The Parkland, Florida school massacre perpetrated by Nikolas Cruz is a classic story of “where there’s smoke, there’s usually fire”. As this SunSentinel article reviews, there were numerous signs that this was a troubled individual. What responsibility does society have for ignoring these warning signs? What you’re about to hear in this seven minute interview with the attorney representing the family that took Nikolas Cruz into their home three months ago may shock you. The reporter on the scene certainly found it incredulous if not irresponsible that Cruz was allowed to bring his A-15 rifle into the home, and it was stored in a lock box to which only he had the key.
As this Arizona Central op-ed piece states the case, Nikolas Cruz was a ticking time bomb. I raise this issue because we recently had the misfortune of being exposed (literally) to a similarly troubled young man. This individual resides in a rental unit in our small condo association. Our bylaws stipulate that dogs are not allowed on the premises, and our property manager had recently seen dog droppings in common areas. Spotting a dog on the back lawn last weekend, we approached it to determine its ownership, phone in hand to photo-document. At that moment a young man emerged and said: “That’s my brother’s dog.” When he was advised that there are no dogs allowed on the property he replied: “I’m gonna knock that fu**ing phone out of your hand. You want to take photos, take a photo of this.”
And so we did, and good thing at that. We called the police and related the incident, together with this photo which became part of their report, and he was issued a summons for indecent public exposure. As we readied to leave for the afternoon, in the pouring rain, I noticed this on the door handle of our car:
That’s right. At some point after the police left, dog feces was smeared in and around the driver’s side car handle. We went straight to the police station for this incident to be added to the report. Upon returning to our Unit, we noticed dog feces smeared on one of our screen doors visible only from the deck outside.
I don’t know what will become of this troubled young man, but we do hope that he gets the help that he needs to turn his life around. It all begins with individuals speaking up when someone in their midst behaves in a frighteningly anti-social manner. We then need a system that works in taking appropriate and effective measures to de-fuse ticking time bombs.