In today’s society, it’s not a shock to see in the news that there has been another mass shooting in the United States. It is definitely sad and gut-wrenching to know that a coward who chooses to implode their anger or their destructive motives onto the innocent people becomes the top headline.
The most recent of these mass shootings was on May 18, 2018, at Santa Fe High School near Houston Texas. Dimitrios Pagourtzis entered his school wearing a trench coat in which he had hidden a shotgun and a .38 caliber revolver. Pagourtzis started his rampage by opening fire upon his classmates at the first period in the art building that resulted in 9 students and 1 teacher being killed, and 13 others injured.
The shooting rampage lasted about 30 minutes as Pagourtzis taunted the students to come out of hiding from a supply closet in which 8 students were hiding. He shot towards the closet door killing two students and injuring others as he later asked, “Are you dead yet?” He was also heard in another classroom yelling with excitement as he fired at other classmates.
Dimitrios Pagourtzis is a 17-year-old student of the Santa Fe High School. It has been reported that he didn’t have a disciplinary problem at the school and was unsuspected from other classmates of being a troubled classmate. Law Enforcement has discovered that along with the weapons found on the shooter, they also recovered explosive devices at the school, the shooters vehicle, and his home. Also discovered were a journal and a home computer from Pagourtzis that explained his future attack at the school and how he would carry it out.
Pagourtzis had romantically pursued the first victim that was shot and killed. The victim’s mother reports that her daughter had no interest in Pagourtzis and had to eventually become more definite with her rejections to him. Law Enforcement is not releasing a motive at this time, but report that Pagourtzis has confessed to not killing people he liked so that they could tell his story.
Even with red flags that seem to be present and ones that others didn’t see prior to the school shooting, the news media will have already glorified this shooter and have several angles, understandings, and empathy of why he may have chosen this disruptive route within minutes of their story being aired.
Something needs to be done about stopping these shootings that are killing our children. It doesn’t need to be political and have unresolved issues that take years, or even decades, to come up for a solution to keep children, faculty and innocent people safe within the schools, churches, venues, etc. Mass shootings can occur anywhere at any given time, and as I have repeatedly stated over and over again, “and with any kind of weapon, not just guns.”
So what do we do? How can we stop these mass shootings? How can we stop the deadly violence in schools? Instead of glorifying the shooter, blaming political parties for pushing their own agendas, blaming his parents for having a gun in their home, accepting the violent acts due to video games, watching violent or horror movies/TV shows, being bullied or rejected from wanting a relationship, we need solutions to be implemented immediately.
Most schools in Texas have the policy to lock the doors from others entering from the outside to deter some from doing harm. Yes, that may be a stepping-stone to ensure the safety of students and faculty inside the building, but I believe the schools need metal detectors at the entrances as students and faculty come and go from the school buildings throughout the day. If the faculty couldn’t recognize that a trench coat in 90-degree weather was a little strange then we need to have better eyes for each person that enters the building that wants to carry out harmful actions towards others.
As many of us are already accustomed to, “copycat” crimes and assailants wanting to make a bigger headline than the last tragedy are too common of an occurrence within this country. And in doing such crimes as a 17-year-old or younger in Texas, the laws are in the criminal’s favor. Pagourtzis is, so far, being charged as an adult with Capitol Murder and Aggravated Assault on a Peace Officer and will be able to squeeze by the death penalty conviction due to the change in laws because of his age of being 17 years old.
According to the 2005 Federal Supreme Court Ruling, it is ruled that criminals 18 years of age and younger cannot be executed by the State of Texas. According to the 5-4 Roper v. Simmons case, condemning criminals 18 years and younger to death was ruled “cruel and unusual punishment” and in violation of the 8th and 14th amendments. Also, there is another case ruling by the Federal Court that could allow Pagourtzis to be eligible for parole after serving 40 years in prison. This was a 2012 case Miller v. Alabama in which it abolished mandatory life without parole for juveniles. With these new laws in place, the findings were based on “the idea that 17-year-olds and younger do not have the cognitive development to appreciate right from wrong”.
So as the hit TV series, “How To Get Away With Murder” now can ring true in real life situations. Unless you have a mental issue or some type of brain injury, a person understands or has knowledge of “right and wrong” for situations. I ‘m assuming that red flags don’t count for 17-year-olds and younger now, and it is okay to plan out your every move, break into a locked door to steal the weapons to carry out this event, and experiment with explosives, and decide to place them in locations where it can possibly harm others. Deciding to wear a trench coat in 90 degree Texas heat to conceal your weapon of choice and to depict who will become your victim as you strike more fear into the mix by taunting their image to appear so they can die in your presence. If one has the know-how to contemplate about this kind of stuff, then they clearly have the knowledge and, possibly the understanding, of “being right from wrong”.
Wake up! Our children are dying because no one wants to start implementing any kind of solution. Our schools need to be secured from the inside out. Put metal detectors in place to stop this wildfire of destruction. The weapons can be anything, not just guns, people are killing people and will find any means possible to carry out their evil destruction. Staff, faculty, students, and parents need to be diligent and recognize red flags. If the States can’t or won’t secure every school building in this country, then the public schools need to be shut down and just have the education process be utilized on an online system or just homeschool the children. There are plenty of retired military men and women who would be honored to help to secure the schools. Start somewhere! Then focus on other issues that can pertain to the family issues, finding the weapons of choice and its availability. Don’t kick the can further down the road like in previous years. The time is overdue! Our children’s lives matter, teachers’ lives matter. Stop the violence and “copycat crimes” before the massacre.