Friday, 14 December 2012

Why Did They Do It?

Everyone is in shock today after the fatal shooting of 20 children in Newtown, Connecticut. The media is already trying to piece together what happened, with allegations that the killer, 20-year-old Adam Lanza had a personality disorder and was autistic.

Not only did he kill children between the ages of six and 10, but also seven adults, including his mother and then committed suicide.

This horrific massacre has led to many calling for some kind of gun control in the United States and we hope US President Barack Obama will have the courage to take on this issue and make his country safer for everyone.

The incident comes days after a shooting in a shopping mall in Oregon and the mass shooting in a movie theatre in Aurora, Colorado in July where suspect James Eagan Holmes set off tear gas during the screening of The Dark Knight Rises before shooting 12 people dead and injuring 58 others.

What is also shocking is that half way around the world in China, a man stabbed 22 children and an adult in a primary school just as students arrived for class today.

The attacker, Min Yingjun, 36, wounded the children in Chengping village in Henan province in Central China. While two children were seriously wounded, most of the others were not badly injured, but are most probably in shock and and will have psychological scars from the incident.

This is not the first time school children have been attacked in schools: two years ago one man nearly killed 20 students and wounded 50, while the most recent one occurred in August when a man broke into a middle school in Nanchang and stabbed two students before fleeing the scene.

Most of the perpetrators have had a history of mental illness who are unable or unwilling to resolve personal disputes, or unable to adjust to China's fast pace of development, leaving them behind economically and socially.

It also reveals how China's healthcare system is unable to properly care for the mentally ill, and people's inability to recognize the problem and treat it as soon as possible.

There is relatively strict gun control in China (you must be connected to the military to acquire weapons) which is why so many attackers grab the kitchen knife as the best alternative.

While there is wall-to-wall coverage of the Newtown shooting, there is barely any mention of the stabbings in Chinese state media.

Some say China does this deliberately to avoid copy-cat killers, whereas in the United States almost all information is considered news to disseminate to the public.

In any event we wonder in both instances how the children will cope with what they have experienced today and how their lives will be profoundly shaped by the respective incidents.

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