Gun manufactures quietly target young boys using social media - Salon

When Nikolas Cruz, a then-19-year-old from Parkland, Florida, stormed the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in 2018 with a semi-automatic rifle, gunning down fourteen students and three staff in roughly six minutes, those unfamiliar with Cruz's personal history felt like the tragedy came out of nowhere. Cruz, like so many mass shooters, had exhibited all of the signs of someone to watch out for long before. Prosecutors found that Cruz had a well-documented affinity for guns and violence. He started playing violent video games as a middle school student, and sought to be a U.S. Army ranger, allegedly telling a family friend that he "wanted to join the military to kill people." Cruz was described by friends and family as being a highly impulsive teen prone to emotional outbursts often ending in violence. He was also known as an avid user of social media – particularly Instagram – which for years provided a him platform to boast about his gun collection as well as his proclivity for animal cruelty.

In February of 2017, just three days after withdrawing from Stoneman Douglas High, Cruz purchased a Smith & Wesson M&P 15 – an AR-15 style semi-automatic assault rifle that bears similarities the the military's M-16. Somehow, he'd passed a background check that included a mental health component, despite being referenced in at least 45 calls to law enforcement spanning back to 2008. A year later, shortly after the FBI was anonymously warned about his potential to carry...

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