Everyone Mourns Differently. Father Of Texas School Shooter Mourns Like A Dick
Antonios Pagourtzis and a much younger Dimitrios Pagourtzis.
Look, we know everyone grieves differently after a tragedy. Lord knows there were all sorts of terrible rightwing tweets about the fact that some of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School survivors smiled within a week of the shooting, because as everyone knows, their normal, variable human emotions while grieving invalidated their calls for action on guns. Nevertheless, here we are being all judgy of Antonios Pagourtzis, the father of the boy who shot 20 people -- 10 dead, 10 injured -- at Santa Fe High School in Texas, because sweet furry Jesus on a velociraptor, we've never seen another family member of a mass shooter show as little concern about the victims as we see in this Wall Street Journal interview.
Again, we understand that no parent would ever want to have to face the fact that their kid did anything so horrible. We understand that. But the main focus of almost everything Mr. Pagourtzis says is how terrible all this has been for him and his family. The WSJ report relies on both a brief direct interview with Pagourtzis, and on a Saturday interview with Greek TV network Antenna (it's all video; so no Google translation for us), and there, too, Pagourtzis, 61, seems intent on suggesting that he and his family are merely victims, like the families of those his son shot.
Mr. Pagourtzis told the WSJ that his son was a “good boy” who had been “mistreated at school,” and added, "I believe that’s what was behind" the murderous rampage. He acknowledged in the Antenna interview, "I have guns, I am a hunter a [...] The guns in my house are legal and declared." But were they locked up? That'll have to come out in an investigation, because Antonios Pagourtzis wouldn't tell WSJ how his good boy came to get his hands on the shotgun and .38 caliber revolver with which Dimitrios shot up his art class.
In Houston TV station KPRC's summary/translation of part of the Greek TV interview, Antonios Pagourtzis apparently said the guns were kept in his closet, and that his son was a very good boy.
Dimitrios worked out and didn't drink or get into fights, he told the station. He said he ate and played with his son the night before the shooting, and Dimitrios left early the next morning. When the father asked why he was leaving early, Dimitrios replied, "I'm off, I love you and I'll see you in the afternoon," Pagourtzis told Antenna.
And yes, there's some concern about the victims, but in a very weird, self-centered version of empathy:
"I feel the pain of the others, but I have the same pain. I have the same exact pain," Pagourtzis said, according to a translation of the interview. "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."
His boy is "lost" because he's almost certainly looking at a life sentence for murder. [Update: We'd originally said that, this being Texas, prosecutors would likely seek capital punishment, but as alert Wonkette Operative "Ninja0980" notes, the Supreme Court finally banned the death penalty for crimes committed by people under the age of 18 -- Dok Z] But his son had something to do with that, bullying or no. Or maybe it was the trenchcoat that's to blame.
In his WSJ interview, Pagourtzis seems overwhelmed -- or perhaps very canny? -- explaining that this is all too much for a simple man from humble origins to bear:
“I only went to grammar school. I left from my village in northern Greece when I was 12. I only had the clothes I wore and an extra pair of boots,” he said. “This country treated us well. I worked hard and became a shipowner. I had three ships, which I sold.”
“Now,” he added, “our lives are shattered.”
Again, we get that the elder Pagourtzis is not a sophisticated man, and that he probably has little awareness of what has become the expected rhetoric from families of perpetrators of mass shootings (Yes, let's DO take a moment to pause at the unfortunate reality that we all have a sense of the expected script). "Our hearts go out to the victims." "We had no idea he was capable of such a thing." "We only wish we could have known and done something." Or even "we are sorry."
But not usually He was bullied by gym teachers so he tried to murder everyone in his art class. Of course, Mr. Pagourtzis had "liked" the NRA's Dana Loesch and Fox News on Facebook, so perhaps he's learned all about how to deflect blame onto others.
This is not to say Pagourtzis is utterly focused on making excuses for his son, or that he's only worried about his own loss. In an understandable bit of cosmic bargaining, he told the Greek TV network, "It would have been better if he shot me than all those kids."
We also learn that he'd asked relatives in Greece to
light three candles: one for the victims, one for Dimitrios Pagourtzis and one for the Pagourtzis family. “I’ve lost my son like those parents that lost theirs,” he said.
One out of three isn't bad, we suppose. But no, there's so far no regret about having unsecured guns in the house, because how could that have made any difference? And while the National Rifle Association recommends gun safes or trigger locks for folks who want to "prevent unauthorized persons from accessing the firearms," the NRA also despises laws mandating secure storage of guns, because "The determination of what is 'adequate protection' is a matter of judgment on the part of the individual gun owner."
And hey, if some people guess wrong about whether keeping guns in an unlocked closet is safe, who is anyone else to question their judgment, because freedom. Besides, violent TV shows and video games probably made him think it would be safe.
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Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.