The Broward County Jail has received an influx of letters from around the world, all addressed to one person: Nikolas Cruz.
Nikolas Cruz, the Parkland shooter who killed 17 people in March, has received letters of support primarily from women and teenage girls and has also received some letters from men. Out of the hundreds of letters, there was not one which criticized Cruz for killing and many offered to send him money.
While Cruz cannot open the letters since he is on suicide watch, Cruz’s attorney, Howard Finkelstein, says that he has never seen a defendant get so many letters.
Finkelstein estimates that Cruz has received between 100 and 200 letters.
Cruz has been shown some letters that offer religious support, but most of the other letters have been kept from him.
“We have not and will not read him the fan letters or share the photos of scantily clad teenage girls,” Finkelstein said.
These letters scare Finkelstein as he believes idolizing Cruz’s actions could possibly lead to more killings.
Images of the letters have not been released, but samplings of the letters have been published.
A 20-year-old university student from Germany sent a letter to Cruz offering friendship.
“I feel sorry for you, as the media represents you without acknowledging what you’ve been through in the past years. Sometimes we don’t have control over what happens to us, but we always have absolute control over how we react to it. If you are looking for someone to write with, no matter what topic, I’m here.”
A letter from England read, “I have freckles like yours. I think your beautiful. Even don’t write back feel free to ask me anything. Oh and I forgot to mention that I’m a girl lol.”
A letter from a 19 year-old in Florida asked how Cruz was doing and offered to be his “writing buddy.”
A Facebook page entitled “Nikolas Cruz–the First Victim” had 300 followers until the group was made secret. This group described themselves as being “in complete support of Nikolas Cruz.”
The influx of letters to Cruz follows a pattern of people sending letters to killers.
Charles Manson, the cult leader; the Menendez brothers, convicted of murdering their parents in 1994; and Ted Bundy, the serial rapist-murderer, all gained fan mail and adoration after they committed their crimes.
Fans regularly requested to meet Manson, who received over 60,000 letters from fans annually in his later life. The Menendez brothers found brides while they were in prison. Bundy received bags of mail from so-called Bundyphiles. Bundyphiles closely followed Bundy and regularly sent him love letters.
Psychotherapist Dr. Robi Ludwig offers two explanations for the idolization of killers.
“There are some people who are more codependent in terms of mindset that think, ‘Oh, this poor soul. I can fix him. I can be important in his life,’ ” Ludwig said.
Ludwig added a potential alternative, saying people are, “attracted to the danger. They like somebody who is dangerous. They grew up in violence. They’re desensitized to it and, in some cases, it’s vicariously thrilling.”
Photo Credits to AAP.