What Makes A School Shooter?



These are teens that feel that they have been wronged by society and have a desire for revenge. They’re children who are seen as outliers and are bullied because of this, slowly building up rage and passion for vengeance. Now this is not to make them seem heroic, this is simply their justification for their actions. Bullying and mental state are major factors for school shooters in America. In a majority of shooters, they displayed these red flags long before the shootings and had the chance to be stopped but always slipped through the cracks.

It was clear that Nikolas Cruz was not a normal child. While he had no criminal record until the shooting, it was very clear that he was emotionally disturbed. He was known to have problems controlling his temper. According to a Cruz family neighbor in 2010 he was believed to have been diagnosed with autism. Examples of his rage include how he smashed up the same neighbor’s trailer with a golf club and bashed his head on the wall while covering his ears.  He loved his mother dearly and, once she passed away in November of 2017, it severely damaged his mental state and left him feeling alone in the world. In middle school he was reported to have outbreaks of angry yelling towards others and wanted to start fights at school. Through investigation of Lynda Cruz, Nickolas’ adoptive mother, he was taking medicine for his depression and it is uncertain if he was still taking it at the time. He even posted photos on Snapchat, a popular social media app, of him cutting himself after a breakup with his girlfriend. Nikolas Cruz was not a stable child and was in desperate need of help.

His personality was a major cause of his bullying. In his time enrolled at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, he would post pictures on social media of small animals he had killed as well as his assortment of weapons. The very reason he was expelled from the school was that he sold knives on campus, revealed Ariana Lopez in an interview with ABC News. While all this was normal to Cruz, it struck all his classmates as extremely odd and off-putting. Due to this, he was only seen as “the weird kid” that no one really wanted to be around. He was even involved in a fight regarding his ex-girlfriend two years before the shooting occurred. A crisis unit was called after the conflict and it concluded that Cruz was not a threat to himself or others. Despite killing seventeen individuals in cold blood on Valentine’s Day, he remains stoic and unfeeling in his imprisonment reported by CNN. He just lies down in his bed with a blank stare and acts like nothing ever happened. He displays no remorse or guilt for his actions. This nineteen-year-old child is not mentally healthy, which distorts his world view and brought him to this devastating conclusion.

The ability to gain weapons is the icing on the cake for a shooter. Concerning Cruz, he was completely eligible for a firearm sale by having no criminal record and being one year above the age requirement for gun purchases. Ms. Deschamps, the caretaker of the two boys after the passing of Lynda Cruz, reported to the NYTimes how she had no way to stop Nikolas Cruz from owning a gun he purchased himself. She called 911 after finding out Cruz buried his gun and the police had no issue against this, stating that it was his right to do so. Ms. Deschamps also revealed how Cruz would put a gun to his brother’s and mother’s heads during arguments. “I told them that Nikolas was 19 years old, but he felt mentally and emotionally as similar as a 12-year-old.”

For more information on this topic, here are the sources used in the article:

“What Nickolas Cruz’s Life is like in jail”

“She Gave Nikolas Cruz an Ultimatum: The Gun Goes, or You Do. He Chose the Gun.”

“Nickolas Cruz was investigated after cutting himself on Snapchat, state report shows”

“Young woman claims she reported school shooter for stalking”

“Nickolas Cruz, Florida Shooting Suspect, Showed ‘Every Red Flag'”




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