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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 5/21/18

After Santa Fe Highschool Shooting, Texas Lawmakers Have "Focused on Anything But Guns"

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We look at the latest in a series of deadly mass shootings at U.S. schools: Friday morning in Texas, 17-year-old Dimitrios Pagourtzis entered Santa Fe High School and shot dead 10 people -- eight fellow students and two teachers. He used a shotgun and a .38 revolver taken from his father to carry out the murders. Ahead of the attack, Pagourtzis posted on his Facebook page a picture of a T-shirt he wore Friday that read "Born to Kill."

Some Texas officials responded to Friday's shooting with calls for prayers and blamed abortion and violent video games. The incoming National Rifle Association president, Oliver North, blamed Ritalin for school shootings. We get an update from Kolten Parker of The Texas Observer and Ed Scruggs of Texas Gun Sense.

Transcript

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: Today we look at the latest in a long series of deadly mass shootings at schools in the United States. The latest took place Friday morning, just after 7:30 a.m. Texas time, when a student entered his Santa Fe High School, outside of Houston, wearing a trench coat, and shot dead 10 people -- eight fellow students and two teachers. Seventeen-year-old Dimitrios Pagourtzis used a shotgun and a .38-caliber revolver taken from his father to carry out the attack, which officials said he planned to end by committing suicide, but instead he surrendered to police. Authorities say he also reportedly planted various types of explosives in a home and a car. He's being held without bond on charges of capital murder. One Santa Fe High School student told local station ABC13 she wasn't surprised by the mass shooting at her school.

FOTI KALLERGIS: Was there a part of you that was like, "This isn't real. This would not happen in my school"?

PAIGE CURRY: No, there wasn't.

FOTI KALLERGIS: Why so?

PAIGE CURRY: It's been happening everywhere. I felt -- I've always kind of felt like eventually it was going to happen here, too. So, I don't know. I wasn't surprised. I was just scared.

AMY GOODMAN: The Santa Fe school district reportedly had an active-shooter plan, two armed police officers at the high school, and had voted last fall to eventually arm teachers and staff under the state's school marshal program. Ahead of the attack, Pagourtzis posted on his Facebook page a T-shirt that read "Born to Kill," as well as images of his trench coat and an explanation of its decorations, noting that "Hammer and Sickle=Rebellion," "Rising Sun=Kamikaze Tactics," "Iron Cross=Bravery," and "Baphomet=Evil."

On Sunday, the National Rifle Association's incoming president, Oliver North, blamed Ritalin for school shootings. Some Texas officials responded to Friday's shooting with calls for prayers, including Republican Senator Ted Cruz. This prompted a reaction from at least one Santa Fe High School student on Twitter, who responded to Cruz, writing, quote, "as a sfhs tudent, all i can ask you to do is vote for gun reform. you have the power to help prevent these things. thank you for your prayers, but we need action as well."

Meanwhile, Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick said the Santa Fe school shooting may have been enabled by Texas' schools having too many entrances and exits. He spoke at a news conference with Governor Greg Abbott and Senator Cruz.

LT. GOV. DAN PATRICK: We may have to look at the design of our schools, moving forward, and retrofitting schools that are already built. And what I mean by that is, there are too many entrances and too many exits to our over 8,000 campuses in Texas. Over 8,000 campuses. There aren't enough people to put a guard at every entrance and exit. You would be talking 25,000, 30,000, 40,000 people. But if we can protect a large office building or a courthouse or any major facility, maybe we need to look at limiting the entrance and the exits into our schools, so that we can have law enforcement looking at the people who come in one or two entrances. Schools may have to have their start day, not all students show up at once, so that we don't have every student -- there are 1,400 students at this school -- trying to get in the door at once. We're going to have to be creative. We're going to have to think out of the box.

AMY GOODMAN: Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick also blamed abortion. His comments drew ridicule from some critics, but he stood by his comments Sunday during an interview on ABC's This Week.

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