School shootings are now as American as apple pie, and Friday’s tragedy at Sante Fe High School, in Sante Fe, Texas, followed the usual recipe. People who knew the suspected shooter, a seventeen-year-old named Dimitrios Pagourtzis, said there was nothing particularly unusual about him. (Pagourtzis appeared in court briefly on Friday night, where he was charged with capital murder and aggravated assault of a peace officer, and was remanded to custody.) He made the Sante Fe Junior High honor roll, in 2012, and played on the 2016 junior-varsity football team. Fellow-students said he wasn’t particularly social. (Nor are many other males of his age.) According to CNN, his Facebook page showed he had demonstrated interest in joining the Marines, but more recently he had posted a picture of a black T-shirt with the words “Born to Kill” emblazoned on it.
The Times added some details to the all-too-familiar portrait of an alienated, but not obviously pathologically dangerous, adolescent. He posted pictures of his beloved trench coat, the one he used to cover up the guns he carried into school on Friday morning, along with explanations of the symbols he had attached to it. “Hammer and Sickle=Rebellion. Rising Sun=Kamikaze Tactics. Iron Cross=Bravery. Baphomet=Evil.” In addition, the Times reported, Pagourtzis “posted artwork seemingly inspired by the electronic musician James Kent, professionally known as Perturbator. Kent’s music—largely instrumental—has been adopted by affiliates of neo-Nazi groups and the alt-right.”
About the only atypical aspect of the shooting was that Pagourtzis reportedly used a Remington Model 870 shotgun and a .38-calibre revolver, rather than a semi-automatic rifle, to kill his ten victims and wound ten others. This was probably because his father didn’t own an AR-15 or any other weapon of war. (Pagourtzis told police he used his father’s guns. It wasn’t immediately clear whether his father knew that they were in his possession.) Enthusiasts of semi-automatic weapons will presumably use this detail to fortify their case against banning such weapons—the argument being that there are firearms of all kinds (more than three hundred million in private hands across the U.S., according to some estimates) and banning one particular type of gun won’t prevent a dedicated shooter from carrying out a massacre.
In the world of Second Amendment devotees, this qualifies as a legitimate case to make. So does the argument, which Donald Trump and the N.R.A. have made, that the real issue with school