March 19, 2018

Media-Maligned JROTC Disciplined Nikolas Cruz, As No One Else Did

Shortly after the Parkland, Florida high school massacre, the Associated Press and New York Daily News treated the fact that the NRA had given $10,000 in non-cash assistance to the school’s Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps, of which Nikolas Cruz had been a member, as some kind of scandal. Now, buried deep in a Friday Florida Sun Sentinel story, we learned that JROTC’s leaders “banned Cruz from firing guns with the group during shooting practice” way back in September, 2016. That’s more than a legion of others did to stop Cruz or get him help during the next 17 months.

The Sun Sentinel’s opening reference to JROTC gave the impression that school officials drove the decision:

...  staff were so worried about his fascination with guns that they banned him from practicing shooting skills with the JROTC …

In Paragraph 19, readers finally learn that the JROTC program itself made the call:

(On September 29, a) social worker, filed a report expressing school officials’ concern about Cruz’s desire to purchase a gun now that he was 18, and outlining the school’s decision to implement a “safety plan.” It was also noted that the JROTC program had banned Cruz from firing guns with the group during shooting practice.

The original February stories were a media threefer, discrediting the NRA, the military, and gun rights all at once.

Here’s the Daily News’s February 17 cover (story is here):

NYDNcruzNRAcover021718

The reporters involved in the February 17 AP story may have known what the Sun Sentinel reported four weeks later:

The troubled teen authorities say killed 17 people at a Florida high school excelled in an air-rifle marksmanship program supported by a grant from the National Rifle Association Foundation, part of a multimillion-dollar effort by the gun group to support youth shooting clubs and other programs.

Former JROTC cadets told The Associated Press that Cruz was a member of the small varsity marksmanship team that trained together after class and traveled to other area schools to compete.

… Records show that the Stoneman Douglas JROTC program received $10,827 in non-cash assistance from the NRA’s fundraising and charitable arm in 2016, when Cruz was on the squad. The school’s program publicly thanked the NRA Foundation on its Twitter feed.

New York Times story on Cruz on the day of the massacre indicated that he was transferred to another school ( but not “expelled”) “last year,” i.e., 2017.

By then, Cruz had been banned from shooting practice for at least three months. We’re supposed to believe that the AP’s reporters Michael Biesecker and Collin Binkley, who interviewed fellow JROTC students, either didn’t know that, or didn’t consider it relevant to their story?

Neither the Daily News nor AP included slain hero and JROTC student Peter Wang, who ”used the last minutes of his life to help save his fellow students,” in their stories.

Neither story described the the JROTC program’s positives, something Michelle Malkin delivered along with a fierce media rebuke on February 20:

Transcript:

It’s one thing for gun control extremists and Democrat demagogues to wage war on the NRA.

It’s quite another for supposedly objective newspapers to use their front pages to incite collective, blanket hatred against law-abiding gun owners and smear one of the nation’s oldest and largest youth programs: the JROTC.

Look at this New York Daily News cover.

It’s only February but this has to rank as one of the most vile pieces of liberal media propaganda of the year. “Trained by the NRA,” the sensational trash tabloid cover reads, with a menacing photo of the Parkland Florida school shooter, who “excelled in marksmanship program sponsored by gun group.”

The Associated Press, fresh off of admitting it had been duped into falsely reporting that the Parkland shooter was a member of a white supremacist group, plunged right back into propaganda spreading with its own anti-Second Amendment, fear-mongering attack.

The Fishwrap of Record dutifully regurgitated the AP slime with a similar, instigating headline.

This program painted as so unforgivably sinister by left-wing media is the Junior Reserve Officers Training Program—created by Congress and signed into law by Democrat president Woodrow Wilson. More than 314,000 high school and middle school students of all races, creeds, and socioeconomic backgrounds benefit from the character education, community service, and leadership training offered by nearly 4,000 JROTC instructors who are retired from active duty, reserve duty, or National Guard Army service.

Thanks to their JROTC training, two students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School helped save lives by shielding their classmates with Kevlar sheets. Another JROTC student, 15-year-old Peter Wang, sacrificed his life while holding the door open while helping usher classmates to safety. He was wearing his JROTC uniform when he died.

Have the editors of the NY Daily News, AP, and New York Times lost their minds and souls? Not that they had much left to lose. These young heroes, their JROTC trainers, and all of their supporters, including YES the NRA, are are part of the solution NOT the problem. Baselessly attacking a program that instills discipline, respect, camaraderie, and responsibility is reckless journalism and an incitement to the very violence that gun grabbers claim to oppose.

Cross-posted, with possible revisions, at NewsBusters.org.

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