A fish rots from the head down.”
— Ancient proverb of disputed origin
Another week has come and gone, and with it, another mass shooting. The American culture of death marches on, fueled by our obscene stockpiles of lethal weaponry and stoked by the divisions, alienation, hatred and fear that have come to define us as a nation.
As I wrote in my column after the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre, we are in the grips of a self-destructive social and psychological disorder—a Hobbesian “war of all against all”—that has long festered. Far from improving since then, the disorder has metastasized to new levels under the leadership of our 45th president.
The latest outrage took place early Friday morning at a high school in Santa Fe, Texas, a rural community of just over 12,000 about 20 miles northwest of Galveston.
The perpetrator has been identified as Dimitrios Pagourtzis, a 17-year-old student, who used a shotgun and a .38 revolver belonging to his father to shoot 10 people dead—eight fellow pupils and two teachers—and wound at least 10 more. Pagourtzis is being held without bail on charges of capital murder. In all likelihood, in the “hang ’em high” Lone Star State, he’ll be tried as an adult and given the death penalty.
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