As more details emerge about the tragic shooting at Santa Fe High School in Texas, a possible motive has been revealed for the violence that took the lives of 10 people and injured 13 others. One of the victims, Shana Fisher, reportedly rejected the advances of the shooter, Dimitrios Pagourtzis, according to the Dallas Morning News.
"He kept making advances on her and she repeatedly told him no,” explained Sadie Rodriguez, Fisher’s mother. According to Rodriguez, after Pagourtzis became more aggressive, Fisher stood up to him and embarrassed him in class.
Toxic masculinity reemerges as a central theme in this shooting. “Young women may not feel comfortable rejecting someone’s advances if they know that person might have access to a gun,” Adelyn Allchin, director of public health research at the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, told Refinery29. Allchin mentioned multiple policies to help prevent those who shouldn't from accessing guns, including safe storage laws, accountability for firearm owners, and prohibiting domestic abusers from purchasing and possessing firearms. In each policy, the focus is on access. We do not know how Pagourtzis gained access to these guns, but the fact that a 17-year-old can get his hands on them at all means that it was too easy.
“Research shows us that domestic violence is one of the biggest risk factors for future acts of violence,” Allchin continued. “When young, angry men have easy access to firearms, lives are at risk.”
Getting killed in a mass shooting shouldn’t be something that a teenage girl, or anyone for that matter, should have to worry about. She didn’t owe him anything. Whenever he expressed interest, she said no. That should be enough. No one should have to consider the possibility of violence when telling someone they’re not interested in a romantic relationship.
"The shooting in Santa, Fe, TX is yet another tragic example of how easy access to guns by angry boys and men is a threat to the lives of girls and women,” founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, Shannon Watts, told Refinery29. “American women are nearly 16 times more likely to be killed with a gun than women in other high-income countries, and over 50 women in the U.S. are fatally shot by current and former intimate partners each month. Every nation is home to toxic masculinity, but only America fuels it with easy access to guns."
Students have since been giving their harrowing accounts of the shooting, saying Pagourtzis made taunting comments as he carried out his violent rampage. After surrendering to the police, he waived his right to remain silent, confessing to the shooting. In a probable-cause statement, Pagourtzis admitted that “he did not shoot students he did like so he could have his story told.”