Nikolas Cruz And Broken Boys Who Become Broken Men

by Yvonne Chase on February 20, 2018

A Vile Act
Changing lanes on the blog today to write about something that changed our world; the shooting in Parkland Florida that killed 17 people. When I heard about it, I was shocked and then when I found out Nikolas Cruz, a 19-year-old student pulled the trigger, I immediately wanted to know why. What could be going on in his life at 19 to result in such a vile act?

Desperate To Find Out Why
Later that day, a colleague stopped by and we were both glued to CNN looking for answers, desperate to find out why. She and I were both Substitute Teachers at one time in NYC. Yesterday while at the gym, I saw a familiar face. A kid, well, a young man now was working out next to me and I knew I knew him but I couldn’t figure out from exactly where so I called him over.

A Young Michael Jordan
Turns out he was one of my students during my Substitute Teaching stint. As we talked, I was fully reminded of why I knew him. One day he and his friends invited me to their basketball game after school. When I saw this kid on the court, I was mesmerized. He had “It!” I felt like I was watching a young Michael Jordan. I couldn’t help but call him over after the game to speak life into him. When I saw him yesterday, he remembered that conversation. He’s still pursuing his passion to play the game. I spoke even more life into him and I gave him a hug then and one more before I left the gym. Our kids need love, they need hugs; they need affirmation and reminders of the greatness we see in them.

Speak Life
While I hate the education system in NYC and would never put my kid in any of their schools if I had one, I LOVED my students;they were like my kids and I loved my role as a teacher for several reasons:

  • It gave me an opportunity to be light in darkness.
  • I had an opportunity to speak life into kids who had no one to do so. 
  • God used me as a messenger of hope to students and parents who were at their wit’s end.

Product Of A Broken Home
I remember another student who I met in detention hall. She was BAD, so bad that I had to find out what was up with her. After hearing her story of going from one foster home to the next, not having food to eat, clothes to wear and the troubles that come from having no parents, my heart went out to her and I began looking for ways to encourage her and show her love. She behaved as if her life didn’t matter, as a matter of fact, she told me it didn’t. My heart broke! 

Actions And Consequences
There was another student who was in detention hall. I looked at her and said you don’t belong here, why are you here? She told me what she did and I was 100% right. She did not belong in detention hall but she did something stupid. We had a long talk about actions and consequences. She learned a valuable lesson that day and that was the beginning of a lovely student-teacher relationship.

High Standards
I was firm with my students. They knew I loved them and cared for them but they also knew I had high standards they had to meet. One student thanked me for being firm with her. She said to me, “Ms. Chase, I don’t mind your firmness. When someone is firm with you, it shows they care about you.” From the mouth of babes…

A Host Of Issues
Nikolas Cruz had a host of issues that led to his final act. I had compassion for him once I learned his story. His adoptive mother died last November, his father died earlier on in his life and he had no one to care for him until his friends family took him in. He’s no different than many of the kids I taught, as a matter of fact, he reminds me of the BAD girl in detention hall.

Innocent People
When I expressed my compassion for Nikolas on Twitter, one person said to me, “I have no compassion for him. I lost my dad when I was young. I don’t want to hear it.” I get it. Most people don’t want to hear about compassion for someone who just killed 17 innocent people.

Behavior Was Odd
What he did was wrong yet my heart goes out to him. The outcome might’ve been different if he felt loved. If he felt his life matters. If he felt included and not pushed aside because his behavior was odd.

Push People Aside
The one thing everyone on this planet needs daily is to feel loved, accepted, and included. When we push people aside, ostracize them and call them crazy, we are creating an environment for all kinds of evil behavior to ensue.

Change Gun Laws
When this is all said and done, Nikolas, a lost 19-year-old kid will either get life in prison or the death penalty. The masses are pushing for the death penalty. Okay, so we get rid of Nikolas, then what? That doesn’t solve the problem. We change gun laws; that curbs the problem. A kid should never be allowed to buy a gun or rifle so I’m all for doing whatever needs to be done to stop that transaction.

