HEADlines: Life or Death for Nikolas Cruz?

Scales of justice
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Life or Death for Nikolas Cruz?

by Nancy E. Head

“See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men.” I Thessalonians 5:15 KJV~

On February 14, 2018, Nikolas Cruz killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Now he awaits news of his fate: Will he will serve life in prison or receive the death penalty?

Before his murder spree, Cruz published a post about another mass killer stating, “Elliot Rodger will not be forgotten.”

On May 23, 2014, Rodger killed his two housemates and a friend—then went on a shooting spree near the UC Santa Barbara campus. At the end of the day, he had wounded 14 and killed six. He then killed himself.

In a YouTube video recorded between killings, Rodger said, “You denied me a happy life. And in return, I will deny all of you life. It’s only fair.”

Rodger and Cruz described themselves as incels–involuntarily celibate. Rodger was 22 at his death. Cruz was 19 when he committed his crimes. Cruz’s father died when Cruz was six. Rodger’s parents divorced when he was seven. Both killers had suffered the “injustice” of female rejection.

Amia Srinivasan points out that in 2017 Reddit:

—an online discussion forum website—shut down a 40,000-member “incel” support group (Incel means involuntarily celibate)— ”for people who lack romantic relationships and sex.” Reddit also banned a second such group for calling for, among other proposals, reduced penalties for the crime of rape.

Incels are an unexpected consequence of the sexual revolution. The marginalized. The lonely. The excluded. The Elliot Rodgers and the Nikolas Cruzes. And others.

It’s a situation Aldous Huxley avoided in his futuristic masterpiece Brave New World. Huxley’s “civilized society” encouraged sex and conditioned children to understand that “everyone belongs to everyone.”

Huxley even created an alpha male character who was less than perfect. Bernard Marx was smaller and less attractive than other men of his social rank–as was Elliot Rodger.

Yet unlike Elliot, Bernard still had his share of the action–so to speak. Conditioned to always say yes, women accommodated even Bernard. There was no rejection.

Therefore in Huxley’s book, there were no Elliot Rodgers or Nikolas Cruzes feeling that they had to kill in order to even the tilted score of life.

Some say, “Just take away the guns.” But that would not have saved three of Rodger’s victims. He stabbed his housemates and friend. He could have continued to wreak havoc with a knife–but he chose to attack his other victims with a gun.

Draconian gun laws may have reduced his casualty list. But they do nothing to heal the heart that tells itself everyone else is getting something I can’t have. They do nothing to keep that heart from determining to find revenge through some kind of violence.

We’ve taught more than one generation that their desires and inclinations trump all else. We have reached a shocking place, but we cannot claim to be surprised.

We have simply reached the logical conclusion of the sexual revolution.

If sex is free–all are entitled to participate.

Perhaps it would be a simple thing to teach young children to respect others first and themselves next. To teach them that respecting yourself means not giving yourself away casually. To fill them with enough compassion and respect for others that the idea of forcing themselves on another might become unthinkable–at least less thinkable.

There is much discussion over whether schools do enough to end bullying. Some say, no, those administrations look the other way. Another argument says they do all they can. Both are true depending on where you look.

Indeed, schools have to do more than put up posters and hold anti-bullying assemblies, as they avert their gaze from reality. They have to teach that social responsibility is more important than self.

They have to be willing to suffer the discomfort of a difficult public relations scenario. They have to admit that their school isn’t as safe as they pretend it is.

Moms and dads, especially those who parent bullying children, must accept responsibility also. If children hear a message at school and home (and church) as was the case in America in the past, the message has a better chance of sinking in.

We will never be able to take away enough guns and knives to stop all violence. Ending violence requires us to change hearts. It’s a simpler matter than confiscating property. A simple matter–but a harder task. It requires us to face the truth about "free" sex.

Sexual freedom is a lie. It doesn’t give. It only takes. It does not free. It only binds. And its chains forge one scar upon another.

Winston Churchill once said, “Americans can be trusted to do the right thing–once other possibilities have been exhausted.”

How many more will die before we finally admit to that right thing?

Nikolas Cruz faces judgment here and now. He will face judgment again, as we all will sooner or later, in eternity.

He alone holds responsibility for the crimes he committed. He will pay with his life–either in prison or via a lethal needle.

We can hold him accountable.

But nothing will change until we hold ourselves accountable for the culture we have cultivated that seeks to disarm the wounded but never heal their wounds.


About the Author

Nancy E. Head at Mustard Seed Sentinel

Author Nancy E. Head was a single mother with five children under the age of 14 when many in the Church came to her aid. Her story illustrates common problems in our society such as the fracturing of families and communities, reflecting a splintering Church. Alienated families and a riven Church cannot minister as effectively to their own members or others until they find accord. Nancy is the author of Restoring the Shattered: Illustrating Christ's Love Through the Church in One Accord. Connect with Nancy on her website, Twitter, and Facebook.

You can read Nancy’s HEADlines column on the 4th Saturday each month here at Mustard Seed Sentinel.