.

"An assault is carried out by a threat of bodily harm coupled with an apparent, present ability to cause the harm." Why was Cruz not arrested based on those texts?? Forget questioning and investigating. He committed a freaking crime with those texts. Why was that not acted upon?