Guns In The Home
I watched the Good Morning America interview with his “parents.” The video is below. They didn’t know he had a key to the safe. P.S. I don’t agree with guns in the home do you? Why do we need guns? I follow a woman on Instagram who had this to say about guns:

Remind me why we need guns? Why? No, we don’t need them to hunt for food because we don’t need to eat animals to thrive. No, we don’t need it for protection. Learn how to fight. Actually, raise the vibration of the planet so we don’t have to fight. Let’s communicate and nurture each other. Let’s hold those that are hurting instead of pushing them away. 

Boys Are Broken
Our kids are hurting. Nikolas was hurting. Hurt people, hurt people. We need to see about the Nikolas’s of the world. They can no longer be ignored. Comedienne Michael Ian Black said this and I agree; “Deeper even than the gun problem is this; boys are broken.” He explained his thought further in an NPR interview:

“I think it means that there is something going on with American men that is giving them the permission and space to commit violence. “And one of the main things we focus on correctly is guns and mental health, but I think deeper than that is a problem, a crisis in masculinity.”

The Cycle Continues
Who’s going to step up to help heal our boys? Broken boys become broken men who become broken husbands then broken fathers and the cycle continues. That is what I saw during my time as a teacher; brokenness. I did what I could, will you?

Something to think about…

What say you? How do we solve this problem? Is gun control the answer? What solutions can you offer? Do you think there’s a crisis in masculinity? Is there any compassion in your heart for the Nikolas’ of the world?

Here are 2 things I’d like you to do now:

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{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Rebecca Jones February 20, 2018

Thank you for being a light to those children, one person can make a difference. I agree also Michael’s comment about an assault on manhood. Real men don’t hurt animals, children or women or need assault rifles, although I think you have the right to own a gun for protection. The foster mother had passed and these people were deceived completely, I wonder what his effect was on the foster mother? He may not have killed her but did his behavior wear her down? Maybe, he didn’t feel loved and maybe we just need to be more aware of the evil among us.


Yvonne Chase February 20, 2018


They were completely deceived. I never gave much thought to his foster/adoptive mother. You raise a good point. Who knows what his relationship was like with her before she passed. He doesn’t look like he felt loved. The scene in the courtroom where he stands before the judge with his head hung down is heartbreaking. All I can do is shake my head at it all. It’s tragic from every angle.
Yvonne Chase recently posted…National Marriage Week And The Pressure To MarryMy Profile


Sue Donaldson February 20, 2018

Great post, Yvonne. One by one we love on those God brings our way. Perhaps changes will come but the real change is for all to see their need for God. Again, we share that good news, one by one. God’s heart is heavy, mine, too.
Sue Donaldson recently posted…The Power of Your Name: Love & Marriage, Part IIIMy Profile


Yvonne Chase February 20, 2018


My heart is heavy too. You’re right, all we can do is love on those God brings in our way and hopefully, our love will show them their need for God. We have much work to do. Help us, Lord…
Yvonne Chase recently posted…I Could’ve Married An Unbeliever But I Chose To Obey God InsteadMy Profile


Stacey Pardoe February 21, 2018

These broken times are heart breaking for us all. May we continue to love others through their pain. Thanks for these insights today, Yvonne.


Yvonne Chase February 23, 2018


Heartbreaking indeed. Loving others through their pain is a great place to start. The world is hurting and it needs a lot of love and compassion.
Yvonne Chase recently posted…I Could’ve Married An Unbeliever But I Chose To Obey God InsteadMy Profile


bethany mcilrath February 21, 2018

Thought-provoking, Yvonne. I, too, felt compassion for Nikolas recognizing the struggles he has faced. A crisis of masculinity is apparent to me, and I’m thankful even as I’m heavy hearted that the topic is entering discussion more. I’ve worked with teens too, and young boys and young men in particular are so overlooked and lacking in health role models, as well as adults who invest in them and speak life and truth to them. I see we have different views on gun control, but appreciate your perspective. Thank you for this post!


