21 April 2007

When Will The Shooting Stop?

Last Monday someone shot to notoriety
Shot as in literally
His surname was Cho
He hailed from Seoul

His name was Seung Hui
Shocking act in a country most free
At Virginia Tech University
Where he was reading an English degree

Thirty two innocent people killed
America's worst school shooting it was billed
Pumped a bullet into own head
Rather than let the law catch up instead

Why the senseless killing
Was it an act willing
The way that he planned it
Pre-meditated is my verdict

Either that
Or he was mad
But now the question in mind
Is why a madman was not confined

It has happened many times before
In other campuses I recall
Their gun law seems non-existent
Right to own one is in the Constitution

Why is that so
I have no wish to know
What I'm asking those at the top
Is when will the shooting stop

Are you waiting for another madman to kill
(Happen again I am sure it will)
Before you review your gun law
Which now clearly has its flaw

Buying a gun is so easy
Whereas in my country
Getting chewing gum is harder
Can only smuggle a little from across the border

Here if you have a gun in your hand
Then you are either a policeman
Or a robber or intend to be
Who'll go on a crime spree

Background checks you may make
On sane gun buyers before a sale you take
But what if the buyer goes crazy
After the gun's been sold already?

Or the father who doesn't keep it properly
And his toddler lays hands on it playfully
Ends up shooting his sibling dead
I'd really rather the father be shot instead

Or when a driver loses his cool
Over a road rage incident perpetrated by a fool
Reaches for the gun under the seat
And kills a fellow motorist in a moment of the heat

Would you send a child to that country
To get that elusive degree
When he might get it only
If at all posthumously

My thoughts and sadness go to the departed
And their families who are most hurt
It is certainly difficult to get over
Let's just pray that it will not happen again ever


Anonymous said...

Heck those gun laws. Even in a usual sports goods retail store here, guns are sold :O

Yes, to solve the root cause of this problem(shootings, snipper attacks), guns should be banned, man!

But it's not going to be. As what Bush said over this incident(as reported in the news here)..."let there be healing..." ...he did not say "...let there be action".

Anonymous said...

Interesting entry, to make this thing into a poem.

I think he is suffering from depression or something isit? It scares me when he actually had careful plannings before he killed people.. and he actually resorted to video taping himself and send to the news...

My dad is strongly against what he is doing.. for me, I guess its the hatred in him that causes him to do all these...

Victor said...

Tigerfish - Sigh, Iraq issue also fouled up, gun laws also cannot control. No wonder he's paid so much less. :P

Victor said...

GNE - The idea for writing a poem came because I read that Virginia Tech's popular professor and noted poet Nikki Giovanni wrote a poem in which she urged the distressed students to embrace their pain and sadness. But of course, my amateurish poem is nowhere near the standard of hers.

I think everyone is strongly against what Cho had done, not just your dad.

Chris Sim said...

This is not a good sign Victor. Since when have you become a poet? Better go see a counselor, man. Disturbing....

This "gun culture" in the US is crazy. But of course, we're talking about the Land of Freedom. Over there, I, Myself and Me take precedence over YOU, THEY and US. The people buy guns to protect themselves. Tragedies like this shouldn't have happened. According to what I've read, there was a lot of tell-tale signs. He was sick and was admitted to a mental hospital once. He was arrested for stalking two women. There was no follow-up about his case, neither from the school nor the counselor. If he had no access to guns, then what about knives? Are we gonna outlaw knives, too?

Lam Chun See said...

The guy is obviously demented so we can't blame him. It's like asking a person suffering from incontinence not to wet his pants.

Besides the crazy gun laws, the blame shd go the the gun sellers. They don't bother to check properly. Just make the sale. Like shops selling cigarettes and liquor to youths here; or admitting kids to watch M18 movies.

Victor said...

Chris, I never claimed to be a poet hor. It was just another of my feeble attempts at writing a poem. (Besides, I think the blogosphere can certainly accommodate more than one would-be-poet, hehe. Will you stop being so narcissistic?)

Disturbing? Now, if only I could go out and buy a gun here...

The disturbing signs which Cho displayed earlier was certainly not sufficient for him to be incarcerated or committed to a mental institution. If the Land of Freedom can do such a thing, then it no longer can lay claim to be called by that name.

Victor said...

Chun See - How can we not find someone to blame for such a shocking act? Wetting one's own pants and killing other innocent people are at different ends on the scale of horrific acts, i.e. if wetting pants can be considered a horrific act in the first place. How can we compare the two like that? I feel that it's not a very good analogy.

