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Friday, June 4, 2010

Cumbrian Tragedy

One of the more shocking events of recent weeks was the slaughter which began in the Cumbrian town of Whitehaven and extended throughout the countryside.

The gunman, a local 52 year old taxi man killed 12 of his neignbours including his twin brother and the family's solicitor after what is suspected to have been a dispute over the contents of a family will.

Coming, as I do, from a small Irish town my experience of gun crime is pretty much next to non-existent. Watching the sky news reports of the event as it happened I was struck by two things. Firstly, the fact that there had been a man in Britain, a country of stringently tight gun controls (basically, not American) who could acquire to powerful firearms and begin a rampage on the streets of a quite town. But the more unsettling aspect was the string of neighbours and locals telling reporters how much of a nice amiable fellow he had been. This was a far cry from the obvious illness of the Virgina tech and Columbine killers.

Of course soon the talk will turn to how we can prevent another incident like this from re-occurring. In Britain however, the blame cannot be so easily placed on the liberal gun laws of the united states. Clearly this was a man who was severely unhinged for some period of time and somehow managed to get a hold of firearms. Sure, it shouldn't have happened but I feel that unfortunately in our society there will always exist people who we cannot reach and as long as legislators do what they can I believe that sadly these incidents, although of course very rare, will unfortunately remain unpreventable.

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