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PM Najib extended his condolences to U.S. massacre

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Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak extended his condolences to the families of the 20 children and 6 adults killed in the massacre at Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut in the United States.

“It’s a tragic incident and Malaysia stands by your side,” tweeted the Prime Minister.

His thoughts encouraged others to send their prayers to the families of those slaughtered by Adam Lanza, a 20 year-old former honor student with mental problems.

Newtown is a picture perfect New England town – the type of town Americans pay big money to live in, to escape the dangers that lurk in nearby New York City.

But that all changed on Friday, when Lanza walked into the school and started blasting. He worked efficiently firing a Glock and a SIG Sauer rifle killing 20 young children between 5 years and 10 years old and six adults at point blank range.

Police later found a .223 Bushmaster semi-automatic rifle in his car – a weapon that is illegal in the state. The .223 is the same weapon the “Beltway Snipers” used during their reign of terror in 2007 that claimed 11 victims.

Lanza’s mother, who was the first victim, had purchased all the guns legally. His mother was shot at her home at such close range police could not make identification for hours.

Next, Lanza gained entrance to the school by ringing a doorbell and was buzzed in. The principal, who had just installed the new security system, was making the morning announcements over on the public address system (PA).

Students huddled in corners trying not to cry. Others hid in the bathroom as Lanza fired away. Teachers – certain this was their final day on earth – tried to reassure their students that all would be fine. Finally, Lanza took his own life and the gunshots stopped.

Parents were contacted to come to the school to get their children. As the kids ran into their waiting arms, other parents were left just waiting.

To further extend their torture, those poor parents were still waiting to claim the bodies of their children lying where they fell more than ten hours later.

On Friday afternoon, US President Barack Obama struggled to maintain his composure as he broadcast his condolences to the nation.

“We’ve endured too many of these tragedies in the past few years. And each time I learn the news, I react not as a president, but as anybody else would as a parent,” he said, fighting back tears.

The American philosophy towards guns is completely different from the Malaysian way of thinking. Here the right to bear arms is not guaranteed by the constitution. In the United States, the “right to bear arms” is written into their Bill of Rights and is the 2nd amendment to their constitution.

In Malaysia, there is a vetting process for people who want to buy a gun.

Potential gun owners are interviewed by the police and then licensed. Many come recommended from gun ranges where they learned to use the weapons properly.

In the United States, anyone can buy a gun –no questions asked. In many states permits aren’t even required to buy one. It is a free for all that comes at a high price.

However, any change to U.S. gun policy is a long shot, at best. A mighty U.S. gun lobby controls the majority of the members of the U.S. Congress, making it unlikely that the gun laws will ever be tightened.

It is times like these that remind us of how lucky we are to live in a country where more reasonable minds prevail. The easy proliferation of guns across the United States almost certainly contributes to the frequent and tragic shootings we so often see happening there.  – thechoice