For Parkland victims and families, the injustices never cease

cruz, nikolas - courtroom
Shooter Nikolas Cruz evaded the death penalty and, apparently, can still vote (sort of).

On Valentine’s Day in 2018 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, students were being typical teenagers, probably swapping roses and romantic trinkets with girlfriends or boyfriends or crushes. 

Until Nikolas Cruz showed up with an AR-15-style semi-automatic weapon and a bunch of magazines, as if he were entering a war zone. 

In a matter of minutes, Cruz had claimed the lives of 17 innocent victims, most children, others doting teachers. As many others were left injured. All were left with emotional scars still healing today, scars that, in all likelihood, will never fully heal. 

It remains, today, the deadliest mass shooting at an American high school in history, surpassing the 1999 Columbine shooting that killed 15, including the shooters who took their own lives.

Yet justice feels illusive. 

Cruz pleaded guilty to all charges against him related to the shooting in October of 2021, about a year later, a jury agreed Cruz was eligible for the death penalty, but couldn’t reach a unanimous decision on whether to impose it. Because of a Florida law since changed largely due to Cruz’s case, the deadlocked jury meant Cruz would serve 34 consecutive life sentences, without the possibility of parole, and would not be put to death for his heinous crimes. 

For most, that’s injustice No. 1. 

But then consider also yesterday’s jury verdict finding Scot Peterson, a Sheriff’s deputy many blame for not intervening adequately to save lives, not guilty on 11 counts for which he was charged following the shooting — seven of felony child neglect; three of culpable negligence; and one of perjury.

It may have been the right decision legally, but again, justice feels illusive. Peterson, after all, stayed outside during the deadly shooting. He could have done more. He should have done more. He was trained to do more. He just didn’t.

And then there’s this. 

On July 25, 2018, just five months after Cruz shot and killed 14 teenagers and three educators, he registered to vote while in county jail. 

As of June 30, 2023 — nearly a year after his sentencing and nearly two years after his guilty plea — Cruz remains listed as eligible to vote in the state’s voter system. 

Of course, Cruz cannot vote. He’s a convicted felon. Casting a ballot would be illegal, and given Gov. Ron DeSantis’ crack down on voter fraud, which includes a an election crimes unit, it’s clear the listing is likely a mere oversight. Or, at the very least, just a matter of lagging data. 

In any case, it’s an insulting oversight, and one that again smacks of continued injustice. 

More than a dozen families never got to watch their children graduate from high school. They never got to send them to college or help them navigate new careers. They won’t get to see them get married or have children. They certainly will never get to have a conversation with them about registering to vote or, subsequently, voting. 

Yet Nikolas Cruz lives, breathes and, according to voting records, theoretically votes. 

For anyone wondering: He’s registered as a Republican.

Peter Schorsch

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises Media and is the publisher of, INFLUENCE Magazine, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. Previous to his publishing efforts, Peter was a political consultant to dozens of congressional and state campaigns, as well as several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella. Follow Peter on Twitter @PeterSchorschFL.


  • Dont Say FLA

    June 30, 2023 at 3:03 pm

    Enough of this fake news from the liberal media.

    Mr Cruz was just exercising his 2nd Amendment rights.

    Mr Peterson was busy keeping the children safe from drag queens while Mr Cruz exercised his 2nd Amendment rights.

    Perhaps Ron DeSantis will issue Cruz a voter registration card and then charge Cruz with a crime for voting and have him arrested (some more), just like they did with 20+ black folks who TOTALLY deserved to be arrested for voting after they were (im)properly registered by Ron DeSantis’ State of Florida Government to vote. /s

    Ron DeSantis never shuts up about drag queens allegedly harming children. Any why not? It’s a silly, obvious distraction from Rhonda’s total failure to protect so much as one Floridian child from the bullets flying all over Florida. Same thing with the 6 week abortion ban. It’s just a distraction from the real children that really get killed in Ron DeSantis’ Florida.

  • ScienceBLVR

    June 30, 2023 at 3:05 pm

    Registered as a Republican? Of course he is..for the love of guns..

