July 7, 2022

A Texan Republican Senator just shared a post defending the Santa Fe school shooter

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The nation is still reeling after the school shooting in Santa Fe, Texas last Friday, the latest in the seemingly interminable string of such violent events. Ten people were killed and thirteen injured when a homicidal 17-year-old boy who attended the school entered an art classroom and opened fire with a shotgun and pistol.


Now, Antonios Pagourtzis, the killer’s father, has waded into the limelight with disgusting new comments that threaten to tear open afresh the emotional wounds of the survivors and the families of the victims.

Pagourtzis asserts that his son is a “good boy” and blames his decision to murder almost a dozen people in cold blood on the fact that he endured some bullying at the hands of his classmates. He claims his son was “mistreated at school” and that he believes it’s what precipitated the slaughter.

“I feel the pain of the others, but I have the same pain. I have the same exact pain. Something must have happened now, this last week. Somebody probably came and hurt him, and since he was a solid boy, I don’t know what could have happened. I can’t say what happened. All I can say is what I suspect as a father, because I’ve lost my boy. My son, to me, is not a criminal. He’s a victim,” said Pagourtzis to The Wall Street Journal.

Of course, he fails to mention that countless children across the country are bullied every day and don’t decide to steal their father’s guns and execute a bloody rampage on innocent children and teachers. Bullying does not even begin to explain this massacre.

Instead, according to the mother of one of the victims, the killer was angry because her daughter had spurned his incessant advances. She stated that the boy had been pestering her daughter, Shana Fisher, for four months, and that Fisher was afraid he intended to hurt her.

If this was indeed the case, then the spree killing was a horrific act rooted in misogynist, toxic, masculine entitlement, an all-too-common thread in these mass murders. Bullying can’t be allowed to be used as a scapegoat here.

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The killer’s father is certainly going through a terrible experience right now, trying to square the son he thought he knew with the murderer he actually raised, but his comments represent a stunning act of cruelty and victim-blaming.

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The only person at fault here is the killer. The children he slew didn’t deserve their fates, even if they did bully the shooter. Pagourtzis should do everyone a favor and keep his opinions to himself. The families deserve time to mourn.

To make matters even worse, Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) shared The Wall Street Journal article which contains the interview with Pagourtzis in which he made his detestable comments. Cornyrn’s tweet quotes the part where the killer is called a “good boy” who was “mistreated at school.”

It’s a cynical attempt by the Texas Senator, who has an A+ rating with the NRA,  to turn the conversation away from the guns used in the shooting. He’s willing to paint the murderer as a victim if it means he can avoid talking about gun reform and keep his gun lobbyist donors happy. It’s inexcusable, and once again demonstrates how important it is to vote the GOP out of power as soon as possible.

Follow Rob Haffey on Facebook and Twitter.

Robert Haffey

Robert Haffey is a political writer, filmmaker, and winner of the ScreenCraft Writing Fellowship. He is a graduate of Drexel University.

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