By James F. Tracy
Over the past several years certain certain US mass shootings receive round-the-clock coverage yet often possess curious features which are ignored and merely accepted “as reported” by less-than-trustworthy corporate media. Bizarre circumstance and the sometimes inexplicable actions of officials, victims, eyewitnesses and would-be culprits give rise to concern that government agencies and news media act in certain ways to embellish some incidents while short-circuiting the dissemination of vital information.
In the flood of information following such heavily-covered tragedies there are sometimes enough anomalies in routine reporting to develop serious cause for concern and intensified scrutiny. The Marjory Stoneman Douglas mass shooting is one such event. Below is a list and brief discussion of what this author believes to be the most glaring inconsistencies and overall problems evident in information and coverage of the Parkland incident that necessitate further consideration of the overall event.
1. Missing Surveillance Video. Ensconced in a locale boasting a $600,000 media property value. Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School is among the most modern and well-funded in Florida. Like other schools throughout the state, the campus was equipped with a comprehensive video monitoring system of buildings’ interior passages and exterior walkways. The Broward County School District is withholding video taken during the February 14 ,2018 mass shooting at the school that could reveal exactly how the event transpired. It appears that some video may have been obtained by the Miami Herald, which posted it with the headline, “Video Shows Blood-Smeared Floor, Body Inside Douglas Classroom.” The article has since been removed from the newspaper’s website.
2. Scripted Lines? A Stoneman Douglas high school junior and ROTC member, Colton Haab, who sought to participate in a CNN TownHall broadcast on February 21, claimed the cable network provided him with a list of “scripted questions.” “I expected to be able to ask my questions and give my opinions on my questions,” Haab explained to local ABC affiliate, WPLG-TV. “CNN had originally asked me to write a speech and questions, and it ended up being all scripted.” Haab said he was asked to prepare a speech and to ask about school safety and the prospect of veterans being employed as armed security guards in schools. The high schooler’s ideas and queries were prohibited by CNN. After being told he had to ask a scripted question, Haab decided not to attend the event. “I don’t think that it’s going get anything accomplished. It’s not gonna ask the true questions that all the parents and teachers and students have,” Haab said.
Shortly thereafter Haab stated on FoxNews that based on his experience he believed all of the questions asked by Stoneman Douglas students and community members at the CNN TownHall were scripted.
3. Manufactured Dissent? Stoneman Douglas High students impacted by the event were rapidly mobilized by Democratic political leaders to advocate for the Party’s foremost rallying cries–strengthened gun control laws. News media including CNN and state and federal Democratic Party operatives, including Florida Representative and former Democratic Party National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, advised key Stoneman students in organizing the #NeverAgain movement and arranging protests, including a lobbying trip to Tallahassee to meet with Florida legislators. Parkland, however, is represented by Democratic Representative Ted Deutch, another staunch gun control advocate.
I am closely monitoring the developing situation at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Broward County. The victims are weighing heavy in my heart as is the courage of the first responders on the scene. This senseless violence must end.
— Debbie Wasserman Schultz (@DWStweets) February 14, 2018
— Debbie Wasserman Schultz (@DWStweets) February 16, 2018
Our kids will lead the way. The energy behind this march will be powerful. Our community will join with communities across America and mark my words, we will be relentless until we stop guns from killing more of our children. Join us. https://t.co/WltLy4vfkN
— Debbie Wasserman Schultz (@DWStweets) February 18, 2018
According to the New Yorker, Wasserman Schultz and her aides touched base with Stoneman junior and NeverAgain leader-in-training Jaclyn Corin on February 15–one day after the shooting. “Conversations with state representatives followed, and preliminary arrangements were made to bus a hundred Douglas students and fifteen chaperones to Tallahassee to address the state legislature. Yesterday, I asked Corin if she had been politically active before the shooting. ‘Not even a little bit,’ she said.”
Corin appears especially astute having absolutely no previous experience in issue-oriented politics. “The action has been so quick,” the 17-year-old told the Naples Daily News. “And that’s necessary because this is a fresh and open wound and we can’t let it close up. We need to do something about it before it just disappears like it always has.”
4. Experts Speak Out. Those with military and school administrative experience have begun to step forward and question various troubling elements of the Stoneman Douglas shooting. For example, John Bouchell, a militarily trained weapons expert, security expert and school administrator based in Florida tweeted at length about how Parkland differed greatly from his own experiences defending his school during an active shooter event.
My name is John Bouchell and I am not a bot. I was in school administration after spending a stint in the military. Let me explain: As usual, I was a teacher, a coach and later became an administrator. I worked at all three levels of public school in administration.
— JohnnyBravo (@JohnBouchell) February 21, 2018
5. Reports of Multiple Shooters. In numerous interviews Stoneman Douglas students asserted there was more than one shooter in Building 12 as the event proceeded. Parkland student Jalen Martin claims the United States Secret Service visited the high school’s campus weeks before the incident, altering the active shooter response protocol. Is this why Douglas school resource officer and Sheriff’s Deputy Scot Peterson remained outside the classroom building as the carnage ensued? Another student claimed she saw and spoke to alleged shooter Nikolas Cruz in Building 12 during the event. A Stoneman Douglas teacher told MSNBC faculty were informed there would be an active shooter drill sometime during the spring semester, but were left in the dark as to the actual date or time of the exercise.
6. Crime Scene Demolition. Less than two days after the tragic shooting Broward County Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie proposed demolishing Building 12—the crime scene itself. The Florida State Legislature almost immediately agreed to help fund the tear down. One must ask why, just hours after the brutal deaths of 17 youths, plans for evidence destruction and a new memorial are even being pondered. “Just looking at that building and talking about it now, I have goosebumps out to my head [sic],” Runcie said. “I don’t know how teachers, students could get back in that building. I don’t even know how we’re going to open the whole campus, period.” Stoneman Douglas will join a long line of mass casualty event scenes, including Columbine, Aurora, and Sandy Hook, that have been destroyed.
