The Cruz Case: The State’s Kindly Cruelty

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An informative article by Paul Sperry in Real Clear Investigations shows how Nikolas Cruz, a violent lunatic who was a frequent subject of complaint at home and at school, could have maintained a record that was clean enough to allow him to buy guns and massacre 17 people at his high school in Florida.

Although he was disciplined for a string of offenses — including assault, threatening teachers and carrying bullets in his backpack — he was never taken into custody or even expelled. Instead, school authorities referred him to mandatory counseling or transferred him to alternative schools.

That did a lot of good, didn’t it?

How could Nikolas Cruz, a violent lunatic who was a frequent subject of complaint at home and at school, maintain a record that was clean enough to allow him to buy guns and massacre 17 people?

But why was he treated this way? The reason appears to be that, inspired by modern liberal educationists, officials — police honchos and the rulers of government schools — had adopted a policy of not punishing or even recording crimes committed by young people. I’m not talking about violations of some marijuana law. I mean crimes. The policy, adopted with great ceremony and self-applause, was addressed not just to “nonviolent” offenses but also to “’assault/threat’ and ‘fighting,’ as well as ‘vandalism.’”

And the district’s legally written discipline policy also lists “assault without the use of a weapon” and “battery without serious bodily injury,” as well as “disorderly conduct,” as misdemeanors that "should not be reported to Law Enforcement Agencies or Broward District Schools Police.” This document also recommends “counseling” and “restorative justice."

In other words, students and other young people could roam about, assaulting people and threatening them, with no punishment other than a silent referral to “counseling.”

The Cruz case illustrates the cruelty of modern liberal policies and tactics, which encourage crime, especially in poor and middle-class communities, and then respond to it with demands that means of self-defense (otherwise known as guns) be removed from the same communities. It illustrates the folly of conservatives’ bizarre faith in “law enforcement,” which more and more appears as highly paid but irresponsible use of force, whether manifested in “kindly” social engineering or in the brutal recklessness of assaults on unarmed civilians.

Students and other young people could roam about, assaulting people and threatening them, with no punishment other than a silent referral to “counseling.”

But the Cruz case also has a lesson for libertarians. Our genial, live-and-let-live philosophy and our well justified fear of government sometimes lead us to ignore the fact that government’s legitimate purpose (or, if you’re an anarchist, the legitimate purpose of a contractual defense agency) is to prevent or punish the initiation of force — by anyone. Gangs on the streets and lunatics in the corridors are the principal dangers to liberty that many people, especially young and vulnerable people, have to face. To ignore private dangers to liberty is to adopt the irresponsible elitism so much in evidence among the blind conservative proponents of “law and order” and the smug liberal advocates of “social justice.”




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Comments

R.R. Schoettker

Unintentionally and accidentally the school boycotts have fortuitously stumbled on the best way to achieve the physical safety of students; not for the irrelevant and nonsensical reason proposed (more of the failed policies that have been proven ineffective) but by removing them from these union/government indoctrination camps where they are incarcerated and contained in self-defense-free designated target zone holding pens to await slaughter. Changing this temporary absence to a permanent one would accomplish more for these children’s physical safety than all the multitude of present or future ‘laws’ could ever hope to. Public schools are facilities where the inmates are propagandized and indoctrinated drones who have been force-fed what their masters wish them to believe but never taught how to think for themselves. Their sell-removal would also materially aid in their genuine and actual “education”, a process that obviously is not occurring in the public schools as evidenced by their sycophantic advocacy of such intellectually bankrupt “solutions”.

Luther Jett

Liberty and security need not always be at odds; however, they are rarely in balance.

All human beings, and high school students are no exception, have rights to due process under the laws which (ideally) are designed to protect them. It's not entirely clear in the public record, but I suspect young Cruz may have been formally identified as a special education student. The "alternative" school to which he was sent, was, I believe, a special education separate day school and he could not have gotten there without a diagnosis. (Full disclosure, I am a former special educator and worked in a quasi-administrative capacity.)

Special education law includes all sorts of protections of due process. And this is, I submit, a good thing. Otherwise, the state, in loco parentis, might take upon itself to power to expel or exclude all sorts of undesirables -- kids who look different, kids who question authority, kids who don't learn as quickly as their age-peers, kids (in short) who pose no threat to anyone (except perhaps to a few adult martinets with fragile egos).

I will acknowledge that something seems to have gotten off-balance in the treatment of Mr. Cruz. We likely need to have a better way to ensure that an individual's right to due process does not trump other individuals' rights to be safe in their own schools. But no-one should imagine the solution is simple -- neither those on the left nor those on the right.

If punishment alone were a deterrent, our prisons would be nearly empty.

Fred Mora

An insecure citizenry will clamor for police surveillance and constant monitoring to stop muggings and homicides. Desperate parents will agree to soul-crushing restrictions so that Timmy won't keep coming home with bruises and ripped clothes.

So if your agenda calls for less freedom, you will be very gentle with dangerous criminals.

The worst thing is the bureaucrats who coddle juvenile criminals don't even realize that they are paving the road to Hell. But their handlers do.

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