Texas School Shooter’s Father Calls His Son a ‘Victim’ But We’re Not Convinced

School shootings are becoming more commonplace and each tragedy is worse than the last. Despite the fact that we have all the evidence we need to address the issue, it seems as if little is done.

With every new school shooting also comes another reasoning as to why it happened. One of the most popular is that the student who perpetrated the act was bullied to the point of mass murder. While it sounds like a valid excuse, there are so many things wrong with that statement and here’s why. If anything, page 6 should give you pause when someone levies that argument.

The ‘victim’ shooter is nothing new

Columbine High School building.

The Columbine High School shooting made headlines around the world. | Wellesenterprises/Getty Images

Surely you remember Columbine in 1999 when Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris shot almost 40 people and killed 15. They were members of the so-called “trench coat mafia,” an ostracized and reclusive group. Their apparent reasoning for shooting all those people was because they felt they were in some way marginalized, picked on, or victims of a social caste system. This marked the beginning in our minds of a dangerous narrative that still plays out today.

Next: Fast forward to today, and you can still hear those echoes from recent shooters. 

The father of the Sante Fe gunman claims his son is the ‘victim’

Pray SF decals seen on a wall.

Pagourtzis had a surprising thing to say about his son. | Scott Olson/Getty Images

The shooting in May 2018 at the Sant Fe High School in east Houston was shocking, to say the least. Shortly afterward, in an interview with Greek television station Antenna TV, Antonios Pagourtzis said: “My son, to me, is not a criminal — he’s a victim.” Pagourtzis said that his son was the victim of bullying.

Next: Here’s why it is so easy to fall back on this excuse.

Bullying makes sense

A group of mourners praying together.

Here’s what you should know about this narrative. | Scott Olson/Getty Images

Simply put, bullying is the easy answer to why people would do this. It makes sense that someone was so badly mistreated that it pushed them to the very edge and lashed out in extreme violence. It makes it easier for us to comprehend such violence. That still doesn’t make it a valid reason for the shooting, nor should we accept it as an excuse. Furthermore, that narrative is almost always untrue.

Next: Here’s why this argument is actually a terrible excuse.

Schools would be a literal war zone if bullying was the culprit

Mourners standing together at a vigil.

This trend is scary. | Scott Olson/Getty Images

If bullying was the culprit for these shootings, the number of lives lost per day would be insurmountable. Nearly 160,000 kids refuse to go to school each day for fear of being bullied. If just 1% of those kids picked up a gun and shot someone, that would be 16,000 deaths per day at school. If you start to think about how many people are killed during these events, those numbers skyrocket.

Next: The number of deaths wouldn’t be the only thing that changed if bullying were the culprit. 

White males wouldn’t be the shooters

Photos of victims and candles on a table.

Bullied students aren’t always white males. | Scott Olson/Getty Images

If you look at all the school mass shootings that have occurred since Columbine, there is one particular demographic that stands out. Almost all of the shooters are white males.

The only problem is that bullies target people that are different. So people of color, LGBTQ, and children with disabilities are far more common victims of bullying. If bullying were the case, you would see a lot more of these demographics popping up in school shootings.

Next: By calling the shooter a “victim,” you are doing something that’s actually really shameful.

Calling a shooter a ‘victim’ is literally victim blaming

A mourner holds a candle.

Here’s why this shouldn’t be done. | Scott Olson/Getty Images

We live in a country that operates under the rule of law. If someone has violated a law or statute, the state of the federal government will prosecute judiciously. All of the people shot and/or killed by these school shooters are victims of and should not be blamed for it. Here is the definition:

“Victim blaming is a devaluing act where the victim of a crime … is held as wholly or partially responsible for the wrongful conduct committed against them.”

If calling the shooter a victim doesn’t fall under that exact definition, we don’t know what does. Sure, the shooter may have been bullied in their eyes. But, that still doesn’t constitute a rightful excuse or explanation for their actions.

Next: Now here is the truth about bullying that you really need to know.

Bullying is a serious problem

A young woman sitting sadly in a classroom.

Bullying, however, is a problem to address in all schools. | iStock.com

We realize that we have just spent the last few pages arguing against bullying being used as an excuse for school shooters to commit their crimes. But that doesn’t and shouldn’t diminish the fact that bullying is a serious problem in America.

The impacts on our society are far-reaching. Victims of bullies have lower achievement rates, anxiety, depression, and are likely to commit suicide. It also translates into the long-term with bullies being more likely to be abusive toward their romantic partners, spouses, or children as adults.

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