Grief and anger after Texas school shooting

Not again: The US has less than 5% of the world’s population, but 31% of its mass shooters. © Getty

Will America ever fix its gun problem? On Friday, a 17-year-old opened fire on his classmates at a Texas high school. It was the fourth deadliest shooting at a US school in modern history.

At around 7:30am at Santa Fe High School in Texas, students heard “the sound that has become too routine in schools across America: Bang. Bang. Bang.”

America is facing up to yet another mass shooting. Ten people have died. The shooter stalked back and forth between two classrooms inside the school, firing constantly.

The perpetrator was 17-year-old student Dimitrios Pagourtzis. His guns were legally owned by his father.

Officials say there were few signs that Pagourtzis would become a killer. He had no criminal record.

It is just over three months since 17 people were killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

That attack created a nationwide youth-led campaign for gun control. Hundreds of thousands of people marched through Washington calling for stronger gun control. A series of changes, including moves to ban so-called bump stocks, which were used in last year's Las Vegas shooting, have been proposed.

But here we are again, asking all the familiar questions.

“This isn’t a time for prayers, and study and inaction, it’s a time for prayers, action and the asking of God’s forgiveness for our inaction,” Houston’s police chief, Art Acevedo, wrote on Facebook.

Will his wish come true?

Déjà vu

One day it will, say some. While many still cling to the Second Amendment, polls show that the majority of Americans support a range of individual policies to control guns. Recently we have seen a new generation refusing to stand idly by after shooting after shooting. Change is possible.

Not a chance, reply others. Guns are too deeply embedded in American society for any meaningful reform to take place. And even ridding America of every single firearm would not solve the main problems, which concern masculinity, social alienation and a wider cultural crisis in America.

You Decide

  1. What is the main reason for mass shootings in America?

Activities

  1. Draw up a timeline of mass shootings in recent US history, including the reactions to each event.

Some People Say...

“This country will give up schools before it gives up guns.”

Sean Thomason

What do you think?

Q & A

What do we know?
Ten people were killed when Dimitrios Pagourtzis, 17, opened fire at his high school in Texas. Thirteen others were wounded in the attack, with two in critical condition.
What do we not know?
Very much about Pagourtzis himself. It is believed he planned to kill himself after killing his peers, but was unable to go through with it, and instead gave himself up to the authorities.

Word Watch

Texas
The second largest US state has some of the most lax gun laws in the country.
Few signs
He posted a photo online of a T-shirt with the slogan “Born to Kill” emblazoned on it.
Parkland
The perpetrator was Nikolas Cruz, who had been expelled from the school.
Bump stocks
An attachment that makes a semi-automatic weapon shoot nearly as fast as a fully-automatic machine gun.
Las Vegas shooting
The deadliest mass shooting in US history occurred when 64-year-old Stephen Paddock murdered 58 concert-goers from his hotel window last year.

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