I just heard on CNA that the anti-gun lobby in the US is losing steam. Used to be 3/4 of the people were "anti-gun". Now it's only 56%. So brace yourself for more homeland violence.

Shilpa said...

Well said, my friend.. sigh, there is no black and white to this gun issue, and definitely not something that can be reversed in less than a generation. When you put it in perspective, ie the draconian chewing gum ban, you realise this world is all topsy-turvy.

I've read that this shooter had some speech impediment so he probably must have lived through lots of taunting all his life and burst at some point. Sigh, who is to say?

Chris Sim said...

Well, you dun make the cut either as a poet. It juz doesn't rhyme. Good try though, but try harder. Hee. I dun proclaim myself to be a poet. What I wrote was juz fun verses. Certainly not poetry.

But let's not evade the issue of racism here. I read that Cho was picked on a lot, and that the class started laughing and taunting when he was asked to read in class. They passed comment such as "Go back to China". But then, you see his victims comprise many nationalities. That fella juz snapped, but it's everything that had bottled up in him since he migrated to the US when he was 8.

Victor said...

Shilpa - Yes, I read that reversing the gun laws in the US is going to be very difficult. Their anti-gun lobby groups are weak while the gun enthusiasts/interest groups are very strong. So it seems that all the top gun, I mean guy can do is just to pay lip service at the memorial service, wahahaha.

Oh BTW, how strict are France's gun laws in comparison?

Victor said...

Chris - Yours are just "fun verses" and not poems? Sigh, must be another one of those "terms of convenience" which you coined yourself eh? Like "it's just a passing remark" for "a promise". Haha.

Ya, Cho must have been the target of much taunting since he was young, just like me now. Now, if only I could just go out and buy a gun...

Chris Sim said...

C'mon, at your age, I can understand your confusion over what constitutes a Promise and a Passing Remark. And I would advise you, very strongly, to pull down that pic of Cho. What? You making him a martyr? There's no room for a killer in a blog like yours. Remember, there are kids reading your blog. You dun want them end up like copycat (quite like you), or do you?

Anonymous said...

I suppose it is also not difficult for terrorists to get firearms and what if they use it at some crowded places....

Victor said...

Chris said: "Remember, there are kids reading your blog."

Now isn't that a copycat statement from someone we both know?

It's quite safe to put up photos desseminated by news agencies lah. If anything, NBC News and SPH will get the rap first.

Victor said...

Fr - I should think so. I wonder why Cho scribbled "Ismail Ax" on both the mail package to NBC and also in red ink on his arm.

Chris Sim said...

For your info, NBC got flaks for airing these fotos and videos and they have PULLED IT DOWN. You have a social responsibility to do the same, dude.

Lam Chun See said...

Of course you can compare the 2; they are both medical conditions. That's the point I was trying to make. I wasn't comparing severity.

Victor said...

Chun See - Haha, it's fortunate that you are not a doctor or psychologist. Neither am I but still, I think there is a difference here. Diagnosis of incontinence is definite whereas for mental illness, the degree of its severity is sometimes not so easy to assess. I think that's why Cho was allowed to continue his routine activities even though he was diagnosed with a mental condition. The medical authorities can't tell how much a danger he was to others and himself.

Victor said...

Chris - I know that NBC News got rebuked for putting up the videos and photos. (I also read the papers, you know?) But isn't it like the proverbial "shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted"? Billions of copies of the photos have already been circulated. The damage has already been done. For your info dude, even if I remove the photo from my blog now, a copy of it still lies in the caches of the various search engines.

Be prepared to see the photos again when your fish monger wraps your purchase with the old newspaper. Besides, Cho looked like just a cowboy to me in that pose.

Shilpa said...

Victor, fortunately, the sale of guns to civilians is practically unheard of here! Even the anti-terrorism police guys who patrol major train stations reportedly tote only unloaded rifles. I doubt that is public knowledge, but some of them can look intimidating!

Victor said...

Shilpa, good to hear that. Then you can walk safely around in your country. I wouldn't want to take a risk with those intimidating-looking police guys, though.

Lam Chun See said...

Victor, victor .. you are driving me crazy with your stubborn refusal to get my point.

Yes, diagnosing mental cases is often difficult. Who doesn't know? But I am not talking about diagnosing. I am talking about apportioning blame AFTER the event. Any person who did what he did is obviously crazy. Do you agree? Yes or No.

