Emma Gonzalez Admits to Bully Parkland Shooter Nikolas Cruz-Fiction!
Summary of eRumor:
Emma Gonzalez, a survivor of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, admitted to bullying shooter Nikolas Cruz.
There’s been no indication that Emma Gonzalez, David Hogg or other students bullied Nikolas Cruz before he murdered 17 people. And it’s important to note that authorities were first alerted that Cruz planned to shoot up the school in February 2016 — just weeks after Cruz began attending Marjory Stoneman Douglas on Jan. 13, 2016. Given that timeline, and Cruz’s history of behavioral problems before he transferred, the theory that Gonzalez bullied Cruz into the shooting doesn’t check out.
The rumor surfaced after Emma Gonzalez became a leading voice for gun reform in the wake of the Feb. 14, 2018, school shooting. Some accounts have claimed that David Hogg also bulled Nikolas Cruz. But the rumor has mostly centered on Gonzalez. It went viral on social media in late March and early April 2018. Gonzalez has frequently said that the NRA had “blood on its hands.” But those spreading the rumor argue that Gonzalez is personally to blame for the tragedy—not the NRA’.
These bullying claims are based on speech Emma Gonzalez gave in the days following the shooting. She said, “It was no surprise to anyone who knew him that he was the shooter. Those talking about how we should not have ostracized him, you did not know this kid!” The idea is that Gonzalez and other students “bullied” Cruz by ostracizing him. Gonzalez’s full statement puts the quote into greater context, however. She describes Cruz as a “big problem” who was reported to the authorities “time and time again.” In this context, it appears that Gonzalez is saying that students ostracized Cruz by reporting him to the authorities — not by bullying him:
“There is one tweet I would like to call attention to. ‘So many signs that the Florida shooter was mentally disturbed, even expelled for bad and erratic behavior. Neighbors and classmates knew he was a big problem. Must always report such instances to authorities again and again.’ We did, time and time again. Since he was in middle school, it was no surprise to anyone who knew him to hear that he was the shooter. Those talking about how we should not have ostracized him, you didn’t know this kid! OK, we did. We know that they are claiming mental health issues, and I am not a psychologist, but we need to pay attention to the fact that this was not just a mental health issue. He would not have harmed that many students with a knife.”
Another problem with the idea that Emma Gonzalez bullied Nikolas Cruz is that Parkland students have described Cruz as someone who was feared by other students. One student said students joked that if anyone were to open fire at the school, it would be Cruz. And, “Because of that, students feared him and mostly stayed away from him.”
And, again, it’s important to remember that Nikolas Cruz began attending the Parkland high school in January 2016. Weeks later, on Feb. 6, 2016, a neighbor reported that Cruz said he “planned to shoot up the school” and had posted pictures of himself with guns on Instagram. That doesn’t fit the narrative that Gonzalez bullied Cruz into shooting up the school. After all, he’d only been there for a few weeks at the time.
For all of those reasons, we’re calling this rumor “fiction.”