Category Archives: News

Be angry. But don’t be hateful.

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R.I.P. victims of the Manila tourbus siege

Most recent information – 9 dead

What happened yesterday in Manila, Philippines, is unfortunate.

Could it be prevented? No.
Could it be handled better? A resounding yes.

The entire siege lasted about 11 hours.  People watching the news were all shocked and disappointed by how the Manila police dealt with the situation — or rather, how they did not deal with the situation.

A hammer was used to break a tourbus door; shortly after failing to do so, a rope was tied to the door with the other end tied to a car, attempting to pull the door off. The door pushes open, not outwards. Authority in the tourbus industry mentioned a button at the bottom of the door which can unlock the door in case of an emergency.

Shots were fired towards the back of the tourbus after gunshots were heard coming from inside the bus, ignoring the possibility of surviving hostages being situated anywhere near the back of the bus.

The gunman was seen on earlier video footage to have stood in clear view of anyone in that area — the police had claimed to be optimistic about dealing with this hostage situation ‘in peace’. Obviously there may be protocol or all sorts of bureaucracy involved in the decision made not to shoot the gunman at that point during the siege (or did anyone make this decision?) But looking at the surviving hostages crawling out of the bus, the dead and the wounded carried out, I cannot help but think — could this have been dealt with different, could there have been a different outcome?

However, I hope people in Hong Kong will not transfer their sadness and heartbreak over the death and trauma due to this siege, and their disappointment and anger at how the Manila police and government dealt with the situation, onto the general public of the Philippines.  It is a widely known fact that there is a very large population of Filipinos working as domestic helpers in Hong Kong. This incident will definitely cause rage towards Filipinos. But if you think about it, is it fair to take anger out on every Filipino you come across? Is it right to generalise the entire Filipino nation? Does the next Filipino come across definitely have something related to the gunman or the police officers involved in the siege, can you blame him/her?

I hope people in Hong Kong can be angry without being hateful towards this nation.  There is enough grief in this incident without more hatred added to it.

For more information:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-11055015

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Shot.

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Rare as they are, mass shootings are traumatic incidents which no community would like to experience.  However, who is being rightfully punished by such incidents? Here are the only few that happened in the UK:

1987 HUNGERFORD

27-year-old Michael Ryan shot and killed 16 people, seriously wounded a further 15.

[After the incident, Parliament introduced tighter restrictions on gun ownership with the Firearms (Amendment) Act 1988]

1996 DUNBLANE

43-year-old Thomas Hamilton killed 16 children and their teacher, injuring 13 other children and three teachers before killing himself.

[This led to a nationwide campaign for greater fun controls, succeeded in making it illegal to buy or possess a handgun.]

2010 WEST CUMBRIA

52-year-old Derrick Bird shot dead 12 people and injured 11 more, then killed himself.

2010 NORTHUMBRIA

37-year-old Raoul Moat shot a policeman, his ex-girlfriend and killed her new lover.

So. Has the world gone mad? Will all gun owners become demonised as possible murderers? All the big hype created after each of these shootings only results eventually in tighter restrictions on gun ownership.

At present, police forces in each part of the UK administer the gun ctonrol system, and in England, Scotland and Wales there are separate licnences for shotguns and for other firearms.

According to the most recent figures for England and wales, there are 138728 people certificated to hold firearms and they own 435383 weapons.  There are 574946 shotgun certificates which cover 1.4 million shotguns.

Now if we just look at numbers, out of the thousands of people who own firearms and/or shotguns, there have been 4 shootings over a period of 20 years.  Yes these are all shocking incidents and many are left hurt and scarred for life.  However, are these follow-up tightening of restrictions at all effective? Should the government make preemptive laws in order to protect its citizens, or should everyone just be mentally prepared for tragedies to happen if they ask for a democratic society with a high degree of liberty (hence rights)?  City folks may not understand the need for owning shotguns, but I’m sure if you asked any farmer, or even people who live in the countryside, it is just as necessary as having a telephone installed at home.

So what should the UK government do about gun ownership? What about other types of weapons? Will we soon need a license even to own a kitchen knife at home?

[All data found on www.bbc.co.uk/news]