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Florida shooting shows sharp social decline in US: Scholar

People hug as they attend a candlelit memorial service for the victims of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that killed 17 people on February 15, 2018 in Parkland, Florida.

The deadly school shooting in Florida has exposed the sharp social decline in the United States and is a symptom of loss of social and civic values, an American scholar and political analyst says.

Authorities said Nikolas Cruz, an ex-student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, opened fire on Wednesday with an AR-15-style assault rifle, killing 17 people and injuring 14 more in his former school.

Cruz, 19, surrendered to police after the massacre. It was the second-deadliest shooting at a public school in US history. The shooting was the 18th in a US school this year, according to gun control group Everytown for Gun Safety.

“This latest school shooting in Florida raises a number of issues that all point toward the sharp social decline that seems to be underway here in the US.  It’s a symptom of a kind of loss of social and civic values, and commitment to the common good,” said Kevin Barrett, an author and political commentator in Madison, Wisconsin.

“I think this is the very much a symptom of the rise of neo-liberalism, which is a philosophy that’s based on selfishness and breaking down of social groups into unconnected individuals,” he told Press TV on Thursday.  

“And this kind of extreme individualism seems to affect people who are perhaps immature and brain-washed by the extremely violent media that we have here in the US, and sometimes brain-washed by our military conditioning as well; we’re trained to worship the mass murders that we send to other countries to kill the citizens of those countries in service to the American empire,” he stated.

“So all of these factors combining I think that leads to the epidemic of gun violence in the United States, which is all too real,” he said.  

“And top of this, we also have to keep in mind that many of the worst massacres that have happened not only here in the US but in European countries as well are in fact false-flag operations by professional killers that are run for political objectives, and indeed terrorizing a population to any kind of apparent random mass violence is in fact a very political act that has the overall effect of forcing people to run to the authorities for more security,” the commentator said.

US President Donald Trump on Thursday addressed the shooting in a White House speech that emphasized school safety and mental health while avoiding any mention of gun policy.

Broward County schools superintendent Robert Runcie called for action on gun laws.

“Now is the time for this country to have a real conversation on sensible gun control laws in this country,” Runcie told a news conference.

The Republican-controlled Congress last year revoked Obama-era regulations meant to make it harder for those with severe mental illness to pass FBI background checks for guns, saying the rule deprived the mentally ill of their gun rights.

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