After the Parkland mass shooting on Wednesday that left at least 17 innocent people dead, many sought to politicize the tragic event.
False reports surfaced that spread rumors about the shooter’s potential identity. Inevitably, arguments about the shooter, Nikolas Cruz, appeared, arguing about his voter registration (not confirmed to be Democrat), whether he had Islamic extremist interests, why he was wearing “antifa” gear, and why in one photo he had on a MAGA hat.
One particular story attempting to tie Nikolas Cruz to white nationalist groups has caught the attention of the organized left, who are attempting to weaponize it against their political adversaries. In order to be clear, white supremacists are vile extremists who deserve to be shunned. So are journalists who deliberately spread false reports based on shoddy reporting.
As the Daily Mail reported in plain language on social media “Nikolas Cruz was a member of a white nationalist group.”
This headline became the more hedged on page headline, “White supremacist says school shooter Nikolas Cruz was a member of nationalist group and came to training exercises.”
The Daily Mail reported:
A spokesperson for a white nationalist organization is claiming that Nikolas Cruz was among the group’s members.
Jordan Jereb said in multiple interviews on Thursday that the 19-year-old shooter who killed 17 people in his Valentine’s Day massacre was a member of Republic of Florida.
Among the many aims of that group is to make Florida its own white-ethno state.
The Tallahassee Democrat, however, gave us the rest of the story: “Local law enforcement: No ties between militia and school shooter.” The newspaper reports:
Local law enforcement sources have so far not found a connection between accused Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz and a Tallahassee-based paramilitary group.
Leon County law enforcement sources told the Tallahassee Democrat that they could not find information linking Cruz to the Republic of Florida Militia, as first reported by the group’s self-proclaimed leader Jordan Jereb.
Leon County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Grady Jordan said investigative work Thursday did not yield any connections.
“We are still doing some work but we have no known ties between the ROF, Jordan Jereb or the Broward shooter,” Jordan said.
Whether or not any more information comes out regarding Parkland shooting suspect Nikolas Cruz, it is remarkable how the news media jump to politicize such horrific tragedies.
Many questions remain to be answered, such as: If Cruz is a white Hispanic, what would he be doing joining a white supremacist group? How would other white supremacist members be likely to treat someone like Cruz?
There is still much to learn about the horrible shooting in Parkland, Florida. Reporting hearsay as fact does not help the nation heal, and it certainly only adds to the anger and confusion. The news media must exercise extreme caution, especially under such tragic circumstances.
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