I just noticed this sign on a transit platform. Obviously, it's about preventing suicide by train. I hadn't noticed these signs before and wondered if I just hadn't been paying attention. A google later. Nope. They're a new addition to platforms. Story.
“I know he’s going to explode,” a woman who knew Mr. Cruz said on the F.B.I.’s tip line on Jan. 5. Her big worry was that he might resort to slipping “into a school and just shooting the place up.” Forty days later, Mr. Cruz is accused of doing just that, barging into his former high school in Parkland, Fla., and shooting 17 people to death.
Three months before the Feb. 14 massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, a family friend dialed 911 to tell the Palm Beach County sheriff’s office about Mr. Cruz’s personal arsenal. “I need someone here because I’m afraid he comes back and he has a lot of weapons,” the friend said.
Mr. Cruz, 19, himself called the authorities just after Thanksgiving, describing how he had been in a fight and was struggling with the death of his mother. “The thing is I lost my mother a couple of weeks ago, so like I am dealing with a bunch of things right now,” he said in a childlike voice, sounding agitated and out of breath.
The authorities have acknowledged mishandling numerous warning signs that Mr. Cruz was deeply troubled. There were tips to the F.B.I. about disturbing social media posts. There were visits by social services to his home. There were dozens of calls to 911 and the local authorities, some mentioning fears that he was capable of violence.
The rest of the story details threats and actions that could form the bases for civil commitment or at least criminal arrest, so it isn't clear why Cruz wasn't taken into custody by police. Perhaps no one was willing to testify to his actions because they didn't want to see him arrested or because they feared retaliation from Cruz. Or the police declined to follow up for reasons unknown.
When I first heard that no action was taken against Cruz after numerous warnings, I suspected it was because Cruz hadn't committed an actual crime or because his statements and actions didn't constitute sufficient basis for involuntary civil commitment. Civil commitment is more difficult than many people believe. But after reading the Times piece, it looks to me like there was a basis for arrest and a reasonable basis for at least a brief hospitalization and assessment, what we'd call a 3-day in my state.
One additional observation: I've heard people on line calling Cruz a sociopath and a psychopath. Could be, but I see something else as well. When his attorney said he feels deep remorse, many scoffed. While it's true that his remorse is utterly meaningless in relation to the scale of misery his savage cruelty has caused, I will say that he may indeed feel remorse. In any case, this young man desperately needed serious help and, tragically, it was not made available or he refused it.
This performance is brilliant. If you don't have 9 minutes to watch it, start the video at 6 minutes and play to the end. Then you'll probably find 9 minutes to listen to the whole thing. Decent earbuds are a must.
We saw I Tonya on Sunday night. I hadn't had much interest in it, but what we see isn't always up to me.
If you're not familiar with this film, I Tonya is the story of Olympic figure skater Tonya Harding, with particular focus on her personal relationships and the infamous attack on Nancy Kerrigan. The story is told from the perspective (or lies) of Harding herself, her ex-husband and her mother. All make conflicting claims about what really happened.
Harding generally comes across as a victim of an abusive mother and an abusive husband, though the film doesn't ultimately pronounce judgment on whether or not she knew in advance about the attack on Nancy Kerrigan.
I found the film absorbing and Harding sympathetic as portrayed, though I remain skeptical of her account. I also felt a bit conflicted as I watched because the film drags Kerrigan back into the spotlight for an attack she'd rather leave in the past. She was, after all, indisputably the victim of a vicious attack, and she wasn't pleased with the release of this film.
I think I have a bit of extra sympathy for Kerrigan because my parents knew her back in the 90s, after the 94 Olympics. They used to take her to public appearances, as escorts/adults who would watch out for her. They liked her. She was a young person thrust into the middle of the ugly Harding mess, on top of all her fans clamoring for her attention. It was intense. She wasn't comfortable with all the public attention, and the public appearances were far more difficult for her than people might imagine.
Later, the press started going after her because now and then something might come out of her mouth that sounded snippy or impatient, and it seemed that the press was all to eager to turn the princess into a villain. It was tough, and I know she was doing the best she could.
I don't know if I'd have felt the same ambivalence about the film without the family history and a sympathetic point of view that comes from what I heard from my parents, but it did raise ethical qualms for me related to the making of films about victims of crimes and tragedies who do not wish to see the past dredged up on the big screen.