As I look through the screen and see the face of Nicholas Cruz, the Parkland school shooter, and what who’s the best team has to say about the crimes he committed, I am filled with anger and frustration.
I agree that it is very sad that Nikolas had a very difficult upbringing from the beginning and struggled with multiple disabilities due to drug use and alcoholism.
The defensive position that Mr. Cruz was given medication, an IEP, and ESE services as a result of his poor upbringing in Broward County schools is not what I agree with. That’s why he was so angry and frustrated and couldn’t express it, so he killed 17 innocent people, people who had lives ahead of them, regardless of their age when they were murdered.
Throughout the trial, the defense team is doing the same thing society has done to those with disabilities for years. They are perpetuating the ableism by stating that people with disabilities have bad upbringings and can’t live in society due to the obstacles and challenges they face. Look at Nikolas Cruz as an example .
Having multiple learning disabilities does not give a person the right to commit a crime and receive sympathy from others. This is because they do not understand what it’s like to live with the disability.
A person with a disability or mental illness shouldn’t turn around and take their pain on others when he or she is labeled as an outcast. A person with mental illness does not necessarily buy a gun at a gun store and kill 17 people who have nothing to do with the difficulty you are experiencing in society.
While Nikolas Cruz’s defense team is making it seem like he had disabilities despite pleading guilty, he shouldn’t receive the harshest punishment since he had a rough life and faced obstacles and challenges.
Being a Broward County student up until the tenth grade, I faced many challenges and obstacles during my time there. The fact is, I figured out that attending Broward County schools was not the best learning environment for me, so my parents gave me the chance to attend Connexus Academy, and it was there that I graduated with a standard high school diploma.
I was pulled out of school by my parents when they realized that I had an issue with that loan environment. However, Nicholas Cruz’s parents were nowhere to be found. His parents were old and his father passed away when he was very young. During his childhood, he saw multiple psychiatrists, and I still believe that the mother was not a good parent with regard to alternative options for her child, so this could’ve been prevented.
The psychiatrist in the school told her do not buy him a gun what does she do goes and gets him an airsoft gun and doesn’t follow through with any of the psychiatrist recommendations or any of the schools recommendations and he just goes downhill.
When you are 18 years old, even though you are attending high school, you are a legal adult and can attend your IEP meetings without a parent or School Advocate present for you to help you understand the process because the schools won’t provide one and if parents take part, the children will just get lost.
In the case of a child who has a learning disability and cannot comprehend what a 504 plan or an IEP is, this isn’t even right or fair. Nicholas Cruz signed the piece of paper when he turned 18, basically waiving his rights to receive services that should not have been allowed based on his records. This was because he could not handle the main stream, he always had to be in a cluster.
When I read the ESE Department’s head’s letter, I wondered how they allowed him to sign over his rights to receive services when they knew he wasn’t mentally ready for anything. Nevertheless, you got swept under the rug because his IEP suggested that he be placed in an alternative school.
It was in 2017 that a psychiatrist advised Nick to replace an assistant living facility where he would be monitored by a psychiatrist. He did that, but it was once again ignored and you wonder why this happened because, from what I can tell, Nicholas loved people around him, but they weren’t equipped to handle someone like him, i.e. his parents.
In spite of the fact that I sympathize with Nicolas and understand how difficult life is for him, I still do not think that your upbringing should be used as a reason for why you did this, especially since you have included disability in it. Honestly, I think this trial on television is just another sign of the stigma that continues to exist for people with disabilities. People are making us harder in society by not understanding autism, ADHD, mental illnesses, etc. What is this trial? They will believe that people like us are bound to do terrible horrific things and they could use the disability card to get a lesser sentence. Crime does not discriminate if you do the time then you have to do the crime.
My opinion is that using the disability card as a defense is offensive to those with disabilities, since we all want to be treated equally, not to have people feel sorry for us because we have obstacles and challenges to overcome, and I feel like this trial is an excellent example of how stigmas like this need to be fought.