When some 400 mourners turned out yesterday in Greenwich, Conn., for the funeral of 15-year-old Bart Palosz, whose tragic tale was told by the Seattle P-I.com, it doesn’t appear anybody blamed the family shotgun he used to take his own life, but they are talking a lot about bullying.
Bart was, according to a story originally published in the Greenwich Citizen, tormented by bullies for years. There apparently is a security video of one incident in which he was injured so badly with a locker door he suffered a head wound. School officials, the story said, refused to share that video with the family and said it was an accident.
Extensive coverage by reporter Brittany Lyte tells the heartbreaking story of a kid who didn’t fit in; a child of Polish immigrants who, according to a eulogy, was big for his age, sensitive, kind to a fault, introverted and bright. He was also apparently an easy mark for bullies and after one apparently failed suicide attempt with pills, he used a shotgun taken from a gun locker last Tuesday.
How long will it be before gun prohibitionists simply dismiss this tragedy as “gun violence?” How long will they wait before blaming Bart Palosz’ suicide on “easy access to guns?”
There was a lot more at work here than the fact that his parents had a gun in the home.
School Superintendent William McKersie was quoted by the Greenwich Citizen: “We are looking very carefully at what has happened over the last number of years here so we can make sure that all our students going forward do not have to face the kind of decision that Bart made.”
Some people might call that a pretty lame, “cover-my-butt” remark that does not adequately address the school district’s responsibility. But — if that assessment is correct — it does lay the groundwork for shifting the blame to guns. “If the shotgun hadn’t been in the house.” “If only there had been a trigger lock.”
“If,” as some will observe, “is the biggest word in the English language.”
For example, “if” reporter Lyte’s stories are accurate, crimes were committed against this lonely teen; the kinds of crimes that one might think school authorities could not possibly have overlooked. In addition to the locker door incident, there was a report that some jerk in Bart’s biology class picked up his new Android and smashed it, and then “cackled.”
In the end, Bart used the shotgun to take his own life, rather than carry it down to the school — a school in the same state where Newtown’s Sandy Hook Elementary is located — and take out his years of torment on the tormenters. Then, of course, gun prohibitionists would have yet another vivid example of gun free zone mayhem to use as lobbying fodder when Congress re-convenes in a few days.
That this story was of enough significance to be published in an on-line newspaper 3,000 miles away from where it happened, on the other side of the country in a city trying hard to stigmatize firearms, tells us that Bart’s story hit a nerve. That much is evident in the comments from Seattle P-I.com readers.
There was a problem in Bart’s life that had nothing to do with the gun in his home. However, if history teaches us anything, it will be easier to blame the gun.