Ponderation over shock from US campus shooting rampage

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Ponderation over shock from US campus shooting rampage

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UPDATED: 17:04, April 19, 2007

A total of 33 people, including the gunman Seung-Hui Cho, 23, were killed Monday at Virginia Tech University in the deadiest shooting rampage in modern US history. The whole of the United States is stunned and shocked, and so is the entire world.

At the time when people, full of sympathy, are plunged themselves in an extreme sorrow and grief, they cannot but naturally ask such a question: Why it (the shooting rampage) has been again occurred in the U.S., and again in on the campus? In fact, this is not beyond people's expectations, as it is neither the first tragedy, nor the last, because there are two reasons involved:

First, the Second Amendment to the US Constitution specifies that the American people are endowered with the "right to keep and bear arms", which cannot be encroached upon. So the sale and purchase of firearms are legal in the United States according to law. Consequently, a large number of American families possess guns. Approximately 200 million guns are owned privately in the U.S., which has a population of 300 million, note relevant statistics released by the US Department of Justice. It has been reported that Seung-Hui Cho, the gunman on the Virginia campus killings, bought his first gun, a 9mm handgun, on March 13 at Roanoke, Va. Gun store, and he timed the purchase of his two firearms to be far enough apart that he would not run afoul of the "one gun a month" law.

Why does the United States still not amend its Constitution to ban the use of firearms after a frequent occurrence of mass killings with guns? Almost every shooting rampage is followed by a nationwide debate on whether or not the possession of firearms should be banned. But bills for banning the ownership of guns will not be passed in Congress in the end. This, however, has something to do with the influential and powerful National Rifle Association of America, or NRA. Having a membership of some 3 million that includes arms dealers, rich hunters and firearms fans, the NRA has both money and the vote with a significant impact in both Congressional and presidential elections. Any amendment of the US Constitution has to be rectified with a two-thirds majority at both chambers of US Congress and, therefore, the rigid draft firearms banning code remains a "still born in the womb". And gun owners seem to have some kind of reason, alleging that it is the gunman not the gun that kills people and the guns themselves cannot massacre people automatically.

Second, every society is made up of all kinds of people, and an undeniable reality is that a handful of people do not have a "sound" or healthy mind or character and still a small member of people are somewhat in mental disorders. Once these people seize firearms, others will be exposed to an immense threat. Relevant statistics show that close to half the killers have mental problems of some sort and, so for the sake of safeguarding social security, it is a must to reduce or prevent their accesses to firearms. Just imagine how is it possible for the gunman in the campus shooting rampage in Virginia Tech to massacre so many people if he had only a sword or a knife, not two guns in hand?

Furthermore, to make an in-depth analysis of its causes, a kind of culture to adore the force has been fostered and spread in the process from the War of Independence in 1776 to the subsequent extension westward in the late 18th century and early 19th centuries. In the meantime, violence and bloodshed scenes have been kept flooding "cowboy" movies and audio and visual products based on high-tech Star wars. This has created notions in minds of kids to worship the force and resort to it to solve problems.

On April 20, 1999, two teenagers, aged 17 or 18, killed 12 fellow students and a teacher and wounded 24 others before taking their own lives at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado. What they did was solely simulated and designed with meticulous care on audio and visual items to peddle or spread violence and crimes.

Seung-Hui Cho, a South Korean American student, has been in the U.S. from a very young age.

If he was in South Korea, a nation of his birth instead of the U.S., would a tragedy of such a scale could happen?

To date, the entire world has been mourning with a deep grief over victims in the Virginia campus killing rampage, and another round of debate for prohibition of firearms ban is in sight in the United States. If only the loss of 33 precious young lives on the Virginia campus will arouse the awareness and introspection of American statesmen. </b>

<i>By People&#39;s Daily Online, and its author is Li Xuejiang, a top PD resident reporter in the U.S.</i>

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Original Source: People&#39;s Daily Online, China
<a href="http://english.people.com.cn/200704/19/eng20070419_368006.html">http://english.people.com.cn/200704/19/eng20070419_368006.html</a>

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Li Xuejiang

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2007-07-18

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Na Mi

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eng

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Li Xuejiang, "Ponderation over shock from US campus shooting rampage," in The April 16 Archive, Item #775, http://www.april16archive.org/items/show/775 (accessed December 22, 2014).