7. Abandoned Law Enforcement Protocols. On the afternoon of February 14 Stoneman Douglas school resource officer and Broward Sheriff’s Deputy Scot Peterson heard gunshots in Building 12 and rushed there but waited outside for four minutes as the massacre ensued. Broward Sheriff Scott Israel, who could not explain Peterson’s behavior, acknowledged Peterson’s inaction was captured in campus surveillance video and suspended the deputy without pay. Israel thereafter told the press, “We’re not going to to disclose the video at this time and we may never disclose the video.”
Two additional deputies under Israel’s command Edward Eason and Guntis Treijs, were placed on administrative duties pending further investigation. Both deputies participated in 23 calls for service to Cruz’s home and may not have followed protocol.Two other Broward Sheriff’s deputies are under review for failing to further investigate repeated complaints concerning Cruz that may have prevented the shooting, WPLG reports. In 2014 Peterson was selected by Parkland as school resource officer of the year. He was in another campus building when he heard the initial shots.
Officer Scot Peterson didn’t engage Nikolas Cruz. I can only assume that this officer is a coward. pic.twitter.com/2CRER6fx8p
— Based Monitored 🇺🇸🇮🇪 (@BasedMonitored) February 22, 2018
“I’m completely disgusted,” said Broward County Commissioner Michael Udine, a former mayor of Parkland whose daughter attends Stoneman Douglas. “There is nobody in authority talking to each other and every organization that had a chance to stop this completely failed our children from top to bottom.”
8. Fight to Establish Official Narrative. There is a very well-defined struggle to establish and defend the official government/law enforcement narrative of the Stoneman Douglas mass shooting and prevent any questioning of this storyline. This campaign is being led in part by cable news giant and Time Warner subsidiary CNN. Alternative media have been banished from YouTube for sharing differing views and analyses of the Parkland shooting and earlier mass casualty events. A recent “Community Guidelines” policy change provides for the Google subsidiary to eliminate any videos it perceives as “targeting the victims of tragedies,” thus de facto censoring many important critical analyses of such events.
On February 23 CNN directly petitioned YouTube to shutdown a channel run by libertarian commentator Alex Jones, claiming that its alternative reportage and commentary on the Parkland shooting runs afoul of YouTube’s policies. “On Wednesday, YouTube removed a video from InfoWars’ page for violating its policies on harassment and bullying,” CNN argued in a piece targeting “conspiracy theories.” “The video was titled, ‘David Hogg Can’t Remember His Lines In TV Interview.'” CNN reporters then “identified three similar YouTube videos from InfoWars and asked if they also violated YouTube’s policies. The YouTube spokesperson said the videos CNN sent were flagged to the policy team for review.” Under YouTube’s policy, if a user receives three strikes in a three month period their account is terminated. Such advocacy toward eliminating a media competitor and defending an official government narrative of such a controversial and still-unfolding event is especially concerning.
In another instance Isaac Green, a thoughtful and popular commentator running the Anti-School YouTube channel who proffered an array of unconventional perspectives on Stoneman Douglas and political controversies, had all of his videos removed by YouTube. Shortly thereafter Google locked Green out of his account entirely.
9. FBI Involvement. Ongoing internal investigations on law enforcement responses to the threats Cruz posed already reveal how the FBI alongside local law enforcement repeatedly failed to follow up on reports of the supposed assailant’s unusual behavior, weapons ownership, and disturbing online media posts. The FBI’s failure in this regard was condemned by Florida Governor Rick Scott and the US Justice Department. The bureau admitted an individual close to Cruz phoned the FBI’s Public Access Line on January 5 to report information concerning Cruz’s gun ownership, desire to kill people, unpredictable behavior and ominous social media posts. The party also stated that Cruz could likely carry out a mass shooting. The information was never forwarded to the FBI’s Miami office and investigated further.
Or was it? According to investigative journalist Trevor Aaronson, throughout the so-called “War on Terror” the FBI has been directly involved in cultivating terrorists through its network of informants, and often encouraging their activities. “Our nation’s top law enforcement agency, traditionally focused on investigating crimes after they occur,” writes Aaronson, “now operates more as an intelligence organization that tries to preempt crimes before they occur. But how many of these would-be terrorists would have acted were it not for an FBI agent provocateur helping them?” Was Cruz manipulated to take up arms against his Stoneman Douglas peers? Or, was he somehow maneuvered to the scene, as the observations of one eyewitness suggests, while other more capable gunmen carried out the slaughter?
10. Antipsychotic Drugs. According to the Florida Department of Children and Families, Nikolas Cruz was receiving mental health services from Henderson Behavioral Health and accordingly “taking medication” for alleged psychiatric ailments. In 2016 Cruz’s adoptive mother Lynda Cruz stated that her son suffered from depression, ADHD, and autism, suggesting how Cruz was regularly consuming a cocktail of potent drugs that may have impacted his behavior and judgement prior to the shooting. The psychoactive drugs used to treat depression and ADHD have profoundly complex and potentially debilitating side effects when taken separately that are only compounded if administered in unison. These include agitation, hyperactivity, psychosis, and are further linked to suicidal and homicidal actions. Given the mass media’s heavy dependence on drug company advertising, the role that psychiatric drugs may play in mass shootings is almost always downplayed in reportage on such events. “The drugs aren’t the only causative factor,” journalist and author Jon Rappoport observes, “but they produce what I call the Johnny Appleseed effect throughout society. Sprinkle enough of the drugs among enough people and you get otherwise unexplainable violence popping up—in schools, in workplaces. The psychiatric plague eats out the country from the inside.”