  • Eliot G

    June 30, 2023 at 3:56 pm

    I agree with everything the author wrote. Scot Peterson is a coward and Cruz should have been executed. So he registered to vote while in jail but before he became a convicted murderer. Did that make any difference in the outcomes. Does it matter what Cruz’s party affiliation is/was? Does anyone care? The fact he is still registered is on the election supervisor of the county he registered in. So what is the author implying by last line,
    “For anyone wondering: He’s registered as a Republican.”?

    • Itsa Link

      June 30, 2023 at 4:04 pm

      No need to wonder about that last line, “For anyone wondering: He’s registered as a Republican.” It’s a hyperlink. Click it with the mouse or tap it on a touchscreen, and you magically get more information

      • Eliot G

        June 30, 2023 at 10:53 pm

        I know itsa link. Is the author implying that because Cruz registered as a Republican, Republicans are somehow responsible for Cruz’s action? Or that Republicans are evil because Cruz registered as a Republican? Or is the author just showing his liberal bias?

  • Domino

    June 30, 2023 at 4:03 pm

    Cord Byrd call your office!

  • Roger Clarkson

    June 30, 2023 at 4:12 pm

    I’ve been obverving the commenters here and its clear the Parkland shooter has or had a mindset and IQ level more in line with the leftist Desantis ankle biter majority commenters here than the few and far between conservative commenters.
    I know for a fact a lot of conservatives rely on Florida Politics for whats really happening.
    You must feel you are too good to step into the ring and mix it up with the left. I really would enjoy it more if conservatives would find their voices. What do you plan to do? Sneek up to the Court House and quietly vote on election day and keep your mouth shut for the rest of your meek and mild life?
    Life was not ment to be lived that way at all. You should power-slide into your grave all worn out but still kicking and sceaming all the way.
    Find a pair. It wont hurt to stir up these leftist social club association members every so often. Roger

  • Ocean Joe

    June 30, 2023 at 5:51 pm

    The greatest injustice is that the federal ban on assault rifles was allowed to sunset under Bush, with a Republican controlled congress.
    We reap what they sewed. Again and again and again.
    Desantis, Scott, Rubio, the Florida legislature all bought and owned by the NRA.
    Cops should never have to face off against these weapons, and neither should school children.

  • Eduardine Slavin Salahuddin👍

    June 30, 2023 at 10:01 pm

    Nobody should lose the right to vote unless their crimes have to do with sedition or treason. As opposed to Europe, USA sets a low bar for democracy, civil and human rights, and proportional justice. We have 25% of the worlds prisoners because of our economic system and also healthcare for the rich and able only. Cruz had problems that weren’t being addressed guaranteed..but even if there was healthcare for all…you got so called mental health professionals who refuse to work with some people. This country is a dog eat dog, individualistic, social darwinistic nation that will continue to pay a price in lives. This is better than paying a price in money according to many.

    • Eliot G

      July 1, 2023 at 6:55 am

      I’ve noticed the same thing about the comments on this platform. You don’t get many conservative comments because it is nearly impossible to have a logical discussion with liberals. With liberals, it’s all about victimhood and blame the ills of society, past and present, that create their victims. And of course they blame conservatives.

      In case you didn’t notice, the USA is a republic, not a democracy. So yes, the Europeans have more democracy. So you tell me. Where would you rather live? A country that values individuals or mob rule?

  • Eliot G

    July 1, 2023 at 6:36 am

    OMG. Those evil Republicans and evil NRA. Too bad the right to bear arms is enshrined in the 2nd Amdendment to the United States Constitution. Let’s blame the guns.

    The fact is Cruz never should have been able to possess any firearm. He was on just about everyone’s radar for his evil behavior and actions well before Parkland. The failure to protect that high school from him falls on law enforcement, the school district, and the mental health professionals that refused to take the appropriate actions to separate him from society.

Comments are closed.


Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch @PeterSchorschFL

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Drew Dixon, Roseanne Dunkelberger, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Cole Pepper, Gray Rohrer, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Drew Wilson, and Mike Wright.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @PeterSchorschFL
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704

Sign up for Sunburn