18-year-old Zachary Cruz is the brother of Nikolas Cruz, the mass-murdering assclown responsible for the 17 deaths at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Apparently, Zachary Cruz was so into what his brother did he thought it would be a great idea to go visit the school, in his words, to “soak it in.” Cruz was booked into the Broward Sheriff’s Office jail back in mid-March, and his bond was initially set at $25. You’re reading that correctly, twenty-five dollars.
“There is discussion of starting some sort of pen pal or fan club and how many girls he is capable of attracting, referring to his brother Nikolas.”
I’ll be addressing that particular issue soon. But getting back to the matter at hand, Zachary Cruz’s bond was raised to $500,000, a more appropriate amount if you ask me, but I digress. Zachary Cruz’s attorney claimed the bail was set unfairly due to who his brother is. Doesn’t seem unfair to me since he was hanging around the same school where his brother gunned down 17 people in cold blood just to ‘take it all in’.
Zachary Cruz pleaded no contest to trespassing and only received six months probation, so sleep well, Broward County.
Hey, look at me. I’m working on a story from late March. I’m making progress.
Anyway, as what happens with most school shootings, some have claimed the Parkland shooter, Nikolas Cruz, was bullied. In my opinion, this is the effect of what I call the bullying myth. Not that I think bullying is a myth. Hell, I was bullied relentlessly for 12 years. What I’m talking about is the trope that sprung from Columbine that all school shooters were bullied. Shortly after Columbine happened, there were reports in the press claiming the shooting happened because the gunmen were bullied into it. However, there has never been any evidence to prove that claim, even though many misguided people still cling to that belief.
So it was no surprise to me to hear some people claimed Cruz was bullied, and it was even less of a surprise to see the bullying claims being debunked. As a matter of fact, school shooters typically tend to be antisocial little cretins, to begin with whose strange behavior makes them outcasts. Nikolas Cruz is another example of that. According to a former classmate of Cruz’s, she tried to befriend him even after being bullied by him. In return for her kindness Cruz is said to have verbally abused and sexually harassed her.
This reminds me of the story of Cody Thunder. Back in 2005, he tried to befriend Jeff Weise, who ended up killing nine people at Red Lake High School. Instead of Cody’s offer of friendship being reciprocated, Weise just talked about guns and shooting people. The Red Lake High School shooting took place the very next day.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t reach out to people, but some people just can’t be reached.
On Tuesday March 20th, 17-year-old Austin Wyatt Rollins opened fire in the hallways of Great Mills High School in Great Mills, Maryland. The school resource officer confronted Rollins and fired a round at the gunman. Rollins fired a round at the same time. It was initially believed that the resource officer shot and killed Rollins, but it was later determined that the shot Rollins fired was to end his own life.
The victim was 16-year-old Jaelynn Willey. She wasn’t killed at the time of the shooting. She passed away some days later after her family made the painful decision to remove her from life support.
The motive of the shooting was said to have been personal, as Jaelynn Willey was said to have ended a relationship with Rollins shortly before the shooting took place.
The handgun used by Rollins belonged to his father. No word yet on how Rollins was able to obtain the gun.
Listen kids, I may be a man who’s pushing 50, but I remember vividly what high school was like. I remember thinking that high school was forever. I also remember when I met a girl and long story short, I thought we were dating. When she let me down easy I was devastated, but I didn’t consider it a reason to kill her. The odds are that you’ll most likely not be dating the same person when you leave high school. High school romances are rarely forever, so it’s not worth wasting two lives over something as insignificant as a high school crush.
I guess before I delve back into last month’s stories I’m behind on, I should talk about the school shooting that happened in Ocala, Florida, yesterday. When I first heard a shooting took place my heart initially filled with dread. Before I read any news about it, my mind immediately went to the fact that yesterday was the 19th anniversary of Columbine. For a moment I thought after so many years of cretins and troglodytes planning school shootings and other crimes for April 20th, one of them was finally successful. However, after reading the news I wouldn’t say the streak was broken.
Yesterday, 19-year-old Sky Bouche carried a sawed-off shotgun inside a guitar case into his former high school, Forest High School. He fired a round into a classroom door striking a 17-year-old student in the ankle. The student suffered minor injuries. After that, Bouche is said to have dropped the gun, walked to a teacher and waited for his arrest. So far, it is not believed yesterday’s date had anything to do with the reason behind the shooting. Instead, it’s believed Bouche has a history of mental illness. However, his mental illness isn’t to the point where he didn’t know right from wrong.
Due to the fact there was minimal damage in the shooting, and Bouche surrendered without incident, I wouldn’t be opposed to Bouche being sentenced to a mental health facility to get the help he needs. He doesn’t seem to exhibit the traits of a typical school shooter so I don’t think he’s beyond rehabilitation.
Just because craigslist removed its personals section doesn’t mean it’s any safer. Last weekend, two men, 21-year-olds Alize Smith and Jarron Moreland, went missing in Moore, Oklahoma, after witnesses saw them being taken into a van. Moreland’s family claimed that he was meeting someone to sell something through craigslist. Sadly, the bodies of Moreland and Smith were found weighted in a pond earlier this week. Three suspects have been arrested and charged in their murders, and they are 22-year-old Kevin Garcia-Boettler, 43-year-old Johnny Barker, and the 16-year-old brother of Garcia-Boettler.
According to police, Moreland and Smith were said to be selling a gun on craigslist and the trio of suspects were meeting with the two men to purchase the gun. Once Moreland and Smith approached the suspects’ van, one of the suspects claims they heard a gun being cocked by one of the victims. This resulted in one of the suspects firing on the two men, killing them both. Tragically, this could have all been prevented.
