(Personal analysis based on my studies and experience as school psychologist and family life consultant as well as the articles of S.E. Smith “Don’t Blame the Mentally Ill. Blame the Guns” and MercatorNet article of Carolyn Moyniham “Isn’t father loss part of Nikolas Cruz’s story?”).
What makes young men like Nikolas Cruz become homicidal?
1.- Lynda and her husband, Roger P. Cruz, bought a house in 1996 in Parkland, Florida. Years later, they would adopt Nikolas Cruz and his brother, Zachary. In 2004,
A multitude of issues may arise when children become aware that they have been adopted. Children may feel grief over the loss of a relationship with their birthparents and the loss of the cultural and family connections that would have existed with those parents. Such grief feelings may be triggered at many different times throughout the child’s life including when they first learn of their adoption, during the turbulent teen years, upon the death of other family members, or even as when becoming a spouse or parent. There can also be significant concerns about feeling abandoned and “not good enough, ” coupled with specific hurt feelings over the birthmother’s choice to “reject” the child” to “give me away” or “not wanting me enough.”
In addition, as rated by their teachers and tests, adopted children tend to have worse behavioral and academic outcomes in kindergarten and first grade than birth children do, according to a new research brief from the Institute for Family Studies written by psychologist Nicholas Zill. One clue might be attachment theory, which holds that a strong bond with at least one nurturing adult—usually the mother—is essential to a child thriving. That adult can be the adoptive parent, but the adoption itself might mean that the bond with the birth parent was disrupted or never formed, Zill writes. In the worst cases, these children might have experienced a traumatic event prior to their adoption. Early trauma can affect the parts of the brain that control mood and learning.
2.- Nikolas and his younger brother Zachary “were raised largely by their mother, especiall yafter their father, Roger P. Cruz, died suddenly in 2004 at the age of 67.”
A study published last year found that whatever the reason for separation – imprisonment, death, separation or divorce – the loss of a father even has a biological effect on a child, especially in the case of boys and if the child is younger than 5 – the age approximately at which Cruz lost his father. As sociologist David Popenoe wrote on the father-son relationship: “fathers are important to their sons as role models. They are important for maintaining authority and discipline. And they are important in helping their sons to develop both self-control and feelings of empathy toward others, character traits that are found to be lacking in violent youth.”
3.- Mrs. Cruz died on November 1st, 2017, due to health complications with Pneumonia. According to certain reports, her adoptive son, Nikolas Cruz, did not take well the passing of his mother.
In his later teenage years, Nikolas Cruz, became a troublesome individual to deal with and abused his mother in several occasions. During the episodes, she could not bear the violent outbursts, threats, and destructive behavior Many times, Nikolas acted in defiance against his mother and one time, he injured her with a plastic tube/hose that is used on a vacuum cleaner. Nikolas also behaved destructively as he threw chairs, dog bowls, and in one instance threw a drinking glass around the home.
The death of his only close family member who gave him sense of meaning and security probably was devastating for Nikolas. According to the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Counseling Center, factors such as the quality of the relationship, the amount of “unfinished business”, feelings of guilt, as well as the difficulties of personality of the bereaved can lead to different ways of coping with grief.
Nikolas became more needy of help, his acts of violence were his screams for help and his expressions of grief . Nikolas was really alone, misunderstood, rejected, angry towards himself and towards those who surround him.
4.- And the school system Nikolas attended since kindergarten….?
Are SCHOOLS in a position to make a difference to people like Nikolas Cruz?
What about his teachers and support staff at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School?
Was there no adult in that huge school of 3000 students who could be a friend, mentor or father figure to Nikolas, who could make the troubled adolescent feel accepted? Was there a professional who COULD teach social and emotional skills?
HOPE President Trump has understood his mistake when he repealed an Obama regulation that would have made it easier to block the sale of firearms to people with certain mental illnesses.
HOPE this painful event become a sign for the FBI so they act in information like the one they received about a comment on YouTube suggesting Cruz wanted to be “a professional school shooter” — especially in the light of his psychological and behavioral history, for which there were ample witnesses.