Florida’s schools are filled with young people making murderous threats to classmates and teachers, reports the South Florida Sun Sentinel. Although some are the idle words of indiscreet adolescents, a disturbing number come from mentally impaired children who are fixated on violence and have access to guns, the paper found. The newspaper says it examined the question that has weighed on parents since a disturbed teenager killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in February 2018: How many other children like the shooter are walking the halls of schools? The newspaper found more than 100 tormented youths, most of them threatening to murder teachers or fellow students. Together, the cases illustrate the depth of mental illness and despair raging through today’s young people.
In more than half the cases, children had access to guns at home. Some families had assault weapons in their homes, and some children posed on social media with handguns or other weapons. A mentally ill 12-year-old in Miami-Dade posted a picture on Snapchat with a gun, threatening to kill “the people who snitched on me.” Before making deadly threats, children in at least a quarter of the cases had committed violent acts in the past. One boy beat a random man with a hammer. Another punched his school principal in the face. A middle schooler sexually assaulted a 7-year-old. Still another committed armed robbery. In more than a third of the cases, the children claimed they wanted to die. In addition to the protection orders, more children and teens are being arrested for making written threats to kill. Police made 293 such arrests in 2018 alone. A decade earlier, there were 32.