A number of copy-cat gun incidents have prompted arrests around the country since the deadly shooting in Parkland, Florida, on Feb.14. Nikolas Cruz, 19, is accused of 17 counts of premeditated murder for killing teachers and students at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. Fourteen persons were wounded. On Feb.15, Broward Sheriff Scott Israel told reporters that several threats were made on other schools since the murders.
Florida shooter Nikolas Cruz was abandoned by his biological parents and adopted by a couple who gave him, and his adoptive brother, a home. However, his adoptive father died approximately 10 years ago, and his adoptive mother died in November. Cruz had been on medications and had exhibited behavioral issues before the Feb.14 incident. Additionally, law enforcement had been summoned to his home by his mother numerous times because of his violent tendencies. He was expelled from the school where he eventually carried out the attack to which he has confessed.
Police announced on Sunday the arrest of a Lauderdale teenager who is accused of posting a message on Instagram with threats to kill people at several schools in Broward County. A statement from local law enforcement noted,"The teen appeared to be remorseful and claimed his post was a joke aimed at scaring his cousin." He is facing a count of sending a written threat to kill -- a third-degree felony in Florida.
Ostyn Jacob Williams
In Midland, Texas, 17-year-old Ostyn Jacob Williams was arrested on Feb. 14 for possession of a firearm. He is facing a third-degree felony weapons charge and a $10,000 bond. He bonded out on Feb. 15. School district police received a tip that there was a student on campus carrying a firearm. The school was put on lockdown. Officers later found a .40-caliber Taurus semi-automatic weapon behind a dictionary in a classroom. Williams had been seen with a pistol in his waistband, but told officers that he gave away the pistol to an unknown person.
In Pennsylvania, State police in Somerset County stated that numerous parents and grandparents reported threats being made on Friday to Shade Junior-Senior High School in Shade Township, CBS Pittsburgh reported. A 17-year-old Stoystown male reportedly said that "he was going to shoot up the school and the people in it." The threats were made during school hours from Monday through Friday last week. Arrested on Sunday, the suspect is now in a juvenile detention facility. Police have opened an investigation for possible terroristic threats.
Two Rockland High School teenagers in Massachusetts were arrested for alleged threats to "shoot up the school," according to CBS Boston. Police in Rockland stated that the two boys, ages 14 and 15, called a Boston TV news station to issue threats against their school. The pair was arrested with half an hour. They will face arraignment on Tuesday.
In Oklahoma, several teens were arrested in Oklahoma City and elsewhere for bringing firearms to school. One is a 16-year-old being held in a treatment facility who had allegedly drafted a "kill list" that named specific individuals he intended to attack.
In Ohio, a 14-year-old student was arrested on Feb. 14 for having a gun at the Ross High School in Hamilton. In Wisconsin, a Columbus teen was arrested for having a firearm in his car.
Elsewhere in the country, arrests of students in possession of firearms have been reported Arizona, Missouri, Maryland, Vermont, and Chicago.
How murderers copy each other
Clinical psychologist Jordan Peterson has explained that the the killers in Columbine, Colorado, of more than a decade ago had planned a more murderous rampage and knew that there would be broad media coverage. “The people who engage in these kinds of mass murders, they know about the other mass murderers and are engaged in a competition as to who can do the most brutal thing and the fastest, something like that. So you can be thinking about just people with good intentions that somehow have gone wrong. If you ever meet someone who is like that, and you think that, you’re just a tree with ripe fruit to be plucked.”
Spero News writer Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.