Virginia Tech massacre an unbelievably sad event

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Virginia Tech massacre an unbelievably sad event

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Friday, April 20, 2007 - The China Post

A total of 32 people were killed Monday in a Virginia Tech campus building in the deadliest shooting rampage in modern U.S. history. The gunman, a student from South Korea, took down his victims in two attacks that were spread two hours apart. The tragic incident has sent shockwaves around the world.

We wish to express our sympathy to the victims' families and hope they will get all the help they need to make it through this very difficult time. The other students at the university should also be assisted so they can overcome the shock and grief they are suffering.

U.S. President George W. Bush has ordered flags flown at half staff across the nation. Speaking at a memorial service on the Virginia Tech campus, Bush said "it's impossible to make sense of such violence and suffering."

"Those whose lives were taken did nothing to deserve their fate," the president said. "They were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. Now they're gone -- and they leave behind grieving families, and grieving classmates, and a grieving nation."

At first it was reported that the alleged killer was a student from China. Later, however, police found the gunman was a fourth-year student from South Korea, described in the media as a "loner." Authorities said he was a legal resident of the United States. The suspect committed suicide after the attacks. Police said there was no evidence of any accomplice at either of the two attacks, but are exploring the possibility.

The shocking incident has prompted debate and discussion about the prevalence of gun ownership in the United States.

An Indonesian mother, according to a news report, bemoaned the availability of guns in the United States after learning her son was among those killed in the massacre, while South Koreans expressed shame and shock that the gunman came from their country.

"Why can people bring guns to campus?" the Indonesian mother said, recalling third-year doctoral student Partahi Lumbantoruan, who had such a promising future. The family had sold property and a car to finance his civil engineering studies.

The lax gun-control legislation in the U.S. is something on which people in many parts of the world don't agree. Here in Taiwan, gun control legislation is tough and gun possession is generally confined to law-enforcement personnel. The local Gun Control Act even bans the production of toy guns that could be converted into life-threatening firearms, or those bearing similarities to real guns in appearance, material, structure and trigger device.

The strict gun-control legislation here has without a doubt played an important role in preventing violent crime from rising rapidly.

In the United States, there is a powerful gun lobby, and legislators fear that advocacating stricter gun control would result in a loss of votes. Another reason why guns are readily available is the common American belief that in a free country, citizens should be free to own guns.

The slogan of the lobbyists is: "Guns don't kill people, people do." Well, that's like saying, "Bombs don't kill people, people do."

If restrictions on gun possession in the United States were stricter, the Virginia Tech shooting rampage -- and many other campus shootings that have occurred in the past -- might not have occurred.

Hopefully, this tragic event will lead to vigorous efforts in the U.S. to pass some sensible gun control legislation.

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Original Source: The China Post
<a href="http://www.chinapost.com.tw/archive/detail.asp?cat=1&id=107654&d=2007420">http://www.chinapost.com.tw/archive/detail.asp?cat=1&id=107654&d=2007420<a/>

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The China Post

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2007-07-22

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Na Mi

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eng

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The China Post, "Virginia Tech massacre an unbelievably sad event," in The April 16 Archive, Item #795, http://www.april16archive.org/items/show/795 (accessed April 21, 2014).