I was in Brisbane attending my third child (2nd daughter)’s convocation last Saturday when I heard about the news of the senseless killings in NewTown, Connecticut. Although convocation is supposed to be a happy occasion, the joyous mood was tinged with some sadness on the unnecessary deaths of so many.
So many people died because of a deranged man blasting his anger/dissatisfaction/whatever at innocent people, most of them were kids who would never understand why they were shot.
This is not the first such killings and, despite what President Obama has said, will not be the last either. It is simply too easy to have access to firearms in USA. In some places, you can even buy guns at shopping mall.
I was in Mid West in late May this year, and I went to a shopping mall (kirkwood Mall) to buy a pair of Keen Shoes in a shop called “Scheels”. This is a shop that sells shoes, sports apparatus, and guess what, there is a big section selling guns of all description, long and short, big calibre and small, semi automatic and so on. You only need a driving license and fill out certain info to get a gun. You can also buy a big plastic bag full of bullets at less than 10 dollars.
While it is true that firearm is only a tool, and the problem in these shooting cases goes much deeper and involves deranged psychological makeups of certain individuals, the easy availability of firearm makes these deranged people many times more dangerous and deadly in America. In Malaysia and many other countries too, we have heard of Amoks running around killing people, but because the weapons used in these cases are knives and parangs, the damages are much smaller and fewer lives are lost.
There is thus a case for stricter control of guns.
Besides, I think TV and movie producers must play a role too. Recent years have seen TV serials ‘glorifying’ villain roles and TV shows are increasing violent and bloody. Some of the most popular TV serials like “Dexter” or “Breaking Bad” all portray their leading characters not as heroes, but as villains pursuing criminal activities. Dexter is a serial killer but at the same time works as a forensic blood pattern specialist in Miami Metro. Breaking Bad’s lead character is a chemistry teacher turned designer drug manufacturer, evolving slowly from making methamphetamine to becoming a drug kingpin, murdering and killing along the way. While we adults may not be influenced by these characters, teens growing up and watching these may be subtly influenced.
Then there are all kinds of computer games that you have to blast your way through, choosing weapons from an impressive arsenal, shooting and killing literally tens and tens of people along the way . In my opinion, kids growing up playing these games and making virtual kills may become more trigger happy, and may have less inhibition to shoot real weapons comparing with those who do not play these games.
Most of these killers, too, have a psychological profile that was formed from unhappy childhood, with broken families and so on.
I think society must ask themselves: what has gone wrong? We hardly heard about these sort of killings in the 60s and 70s.
Indeed, as Obama has suggested, some soul searching needs to be done.