Serial television. Video games. Chatting with friends on Facebook. These and other habits are among the early warning signs that friends and acquaintances of accused gunman Nikolas Cruz report the troubled teen displayed before his February rampage at a Florida high school that left 17 dead and scores injured.
One neighbor, who encountered Cruz frequently in the last months before the shooting, said that Cruz mostly kept to himself.
“I’d be like, ‘hey, what are you up to’, and he’d be like ‘oh, I’m just going to go play some games’ or ‘I’m going to chat with some friends on Facebook’. He apparently really liked gaming and hanging out on the internet.”
“He really gave me the vibe that he spent as much time talking to people on virtual platforms as he did trying to engage them face-to-face.”
“He was really into some shows, he’d talk about that from time to time,” another neighbor revealed, pointing to Cruz’s interest in serial television. “I remember Game of Thrones and Walking Dead, those A&E and HBO type shows. I don’t know if he was into Netflix or not, but all things considered, I wouldn’t put it past him.”
“It was like TV was more important to him than having real friends,” the neighbor conveyed.”I get the feeling that he felt a little lonely sometimes. He was just filling his life with, you know, stuff. TV, computer devices, possessions, little trinkets, knives and things that brought him moments of joy, but nothing that really filled the void he was creating by not engaging others on a regular, healthy basis.”
Dr. Randall Kirger, Director of Sapphic Studies and adolescent psychology professor at Culvert Community College points to isolationism as a leading indicator of the type of emotional distress that leads teens into bouts of rage.
“This young man showed all the warning signs. People who watch a lot of television or Netflix, people who look at porn, people who spend a lot of time on their electronic devices or in the digital world in general, gamers, people who look at pictures of baby animals for comfort, these are the people who’ve isolated themselves so that they can create an illusion of control in all of their interpersonal activities. It creates a potent emotional cocktail, and those peopleĀ  need to be on our radar.”
“Have you ever walked past someone and said “hello” and they never looked up from their phone or their tablet, never acknowledged that they had been spoken to at all? That person has blurred the line between fantasy and reality. That’s the person who could snap at any minute, and that’s when you need to say something. Call the police. Get that person some help,” Kirger instructed.


Advertisements