Mark Figley: Plenty of blame available in Florida shooting

By Mark Figley - Guest Columnist

To the list which includes Columbine, Sandy Hook and Virginia Tech, we can now add that of Florida’s Stoneman Douglas High School. So many other schools make up the same list; a compilation of places where evil perpetrators unleashed their reigns of terror in a hale of gunfire upon unsuspecting students and staff.

Yet in the Florida case involving 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, gun opponents have seemingly shielded the alleged perpetrator at every turn from responsibility for his heinous act which left 17 dead. Instead, they have chosen to blame guns themselves and the National Rifle Association (NRA) specifically for the resulting carnage.

Never mind that Cruz posted a YouTube comment in recent months expressing his desire to “be a professional school shooter,” the FBI’s failure to properly investigate and pass along this information to it’s Florida field office, the possibility that four officers from the Broward County Sheriff’s Office took up positions outside the school during the shooting instead of going in, or that Cruz was well-known to the Sheriff’s Office based upon the up to 45 times it interacted with Cruz or his family since 2008. In addition, EMS responders were reportedly denied entry to the school by the sheriff’s staff.

Meanwhile, despite this evidence and more, gun-control advocates have spewed their venom and blame for the Florida massacre at the NRA, simply because it supports the Second Amendment and opposes new restrictions on firearms as a solution to preventing mass shootings. In addition, the left has ramped up its anti-gun efforts by circulating online petitions targeting companies that offer discounts to NRA members. Companies including MetLife, Symantec Corp., Enterprise Rental, Delta and United Airlines, SimpliSafe, Wyndam Hotels, Avis, Hertz, and Best Western have all bowed to a mob which threatens to boycott them unless they cut ties with the NRA.

But fortunately, there is some pushback.

FedEx has courageously stepped forward and told the boycotters to pound sand, while Georgia’s lieutenant governor has threatened to end state tax breaks for Delta unless they reinstate NRA discounts. The only thing worse than the corporate cave-in is that these companies have lacked the professional decency to officially explain their actions. Now, their short-sighted decisions are backfiring on them.

Founded in 1871, the NRA has consistently advocated for gun rights throughout its long, proud history. Referred to as America’s oldest continuously-operating civil rights organization, its hallmarks have been long-gun marksmanship, firearms competency and safety for a membership over 5 million strong. And for those who thought the NRA would finally go quietly into the night, foregoing its principles by throwing in the towel in light of the unrelenting onslaught it has faced, think again.

In recent days, thousands of people have gone on social media to express their support for the NRA. Many have decided to become dues-paying members in support of the Second Amendment, with others simply expressing personal outrage at the unfair portrayal of the organization. Present NRA members have even upgraded their memberships to show additional support. What is clearly apparent is that the boycott efforts to weaken the NRA are in fact helping it.

It remains to be seen whether the fallout from this effort will extend to a well-deserved reverse boycott of the companies knuckling under to George Soros and his anti-gun lobby, although the intensity of opposition to guns is increasingly based solely upon emotion and the absence of any rational thought.

Support for measures to ban guns in the United States and to destroy the NRA are akin to eliminating cars from our highways and shutting down the auto industry. After all, automobile crashes kill thousands annually, while injuring countless others. And to further prove the point, a white nationalist intentionally drove his car into a crowd of protestors at the University of Virginia this past August injuring at least 19 people and killing 1 more. Would the absence of a motor vehicle have prevented this mayhem?

Plenty of blame is available when it comes to assessing it in the case of Stoneman Douglas. Law enforcement ineptitude. Shoddy mass shooter training. Lack of mental health intervention. These were all contributing factors outside of NRA influence, making its demonization utterly pointless. And even though this blame is warranted, the ultimate responsibility lies with Nikolas Cruz.

One truth sadly remains. No single solution exists to completely eliminate school shootings in America. Still, the political opportunists among us are working to take full advantage of another senseless school tragedy. We will never know if law enforcement had been more proactive whether the carnage at Stoneman Douglas High School might have been prevented, but as NRA Executive VP Wayne LaPierre said within days of the shooting, “To stop a bad guy with a gun, it takes a good guy with a gun.”

By Mark Figley

Guest Columnist

Mark Figley is a political activist and guest columnist from Elida. Reach him a

Mark Figley is a political activist and guest columnist from Elida. Reach him a

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