They dropped the ball, and it cost one community a world of pain.
That would be the FBI, in the case of Parkland, Florida school shooter, Nikolas Cruz.
Earlier Friday, the FBI revealed just how big of a mistake they made. It was less than 6 weeks before the horrific events went down at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, when they were warned, but didn’t follow the proper procedures for investigating threats.
From NBC News:
In a statement, the FBI said “a person close to” Cruz called the agency’s public tip line on Jan. 5 and left information on 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.”
The tip should have been “assessed as a potential threat to life” and forwarded to the bureau’s Miami field office for investigation. “We have determined that these protocols were not followed,” the agency said.
Armed with an AR-15 that he’d bought legally a year earlier, Cruz walked into the high school on Valentine’s Day, pulled a fire alarm, in order to get people out of the classrooms and into the hallway, and then opened fire.
As a result of his actions, 17 people were killed, and a score of others were injured (six were said to be in critical condition).
FBI Director Christopher Wray said in that statement that the bureau is trying to figure out how the mistake occurred, particularly because the bureau asks the public to “be vigilant” against threats and share them with authorities.
He also acknowledged the pain the revelation will cause victims, survivors and their families.
“We have spoken with victims and families, and deeply regret the additional pain this causes all those affected by this horrific tragedy,” Wray said.
In September, a YouTube user reported to the FBI that another user with the name “Nikolas Cruz” commented on one of his videos that he was going to be a “professional school shooter.”
YouTube took the comment down, and eventually suspended the user’s account for what it called “repeated violations,” of the violent, aggressive nature.
Since the shooting, students and teachers and former neighbors have described a troubled, recently orphaned young man fascinated with guns and killing animals who had been expelled from Douglas for carrying bullets in his backpack and for fighting.
He obviously had so many problems, and it’s almost as if there is a script to follow, with nearly every mass shooting.
Students and citizens of that community are understandably reeling, knowing the FBI had been warned, but failed to take the right steps.
Chris Grady, a 19-year-old senior who survived the shooting, said the victims “might be alive today if they had done their job.”
“Our government is failing us,” Grady said. “They need to do their freaking jobs. I’m sorry, but this is so infuriating.”
Moving forward, we can expect more training and an emphasis on follow-up with the bureau.
Unfortunately, there are 17 families that all the extra training can’t help.