Finding the real cause behind school shootings  

Sunday, May 20, 2018

So once again, in what is becoming a far too frequent phenomenon, shots rang out in the halls of an American educational institution.

The deadliest school shooting since February's Parkland, Florida, incident claimed 17 lives, Friday's attack by a student at his Santa Fe, Texas, high school resulted in the deaths of 10 people ― eight students and two teachers. This time, not in an urban community, but in a town a little bit larger than Spencer.

While we remember and mourn the dead ― as we should ― with shock and disbelief, we seem to pay far less attention to the "other ones" ― the 13 wounded and those who managed to avoid injury but still must face the trauma resulting from the loss of a classmate.

Dimitrios Pagourtzis, a 17-year-old student at Santa Fe High, was arrested a short time after the senseless attack and according to police reports confessed and told investigators he had spared students he liked so that "he could have his story told."

And before the news cycle was even five hours old, the call rang out for gun control. And experts began analyzing the entry and access points to the school. And before the investigation could be completed, all of our federal elected officials used the opportunity to turn the tragedy into a political football.

There are stories about a girl who rejected his aggressive advances over the period of several months. It was suggested her final very public rejection took place in a classroom in front of their peers. She was one of the victims to sustain a fatal wound.

While we search for answers and look at school administrators and teachers to assign blame for the tragedy, from the sounds of things, Santa Fe High School did everything right. They drilled for safety. They had a resource officer on campus ― who was among those critically injured in the shooting.

So we're back to the guns issue again. Now it is my understanding that no automatic weapons were used in this shooting unlike some of the others. And last time I checked, a firearm is pretty reliant on the skill and objective of its handler.

So rather than target the school or blame the gun, why don't we talk this through. Guns have been around for a very long time. Regular school shootings have been a relatively recent development ― within the last 20 years or so I'm estimating ― with the Columbine shooting really being the first school incident I recall. Why don't we spend more time looking into the cause and effect associated directly with the shooters. It seems more often than not, the kids involved in these attacks are not your top students, athletes or those heavily involved in extracurriculars. They tend to be disassociated and more loner in nature. Often we find they are outcasts or had been bullied.

We can talk about gun control and who to blame, but my real concern is with the student attitudes and environment which is often linked to these horrific crimes. That is where I believe we really need to start.

My heart goes out to the individuals and the families who lost a friend or loved one, or knows someone who was injured in the Santa Fe shooting. My greatest fear is if we don't start looking into the core issues within the frame of the teenage school dynamic, we're going to continue to have these incidents until one hits a little closer to home.

Nobody thinks it can happen to them until it does.