Yvonne Chase February 23, 2018


It’s a topic we need to discuss before the next mass shooting. The first time I saw a real gun was a couple of weeks ago when I was in the presence of a cop who carries. I will forever be anti-gun especially in the home. No guns in my house.
Yvonne Chase recently posted…Nikolas Cruz And Broken Boys Who Become Broken MenMy Profile


Lisa notes February 21, 2018

I’m not sure either how we solve this problem, but more love will definitely put us on the right track to helping our broken boys. Thanks for this, Yvonne.
Lisa notes recently posted…Give This Kind of Grace GenerouslyMy Profile


Yvonne Chase February 23, 2018


I think a great place to start is raising the age a person can purchase a gun. Why on earth is a teenager ever allowed to purchase a rifle? Although if he didn’t purchase it, I’m sure he would’ve found his way to it…I dunno…the evil in our hearts needs to be burned away. There’s a spirit of evil running rampant in the land.
Yvonne Chase recently posted…Nikolas Cruz And Broken Boys Who Become Broken MenMy Profile


Mary Hill February 22, 2018

My heart is broken too at lives lost needlessly. He should have been flagged as a danger to himself and others. No one under 21 should ever own a gun, except military or hunting license with parental supervision. I just firmly believe that a young mind is not fully developed to understand the depth of their action and the consequences. We need to protect them from themselves. Also we all have moments in our lives when darkness creeps in; we may not kill, but we can hate and say hurtful things. I am reminded that God sees all evil and sin as the same. No one sin is greater than another. That said, the our leaders fail protect our children when they do not act. We need to ban all military, style assault rifles and pistols. We need to limit the magazines to know more than three per shot. We need to have tougher gun laws and a national registry with more data on individuals with violent backgrounds. A 19-year-old should never been able to legally purchase an assault weapon.
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Yvonne Chase February 23, 2018


I feel your heart. So many valid points in your comment. He was definitely a danger to himself and a great pretender. He had his caregivers completely fooled into thinking he was a normal kid when clearly he wasn’t.

I will never agree with guns in the home. It was locked up in a case yet he was able to get it. So much for parental supervision. Be that as it may, with his state of mind, he would’ve gotten his hands on a gun one way or the other and we would be at the same crossroad.
Yvonne Chase recently posted…I Could’ve Married An Unbeliever But I Chose To Obey God InsteadMy Profile


Brenda February 22, 2018

Those students were so blessed to have a Godly teacher like you. I can only imagine how many lives you’ve impacted for the positive. It’s a heartbreaking story all around. Thank you for sharing.
Brenda recently posted…A Girl I Once KnewMy Profile


lisa @honeyandfigs February 22, 2018

It’s so awesome to hear your heart for our kids. I read an article the other day about a former NASA scientist turned teacher who after Columbine made it her mission to use math to find patterns in students to identify the lonely and the outcasts in hopes she could prevent any of her students from becoming future shooters. Teachers make the biggest difference.
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Yvonne Chase February 23, 2018


Teachers definitely make a HUGE difference. Many are so much more than teachers. They’re a parent, counselor, role model, confidante, big brother, big sister and the list goes on and on…
Yvonne Chase recently posted…He Must Be A Christian Was Drilled Into Her Head Yet It’s Not EnoughMy Profile


Rachel February 22, 2018

Our kids are broken. They do need love, affirmation, encouragement, nurturing and care. I’m so thankful for teachers like you who look for the broken ones, and reach out, speak life, and bless!
Our world SO needs it!
I’m not anti-gun, but I am anti-hatred.
God’s love is the way!


Yvonne Chase February 23, 2018


I don’t see this as hate. Dillon Roofs actions were rooted in hate. Nikolas from my view was a lost child who made a bad choice.

Teaching is so much more than standing in front of a classroom delivering a lesson. The dynamic between teacher, student and classroom are very unique. If it’s managed well, both teacher and student are empowered and gratified.
Yvonne Chase recently posted…Falling In Love At First Sight Is Different Than Married At First SightMy Profile


Liz February 23, 2018

It is such a shame that so many children never feel the love of family or of Father. So many adults failed this boy. I’m glad your students had such a strong, loving role model in you! Blessings as you spread the love!
Liz recently posted…Uncover Hidden Messes to Find Jesus’ HealingMy Profile


Yvonne Chase February 23, 2018


Adults failed him miserably. What he did is wrong, no question, however, when I see him in the courtroom standing before the judge with his head down, that imagery tells it all. Incredibly sad for everyone involved.
Yvonne Chase recently posted…Nikolas Cruz And Broken Boys Who Become Broken MenMy Profile


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