Commentary: Nikolas Cruz is alive and Alton Sterling is dead

Commentary: Nikolas Cruz is alive and Alton Sterling is dead
April 05
02:00 2018

Shootings and killings in America have unfortunately become commonplace. They happen with such frequency that we simply wait on the next one. It’s not if it is going to happen, it’s simply when it’s going to happen.

On March 24, thousands of students marched in Washington, D.C. and 800 other cities across America to protest for stricter gun laws. This March For Our Lives event took place on the heels of the shooting of 17 students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The shooter was Nikolas Cruz, who is 19 years old.

The march’s premise was a clarion call to lawmakers to say that tougher gun laws must be passed. In the meantime, Nikolas Cruz is in jail in Broward County, Florida, and is receiving mail and lots of it. Cruz has received over 200 pieces of mail. He is receiving suggestive mail from teenage girls and even adult women. Cruz has been charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder in the first degree and 17 counts of attempted murder in the first degree.

Who are these people sending Cruz letters that place him on some type of social pedestal? Why would young girls send him pictures of them wearing almost nothing at all? Maybe there are some who understand this perverted kind of thinking, but I don’t.

Nikolas Cruz is said to be deeply disturbed and emotionally broken. Only time will tell what will happen to him. It is also important to say that the families of the victims are hurt and in unspeakable pain.

Because of the actions of the police in Parkland Florida, Nikolas Cruz is alive today. We can agree to disagree as to the circumstances surrounding why he is still alive today.

Jeff Landry, attorney general in Louisiana, found the police were not at fault and won’t be criminally charged in the death of Alton Sterling. Alton Sterling was shot to death by the Baton Rouge Louisiana police. Late Friday, March 30, Officer Blane Salamoni was terminated by the Baton Rouge police department and Officer Howie Lake II was suspended for three days.

Alton Sterling was on the ground and subdued by two professionally trained police officers. The video supports this assertion. Yet there are some who would dispute the video and make another claim. Should we be confused by the video? Is there another video? If you believe Alton Sterling should have been shot and killed, then it doesn’t matter about video presentations or eyewitnesses.

For some, the Alton Sterling video reminds us of the Rodney King video. King was brutally beaten by several Los Angeles police officers on March 3, 1991. The operative word here is several. There is video evidence in my opinion that he was almost beaten to death for resisting arrest. A picture of Rodney King was released on March 6, 1991, three days after the beating. He was disfigured. The case was taken to trial and the police were found not guilty.

What do the cases of Nikolas Cruz and Alton Sterling have in common? First, the police were called to both settings. Lastly, Cruz was able to get in a police car and be driven away. Alton Sterling was shot to death at point blank range and taken away in a body bag.

Two cases involving shooting and killing. Nikolas Cruz killed 17 students and is alive. Alton Sterling didn’t kill anyone, resisted arrest and is dead.

James B. Ewers  Jr. Ed.D. is a former tennis champion at Atkins High School in Winston-Salem and played college tennis at Johnson C. Smith University, where he was all-conference for four years. He is a retired college administrator.  He can be reached at


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