On February 14, 2018, Nikolas Cruz entered the Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Gun in hand, he killed seventeen people—including many teenagers and three teachers.
After law enforcement apprehended Cruz, a flurry of news came out. Students said the 19-year-old man had always been odd and dangerous. Some even claimed they were expecting him to do just what he did. News came out that several tips were sent to the FBI about him. His family? Well, they denied anything was wrong—blithely unaware that the man was troubled.
Through the ongoing noise of gun control vs. gun rights, few advocates talk about the man at the center of the event. Stoneman Douglas students harp on and on about semiautomatic guns, demanding Congress pass stricter limits on the Second Amendment. They rarely, though, put the blame where it belongs. The fact remains this event was committed by a sick, dangerous, and truly evil person.
A person who now has numerous Facebook fan groups and a deluge of love letters. He’s even making money.
Mass murderer Nikolas Cruz is getting stacks of fan mail and love letters sent to the Broward County jail, along with hundreds of dollars in contributions to his commissary account.
Teenage girls, women and even older men are writing to the Parkland school shooter and sending photographs — some suggestive — tucked inside cute greeting cards and attached to notebook paper with offers of friendship and encouragement. Groupies also are joining Facebook communities to talk about how to help the killer…
The letter was mailed from Texas and tucked inside an envelope covered with hand-drawn hearts and happy faces. “Your eyes are beautiful and the freckles on your face make you so handsome.” She goes on to describe herself as white with big, brown eyes. “I’m really skinny and have 34C sized breasts.” She ends the letter with three preschool-rated jokes about gummy bears and peanut butter. (Sun Sentinel)
Some of the more interesting letters include a mustached man from New York posing with a cat on the hood of a Nissan convertible. Yummy.
It’s odd and startling to think that there are hundreds (if not more) people in America fawning over a mass murderer. Some of the letters call Nikolas Cruz a friend, even a victim. Facebook groups found pictures of the man when he was a kid, with hearts and text surrounding his face like he’s a pre-teen star in a magazine.
One eBay account is selling “Justice For Nik” wristbands, with the hashtag #NikFam. I mean, it’s as if he’s Justin Bieber.
You have to wonder about the kind of people (both men and women) who are attracted to a killer. Perhaps you can write them off as lonely. But honestly, aren’t there enough weirdos for them to stalk already online? The Internet is loaded with perverts and sickos that would cater to their every whim. Our culture is lousy with dating sites and social networks just full of people eager for a little bit of attention.
Yet these people—young and old—are sending cards, cash, and even their home address to a man that murdered seventeen people (most of them minors).
The sad reality is that this is nothing new. For every homicidal maniac, there are groupies. Charles Manson was a hippie from the 1960’s and one-time friend of Dennis Wilson of the Beach Boys. He went on to form a cult which committed a series of murders. Yet throughout his long imprisonment, he had fans and admirers. Even after he died, some of them tried to raise money for his funeral.
I mean, how could you not love a face like that:
Lyle and Erik Menendez were notorious in the 90’s for killing their parents. It was a high-profile case that exposed the depths of their evil. The two brothers conspired to kill their wealthy folks for money. They were caught spending it lavishly only a few weeks after their deaths. Yet these two villains attracted fans while serving their life sentences, even getting married in prison.
There is even a term for devotees of the horrific killer Ted Bundy. “Bundyphiles” are obsessed with a serial killer who kidnapped, raped, and committed necrophilia. And people say fans of Kesha are crazy.
So why are there people so warped as to become fans of killers? A Texas woman wrote to Cruz, “I reserve the right to care about you, Nikolas!” She sent that letter six days after the attack.
There is an innate fascination with murder in our culture. Perhaps it’s because of all the TV and movies that focus on criminals. There are endless paperback novels that practically fetishize crime and the taking of life. Even though many of these stories focus on a crime-fighter set on ending the villain’s reign of terror, the focus is always on the villain. People seem to possess a sick obsession with the macabre.
But how far is too far?
In the early 1900’s a Norwegian woman and her family were killed when their farmhouse in La Porte, Indiana was burned to the ground. As the community conducted a search, they unearthed over 20 bodies, mostly men. Belle Gunness had lured victims to her farm, killed them, then buried them in the ground. The “Murder farm” as it came to be known, attracted thousands.
It became a tourist attraction, with vendors selling souvenirs and peanuts.
It’s clear people become attracted to things they do not understand. The vast majority of humanity (hopefully) will never commit crimes, especially violent ones. They certainly will never get near the kind of crime that tops headlines. People speculate on how anyone could do something as evil as taking a life. They are enthralled that another person could be so alien from themselves.
Sometimes a person goes too far in their interest. They become enamored with the crime and the resulting fame. These people want to become a part of it. It could be because of their own emotional damage. It could be because they crave something to “spice up” their pedestrian lives.
Or it could be they recognize something inside the killer. Something that reminds them of themselves. That perhaps, had the circumstances been different, they would be the ones in a jail cell.
Regardless of the reason, it’s much more than the fact that these are “bad boys.” It’s a sickness, one that can lead to truly tragic results.