Gun Control Back on the Agenda

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Gun Control Back on the Agenda

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By Guo Qiang (chinadaily.com.cn)
Updated: 2007-04-18 15:27

The world was shaken by the news that a 23-year-old South Korean killed 32 students at Virginia Tech in the deadliest shooting rampage in U.S. history.

The bloody massacre began at about 7:15 a.m. when two people were killed in a dormitory. Two hours later, the gunman reloaded his handgun, shooting another 30 dead.

American President George W. Bush said his nation is "shocked" and "saddened" and his administration "would do everything possible to assist with the investigation".

The shootings sent the whole nation into a panic, despite many reported incidents of shooting sprees on campuses in a country where owning guns is considered a right.

There was no confirmed motive for the shootings. People around the world should observe silence for the 32 innocent victims of the gunman who was purported to vent his pent-up anger because he suspected his girlfriend had a date with a student at the same school.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao expressed China's condemnation of the killings and sent condolences to the victims' families.

And what did gunman Cho Seung-Hui achieve in the end? Spurned love is not entitled to end 32 lives unexpectedly from the earth although romantic poets say 'Life is dear, love is dearer'.

Now it's time to focus on U.S. gun regulation. Cho is a South Korean immigrant who had lived in the U.S. since 1992 and had a green card, which makes it legal for him to obtain guns at a gun shop. Reports said Cho paid US$571 for his weapons and a box of ammunition.

Gun control should be on the agenda of the Bush administration. According to reports, America is one of the most heavily armed societies in the developed world, with 40% of households owning guns. U.S. homicide rates are two to 10 times higher than in other developed countries.

It was during the American War of Independence in the late 1700s that guns and firearms were necessities for the American people to fight for their independence against Britain.

The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states: "A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed", enabling its citizens to legitimately own firearms. As a legal permanent US resident, Cho had the same rights as any other American citizen to buy guns.

Currently, the Democrats support gun control while the Republicans do not. The differing attitudes make it difficult to come to a consensus on gun control. This issue will be a hot topic in next year's presidential elections.

Chinese online commentators quickly weighed in on the issue, with many blaming the school for lax safety regulations.

Students also complained the school did not react quickly enough to the deadly situation, saying they only received an e-mail from the university that urged them to be cautious about a shooting.

However, Virginia Tech President Charles Steger defended the college's response by saying, "We had no reason to suspect any other incident was going to occur."

In covering this horrific tragedy, it is necessary to question the media ethics of some news websites. Without confirmation from outside sources, some influential websites, like Sina.com.cn posted a story translated from the Chicago Sun-Times, saying the murderer was likely to be a Chinese immigrant from Shanghai.

Chinese media should confirm the facts before releasing stories, which is a basic standard for media outlets. Some websites are so concerned by the number of page hits that they forget their credibility is at stake.

Meanwhile, local media outlets should bear the responsiblity for hurting a guy who was wrongly accused as a suspect.

Wayne Chiang, 23, an Asian-American student at Virginia Tech University has become the subject of fevered speculation on the internet after the killings.

"I am not the shooter. Through this experience, I have received numerous death threats, slanderous accusations, and my phone is out of charge from the barrage of calls. Local police have been notified of the situation," Wayne wrote in his blog http://www.theage.com.au/news/world/the-internet-thinks-its-me/2007/04/17/1176696821109.html?s_cid=rss_age .

"It was five for five. I was Asian, I lived in (the dorm), I go to V Tech, I recently broke up with my girlfriend and I collect guns."

Let us get back to the point. It is a tragic story of 32 innocent lives killed by a young man. Just hold up candles for their souls.

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Original Source:China Daily

<a href="http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2007-04/18/content_853638.htm">http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2007-04/18/content_853638.htm<a/>

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Guo Qiang

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2007-07-25

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Na Mi

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eng

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Guo Qiang , "Gun Control Back on the Agenda," in The April 16 Archive, Item #812, http://www.april16archive.org/items/show/812 (accessed August 31, 2014).