The National Rifle Association donated $10,000 to his school’s four-person varsity marksmanship team, which trained Florida shooting suspect Nikolas Cruz, according to the Associated Press.
The report claimed that Cruz was part of the school varsity team that received the grant in 2016 as part of the NRA’s multimillion-dollar effort to support youth shooting clubs and other programs. The Stoneman Douglas JROTC program received $10,827 in non-cash assistance from the NRA’s fundraising arm in 2016, with Cruz being an intrinsic member of the team. Called the Army Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps, or JROTC, it had three other members, and they trained together after class and traveled to other area schools to compete. JROTC even thanked the NRA for its generous funding by tweeting out an acknowledgment.
Cruz excelled at shooting, with other cadets calling him the “wolf,” a nickname which stuck with the Florida shooter.
“He was a very good shot,” said Aaron Diener, 20, who often traveled to competitions together with Cruz back at the time. The four members of the team used air rifles special-made for target shooting, usually on indoor ranges at targets the size of a coin.
“He had an AR-15 he talked about, and pistols he had shot…. He would tell us, ‘Oh, it was so fun to shoot this rifle’ or ‘It was so fun to shoot that.’ It seemed almost therapeutic to him, the way he spoke about it.”
Cruz killed 17 people and injured 14 others when he went on a shooting rampage using an AR-15 rifle in Parkland’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High on Wednesday. The school shooting prompted renewed debate on gun reform, with victims’ families demanding that President Trump and Congressional leaders act on amending gun laws. The National Rifle Association, the apex pro-gun lobby in the United States, found itself at the center of attention once again, with observers pointing out that the NRA’s constant opposition to gun reform has incapacitated American leaders in being able to take affirmative action.
It prompted The Root to write an editorial titled “The NRA Is A Terrorist Organization,” with writer Michael Harriot arguing that the legal definition of “terrorist activity” did not preclude domestic organizations like the NRA, which has been actively involved in promoting guns using a subversive campaign through disinformation and propaganda — something not dissimilar to what terrorist organizations like ISIS also engage in.
“The latest tragedy is directly related to our government’s unwillingness to create and enforce commonsense gun laws, fueled by a criminal cabal that bribes lawmakers with barrels of cash and knowingly promotes and participates in a plot that results in the deaths of seven children every day.
“The National Rifle Association kills people.”