FBI ignored tips on Nikolas Cruz, demonstrates the danger of complacency

Sierra Rozen

We have an epidemic on our hands. Once again, we have experienced another mass school shooting and, once again, we didn’t take the obvious steps to try and prevent it from happening. Nikolas Cruz, 19,  opened fire on Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Wednesday, killing 17 people. Though this might seem like another tragedy that was unexpected and unanticipated, it wasn’t.

There were multiple warning signs that Cruz had been planning on committing this atrocity. First, the FBI received a tip on Jan. 5th from someone close to the shooter that was concerned about the shooter’s erratic behavior. After receiving this tip, the FBI decided to do nothing about it.  

After the shooting had occured, the FBI “…determined that these protocols were not followed for the information received by the PAL on Jan. 5,” according to a statement released by the FBI. It seems to me that they are trying to cover themselves now that they have an American tragedy on their hands.

Why exactly was protocol not followed for this kind of tip? We as a country have had a problematic past with gun control and school shootings; You would think that the FBI would want to follow up on tips like these, especially considering Cruz’s other behavior that made him even more likely to follow through with his threats of violence.

It has come to light that Cruz apparently had multiple run-ins with the police to the point that there were “20 calls for services in the last few years,” says Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel. The incidents that provoked the call were apparently very violent in nature and, if the FBI had followed up on the tip they received, they might have seen his violent background and could have taken more preventative action.

There is also the fact that someone under the username “nikolas cruz” posted comments about wanting to be a professional school shooter on a Youtube video. The owner of the channel who noticed the comment went as far as reporting the comment to the FBI, but for some reason they did nothing about it. Yes, it was just a random comment under a name that could have belonged to anyone, but that fails to explain why the FBI did not dive further into the issue.

Lastly, the shooter apparently made threats and even attacked the student who started dating his ex-girlfriend. The messages that Cruz sent to her new boyfriend, Enea Sabadini, included threatening remarks such as “’I’m going to f***ing kill you” and “I am going to shoot you dead.” Cruz even physically attacked him twice, one of which was caught on tape. Again, we see the theme of the authority figures doing nothing about them.

The FBI needs to take threats like this seriously. Bail bondsman Ben Bennight said it best: “I hope people learn that when somebody throws up red flags, that they need to pay more attention to them and not just … scoff ’em off.”

When will we learn from these incidents? Are we just going to keep blindly trusting the FBI to take care of things like this, when they so clearly have not done anything to prevent future occurrences? In wake of these tragedies, always remember to report suspicious behavior, even if seems insignificant.