Nikolas Cruz, the confessed shooter in the Feb. 14 school massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, was a member of the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) program.
Cruz wore a JROCT shirt while killing 17 people, and injuring 14 more with an AR-15 assault rifle.
The JROTC marksmanship team at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School received $10,000 in funding from the NRA.
According to a new report, JROTC recruits junior high and high school students into the U.S. military.
Pat Elder, director of the National Coalition to Protect Student Privacy, explained to Democracy Now how JROTC programs arm children as young as 13 years old with lethal weapons on school campuses:
The JROTC program is a military recruitment program that has more than 3,000 schools. Of those, more than 1,600 schools participate in marksmanship programs across the country. So we have firing ranges in high schools in every state. They fire .177 caliber rifles.
They’re CO2-fired. The lead projectile travels at 600 feet per second. By comparison, a .22 caliber rifle travels at between 800 and 900 feet per second. So, it’s a lethal weapon, categorized by the Army. And Florida state law specifically prohibits carrying these weapons, these lethal weapons, into schools.
Well, apparently [Cruz] wanted to convey to the world that he was affiliated with the JROTC program. Amy, it’s an insidious practice. We have the United States Army and the other three branches in the high schools putting lethal weapons into the hands of 13- and 14-year-olds.
It’s time this stops. And the program has more than 575,000 children in all the states, and it teaches an insidious, horrendous, reactionary view of American history.
The United States government, for instance, had an innocent Navy boat off of the Gulf of Tonkin, and it was maliciously fired on by the North Vietnamese. We helped Cubans win their independence because they were treated so poorly by the Spanish.
I think you get the idea. We’re not just talking about putting weapons into the hands of 13-year-olds. We’re also talking about a system that brainwashes these children with textbooks.
For instance, the civics textbook used in JROTC programs across the country has a unit on United States civics entitled “You the People.” I learned as “We the People.” Didn’t you?
…Well, the NRA typically does not give money. They give materials and supplies. That way, they can purchase the materials and supplies from their supporters. Throughout the country, and especially in the Rust Belt and poor urban schools, the individual schools want to set up firing ranges in their schools, and so they need materials.
They need the backstops, they need the targets, they need the guns, they need the CO2 cartridges, and they need the lead pellets. So, the NRA will help these schools through a grants process, and they spend money on schools through these grants across the country.