Pagourtzis’ Dark Shadow

The National Herald

FILE - This photo provided by the Galveston County Sheriff's Office shows Dimitrios Pagourtzis, who law enforcement officials took into custody Friday, May 18, 2018, and identified as the suspect in the deadly school shooting in Santa Fe, Texas, near Houston. (Galveston County Sheriff's Office via AP)

It is already 2 weeks since the 17-year-old Greek-American Dimitrios Pagourtzis, holding a shotgun and a pistol belonging to his father, entered Santa Fe High School in Texas at 7:45 in the morning as classes began and started shooting.

In a matter of just four minutes he murdered 10 people: eight students and two substitute teachers. He had his sensibilities, though; those he liked, he did not shoot.

The theory that has prevailed so far and with his father as its source, in the interviews he gave to the Greek TV stations Alpha and ANT1 – he did not respond to repeated attempts by the National Herald to contact him – is that his son was a victim of bullying and ended up committing this desperate act, first to avenge those who bullied him and, second, as a possible reaction to a girl who did not reciprocate his feelings toward her.

Pagourtzis is expected to appear before a judge about a month from now, so we will have the opportunity to learn more. Meanwhile, President Trump is visited Texas, where he met with victims' families.

The subject of Pagourtzis has cast a shadow over Greek America and Hellenism in general. That name has already been identified with something very negative: one of the worst – if not the worst – crime in the history of Hellenism in the United States.

But it is an issue that we do not discuss extensively, even as it is not far from our thoughts. And people wonder if we, Pagourtzis’ fellow Greek-Americans, have any, even the slightest responsibility, for the murders committed by a member of the community? No, we do not.

Let us confess, it has crossed our mind that we have lost our impeccable behavior regarding the law. Yes, we are concerned.

And it concern us that society in general and the president in particular know that the accused criminal is of Greek descent.

So what can we do?

I hope parents, teachers, clergy, and others do not ignore this, but discuss it with our children, and in particular explain that there is absolutely no excuse for what Pagourtzis did. None. And that all the aforementioned – but especially the parents - will take responsibility for their upbringing of our children very seriously.

Silence in this matter is not golden; quite this opposite. It is a time bomb that at some point can explode.