By Moniba Ali
(Pak Destiny) Sabika Shiekh is the first Pakistani student who fell to the gun violence culture of the United States Schools in decades. An average over 30,000 people including student fall to gun violence every year in the US.
Abdul Aziz Sheikh is still in shock trying to coming to terms with himself after hearing the news that his daughter Sabika lost her life in shooting at a school in Huston, the United States.
Daughters are the favourite of the fathers. He didn’t sleep a wink throughout the night since he got the terrible news.
Sabika was one of the eight children who lost their life when another student, Dimitrios Pagourtzis, went on a shooting rampage at Santa Fe High School in Texas on Friday morning. She was the only student from Pakistan among the dead.
She was studying in Texas under the Youth Exchange and Study (YES) programme, a US State Department-funded initiative providing scholarships to Pakistani students to attend high school in the US for a full academic year. The visiting students live with host families in the city they are placed in, and are immersed in scholastic and cultural programmes throughout the 10 to 11 months that they are there. They are youth ambassadors bridging people and cultures.
Dimitrios Pagourtzis — the shooter
The school district had an active-shooter plan, and two armed police officers walked the halls of the high school. They thought they were a hardened target, part of what’s expected today of the American public high school in an age when school shootings occur with alarming frequency. And so a death toll of 10 was a tragic sign of failure and needing to do more, but also a sign, to some, that it could have been much worse.
“My first indication is that our policies and procedures worked,” J.R. “Rusty” Norman, president of the school district’s board of trustees, told Washington Post. “Having said that, the way things are, if someone wants to get into a school to create havoc, they can do it.”
The mass shooting — which killed 10 people and wounded 10 others in this rural community outside Houston — again highlighted the despairing challenge at the center of the ongoing debate over how to make the nation’s schools safer. It also hints at a growing feeling of inevitability, a normalization of what should be impossible tragedies.
The gunman in Santa Fe used a pistol and a shotgun, firearms common to many South Texas homes, firearms he took from this father, police said. So there were no echoes of the calls to ban assault rifles or raise the minimum age for gun purchases that came after the shooting three months ago in Parkland, Fla.
Most residents here didn’t blame any gun for the tragedy down the street. Many of them pointed to a lack of religion in schools.
“It’s not the guns. It’s the people. It’s a heart problem,” said Sarah Tassin, 61. “We need to bring God back into the schools.”
Gov. Greg Abbott (R) said he planned to hold roundtable discussions starting Tuesday on how to make schools even more secure. One idea he and other state officials mentioned was limiting the number of entrances to the facilities. Rep. Randy Weber (R-Tex.) said Congress eventually would consider legislation focused on “hardening targets and adding more school metal detectors and school police officers.”
Dimitrios Pagourtzis, the 17-year-old student who police said confessed to the shooting, was being held without bond at a jail in Galveston. Wearing a trench coat, he allegedly opened fire in an art class, moving through the room shooting at teachers and students, and talking to himself. He approached a supply closet where students were barricaded inside, and he shot through the windows saying “surprise,” said Isabelle Laymance, 15.
The gunman shot a school police officer who approached him, then talked with other officers, offering to surrender. The entire episode lasted a terrifying 30 minutes, according to witnesses and court records.
The Pagourtzis family released a statement Saturday saying they are “shocked and confused” by what happened and that the incident “seems incompatible with the boy we love.” — Pak Destiny