Craigslist’s terms of service forbids firearms from being sold or traded on their site, yet it happens all the time. The problem with craigslist is the usual one as they hardly ever do any kind of moderation on their site for any kind of illegal items or sales. Instead, they rely on their users to flag any kind of inappropriate ad, the same users who are posting the illegal ads to begin with. This is akin to the inmates running the asylum. Craigslist has the ability to screen for ads like this as they have done so in the past with unlocked iPhones when that was still illegal. Yet they allow guns to change hands without even batting an eye.
Former Backpage CEO Carl Ferrer (Finally, this picture is no longer ironic)
In a previous post, I wondered what Backpage CEO Carl Ferrer’s role was in the Federal seizure of Backpage since his name did not appear on the 93-count indictment against other Backpage heads and employees. Now we know as it has been announced that prior to the seizure of Backpage, Ferrer pleaded guilty to charges of money laundering and conspiracy to facilitate prostitution.
Last week, not March for once, Federal authorities announced that they took Ferrer to three separate states to plead guilty against the various charges against him in Texas, Arizona and California. Ferrer has also agreed to testify against Backpage founders Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin. In his pleas Ferrer admitted that Backpage was well aware that the ads on its site were used to facilitate prostitution.
“I have long been aware,” Ferrer wrote, “that the great majority of these advertisements are, in fact, advertisements for prostitution services (which are not protected by the First Amendment and which are illegal in 49 states and in much of Nevada).”
Ferrer also admitted that Backpage was used to launder money after the credit card companies stopped accepting payments for Backpage.
“I worked with my co-conspirators to find ways to fool credit card companies into believing that Backpage-associated charges were being incurred on different websites,” as well as route Backpage money through seemingly unrelated entities, and to use companies which processed crypto-currencies.”
This virtually nullifies any kind of ‘free speech’ argument Backpage could possibly present in court.
In exchange for his plea, Ferrer is looking at a maximum of five years in prison and forfeiture of his corporate assets. While I wholeheartedly believe Ferrer should spend way more time in prison than five years, if it gets Lacey and Larkin to spend a considerable amount of time in prison then I’m all for it.
In my previous post, I discussed how craigslist shuttered its personal section in anticipation of the FOSTA law. Many in tech circles have lamented the loss of craigslist personals as if it was some place where wholesome couples would meet so they could attend church and ice cream socials together. What they’re conveniently forgetting is that the personals section of craigslist had a much more sinister undercurrent that not much of the public was aware of.
Sadly, this is not just a one-off occurrence as the Craigslist personals have a long history of this type of activity. This wasn’t even the youngest victim to ever be sold through craigslist as an Idaho man tried selling a 3-year-old girl through craigslist. In either case, none of the ads were flagged by craigslist’s community policing. For those of you who try to say that this will drive the predators underground, that’s the whole point. Without such a platform like craigslist, predators will have one less highly trafficked platform to find their victims and reprehensible parents won’t have the marketplace to sell their kids.
Back in March, which is going to be a recurring theme for a while, before FOSTA was signed into law, and before Backpage was taken down, craigslist took it upon themselves to remove the personal ads section from their website including the casual encounters section. Anyone clicking on any of the personal ad links on craigslist are met with the above message. As is usually the case with craigslist, they’re playing the victim over something they should have done years ago.
To hear craigslist tell it, they sound like FOSTA is about to kill all romance on the internet. What craigslist isn’t telling you is that their personal ads, like most sections of their site, have long been the home of criminal activity. When craigslist shut down its erotic services section after public pressure, whatever human trafficking ads didn’t move to Backpage moved to craigslist’s personals section. That’s not even taking into account that craigslist’s casual encounters section was often used by child predators looking for their next victim. So while craigslist is acting like some kind of martyr, let it never be forgotten that their personals section has mostly been a cesspool of crime.
Craigslist has only itself to blame since they failed to monitor their own site for decades.
Monday, the 93-count indictment against seven Backpage employees was finally made public. As previously noted, Backpage co-founder Michael Lacey was already known to have been named in the indictment. What we know now is the remaining six people being indicted for various charges related to the Federal seizure of Backpage. One of the expected names to be listed on the indictment was the other co-founder of Backpage, Jim Larkin, and his name is listed second on the indictment. However, there is one name that’s missing from the list of the seven Backpage employees who you would think would be at or near the top of the list.
In case you’re still wondering whose name is not appearing on the list it would be that of Backpage CEO Carl Ferrer. However, while not currently under indictment, Ferrer is referenced to several times in the indictment by the initials “C.F.” and not always referred to in the best light. For example, C.F. is said to have rejected an implementation that would admonish Backpage users if they used search terms that would indicate they were looking for a child prostitute. This is the same Carl Ferrer who decided to just ignore a Congressional subpoena in 2015.
This obviously leads to the question, is Carl Ferrer the reason the seizure took place in the first place? The feds could have had a big enough carrot to dangle in front of Ferrer as he was still facing money laundering charges in the state of California. If that’s the case Ferrer should be applauded somewhat for allowing the internet’s largest avenue for human trafficking facilitation to be taken down, but let’s keep in mind that in the past, Ferrer has never had the best of intentions. One also has to wonder if Ferrer may have been granted immunity from prosecution if he turned on his seven cohorts. Although, I would imagine this wouldn’t make him immune to any civil litigation which probably would hurt Ferrer more than any prison sentence.