John Cornyn, the senior senator from the State of Texas is under fire after tweeting a sympathetic profile of the accused Santa Fe High School shooter, Dimitrios Pagourtzis, days after the shooting.
In that tweet, Pagourtzis is referred to as a “good boy” whose actions can apparently be explained because he was “mistreated at school.” The quoted phrases are delivered courtesy of the alleged shooter’s father, Antonios Pagourtzis.
Cornyn posted the following tweet at 6:16 a.m. on Tuesday:
Almost immediately, Twitter users questioned the senator’s judgment. Here’s just a cursory sampling of the responses so far:
Media coverage of the alleged shooter has been heavily criticized for prioritizing his own feelings leading up to the incident. Specifically, many news observers have taken issue with the idea that Pagourtzis was acting in retaliation for being “humiliated” by a girl he was interested in. Another way of explaining that situation, critics noted, was that Pagourtzis was finally told off by Shana Fisher after harassing her for months.
Cornyn’s sharing of sympathetic words towards Pagourtzis follows along those lines. Many accused the Lone Star State senator of blaming the victims. Others were simply perplexed at why the senator (or his social media team) chose to send a tweet commenting on the situation whatsoever. As one Twitter user pointed out, however, the text contained in Cornyn’s tweet appears to be auto-generated whenever the Wall Street Journal story is shared on Twitter via the publication’s website.
Law&Crime reached out to Cornyn’s office to ask about the profile and in a phone call, Jeff Guittard, Senator Cornyn’s press assistant said, “If we have something on that, we’ll be sure to send it your way.”
Following the shooting, Cornyn visited Santa Fe, Texas to offer his own take on the tragedy that left 10 people dead. In an opinion piece for the Wichita Falls Times-Record News titled “Cornyn: We need to figure out why this shooting happened” the senator said:
After the Parkland shooting at the high school there, we all became aware that we needed to do more than just address mental health issues, but we needed to do that, we needed better collaboration between local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies. We needed to figure out a way to mine information from social media postings where individuals literally advertise their intention to do something like this…We don’t know exactly what the whole story is for this young man, but we do know this is a terrible tragedy and we’re all heartbroken at the result. But we need to continue to do everything we can to figure out how to stop these terrible events.
Update: In a later tweet, Cornyn defended his sharing of the Wall Street Journal story:
[image via Alex Wong/Getty Images]
Follow Colin Kalmbacher on Twitter: @colinkalmbacher
Editor’s note: this article has been amended for clarity and to include additional information.
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