Victor said...

Okay, okay, Mr Lam. If you put it that way, then yes, I get your point.

But still, I am entitled to my view which is that he was not that crazy and therefore should take some of the blame. Why do I say so?

1. From the video (Chris, note this is a plus point of airing the video), I can see that he did not appear that crazy. You see, he spoke coherently, in fact almost poetic at some point, using superb grammar and vocabulary. Some of the words he used, e.g hedonistic and charlatan, I even have to check up the dictionary for their meanings - and they (the words) made sense too. (Before anyone starts flaming me, please note that I am not saying that he was sensible).

2. He obviously took quite a lot of time to plan the whole drama, paying attention meticulously down to the very last detail. Now, I doubt some sane people can plan as elaborately as that.

I may be wrong but I think that he reacted that way because he felt marginalised, taunted and disadvantaged maybe because of his nationality or his learning difficulty and he fought back very violently (and wrongly, of course).

For all you know, he may even be a terrorist sympathiser - if not, why did he write "Ismail Ax" on the mail package and his arm?

Victor said...

And please don't shoot me.

Anonymous said...

This is so sad, my boy and I were just discussing which college he wants to go to next time when this happened, I promptly told him no nid to go college, become bus driver can liao.

Chris Sim said...

Nobody go around claiming he is a lunatic. The problem is, we can't tell if a person is mentally ill. And besides, a mentally ill person can be normal this second, and act weird the next. You look normal enough.... but I'm not sure... Hahaha

And what exactly does "Ismail Ax" mean? This is the problem with people. We see words like these and we immediately jump into conclusion thinking that these words must be linked to terrorism. Have you gone absolutely NUTS, Victor? Shoot you, I will.

Victor said...

Firehorse - Haha, you really very funny leh. Liddat I think we will get an oversupply of bus drivers liao. Then where got enough students to fetch to school, especially if they don't dare or want to go now?

BTW, how old is your boy? And you're in the Land of Freedom too? I thought you're in M'sia.

Victor said...

Now now Chris, don't put words in my mouth hor. I didn't say "must be", I said "may be". Aiyoh, I am sure even a lunatic knows the difference.

Serene Huang said...

Hello Victor

I'm a writer from Today newspaper, and I was researching about old theatres in Singapore when I stumbled upon your Jan 10 2006 post about Odeon Theatre.

Would like to find out more about the picture and your experience watching movies at the theatre. Could you help me please?

You can contact me at 9693 8905. Or you could email me at serene@mediacorp.com.sg. Hope to hear from you soon!

TODAY - 6236 4905.

Victor said...

Hi Serene,

Thank you for leaving a comment on my blog and taking an interest in what I wrote about Odeon Cinema.

Actually, I have only a very hazy memory of that cinema. Definitely not enough for you to write an article on it. My recollection of National Theatre is much better.

As I don't have any personal photos of these old places, the photos that you see on both posts were "ripped" off from the web (by using a Google image search which I am sure you know how).

A friend at yesterday.sg (a nostalgic blog by NHB), Chun See (together with his relatives/friends) may have much better recollection of old cinemas, even open-air ones. You can get in touch with him on his blog.

KopiSoh said...

My boy just turn 12 this month but we've got to start saving just in case he wants to go to uni one day. In Malaysia we may not have access to guns as easily but we do have parangs, dat oso sekali chop can die wan.

Victor said...

Firehorse - At that age, I think he will be very happy if you tell him that he doesn't have to study but be a bus driver instead, hahaha. (I know because I was like that when I was his age.)

As if by coincidence, today during lunch, Chris and I were discussing the differences between guns and knives (in your case, it's parangs lah). I couldn't believe that Chris maintained that there was no difference in allowing knives to be sold compared to guns being sold! I take the view that knives are not as lethal as guns. And you can certainly run away from a knife but how do you run away from a bullet?

KopiSoh said...

Hop over I got surprise for you!!

KopiSoh said...

Victor, I think it should be fine, I mean nothing is written in stone right? Also if you just want to take the award and not do a post I think it shud be fine too since my main thing is to award you not to tag you.

Victor said...

Firehorse - Orh. Okay I'll try. Maybe do a double meme this weekend. (Still can't beat your recent hattrick feat wor.)

BTW, thanks for presenting me with a Thinking Blogger Award. Although undeserving, I feel so honoured.