Moments were marked with silence and grief on Monday morning, as individuals offered up wreaths and the vibrant hues of blossoms in memorial. The scene: the front of a bank along the well-trodden Sunthorn Kosa road nestled within the bustling district of Klong Toey. The tragic event to be commemorated: the untimely demise of a teacher from Sacred Heart Convent School, an innocent victim in a typical Bali-saturday faceoff between rival student factions that went wrong. (Photo: Chanat Katanyu)
In the wake of this and other recent violent occurrences in Bangkok, Interior Minister, Anutin Charnvirakul, contemplates imposing more restrictions on the public carry of firearms. This proposal stems from the apparent ease with which these confrontations evolve with catastrophic potentials, a trend that even the capital of the Land Of Smiles isn’t spared.
While executing his duties at the Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation, the Deputy Prime Minister engaged in conversations surrounding this sensitive subject matter. His dialogue with the director-general of the Department of Provincial Administration (DPA) hovered around the possibility of amendments to pre-existing gun possession laws. The goal is clear cut: a thorough revamp that harshens control and prohibits the general populace from carrying guns in public, a freedom currently only awarded to certified officials.
Presently, civilians aren’t exactly barred from owning and having a gun in a public place. Once the stipulations of a permit are met, individuals could be armed, a provision made in the interest of self-defence. Nevertheless, recent happenings suggest this might be more of a harm than an asset.
A stark example jumps out from a couple of days ago. Tempers flared and bullets rained at the front of the Sacred Heart Convent School in the hubbub of Bangkok’s Klong Toey locale. An educator was at a neighboring bank’s ATM at the time, a mundane scenario that shifted into a fatal conjuncture when she was hit by a stray bullet amidst the shooting.
Yet another similar encounter erupted in the early hours on Monday, approximately 2 am. Rival gangs had to settle scores at the entrance of Soi Pattanakarn 53. This brawling area is situated along the frontage road of the prominent Bangkok-Chon Buri highway, tucked in the Suan Luang district. The unfortunate victim this time was a 15-year-old high school boy who couldn’t evade the new wave of bullet spray on time. This all-too-familiar scene of crime paints a gruesome image; six empty bullet shells eerily dispersed on the rounds.
Licenses for importing and trading firearms, inclusive of both real and replicas, had been put on hold following another dreadful incident in Bangkok. The occurrence to have triggered this decision took place merely a fortnight ago at a well-frequented shopping centre in Bangkok. A 14-year-old boy had exploited a modified firearm, intended for blank ammunition, to its destructive ends. The bitter aftermath revealed: three casualties and five individuals nursing gunshot injuries.