Kids And Guns On Children’s Day

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Every year, on the second Saturday in January, Thailand holds their National Children’s Day. It’s an opportunity for the youth of the country to be pampered and to enjoy themselves at various events throughout the country. Museums, zoos and some tourist attractions allow them to enter for free. In Bangkok, the BTS skytrain and the MRT underground allow them to ride for free. In Samut Prakan, quite a few activities were held at the Provincial Hall. There were various games for the children to play but there was also plenty of free things like toys and food handed out to them. There is no doubt that all Thai children look forward to Children’s Day.

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As well as the government and private sector, the Thai Armed Forces also opened their barracks for the day for the children to enter. I took these pictures at the Royal Thai Naval Academy in Samut Prakan this morning. They had a lot of activities arranged for the children. Everything from star-gazing to marine life. However, what many of the Thai boys were interested in were the guns. There seems to be a fascination with guns in Thailand that I am starting to find alarming. Did you know that 79% of all homicides in Thailand are committed with a gun? Not only that, but in a UN survey on crime trends, Thailand was rated as having the highest number of  homicides with firearms.

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In Thailand, all policemen carry a firearm. Even the traffic cops. They also apparently carry their guns while off duty. One thing is for sure, don’t get into an argument with a drunk at a restaurant. You just don’t know whether he is carrying a gun. There is even a recorded case of a foreign tourist being shot by an off-duty policeman. Technical students are also carrying guns now. Even though these are mainly pen guns, they still kill as we found out recently when a schoolgirl got killed by a stray bullet. Even when they are not angry, people seem to like to play with their guns. During the recent new year holiday, a number of people fired their guns into the air. But, what goes up also comes down. At least one young girl was killed while sleeping in her bed and another badly injured.

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This morning I posted a picture on my Facebook of two young Thai kids being shown by soldiers how to hold sniper rifles. I commented that I didn’t think that it was a good idea to arrange such an activity on Children’s Day. Although a few said there was no harm in letting the children have some fun by handling the guns, most people agreed that guns are not toys and we shouldn’t be confusing kids by saying it is alright to play with guns. One person on my Facebook page said that she disagrees with the saying “guns don’t kill, people do”. I agree with her. There is only one reason that guns were invented and that is to kill. Just look at the statistics. An average of 41.4 people are killed with guns in Thailand per 100,000 of the population.

What do you think about all of this? Is it just harmless fun or are we creating a bigger problem for ourselves in the future?

Source of statistics: nationmaster.com and wikipedia

2 comments

  1. Scott neil says:

    The issue of guns is thorny at best. I come from american law enforcement. I have shot two criminals who were intent on doing me harm (both survived). The proliferation of guns anywhere in the world is unfortunate in the extreme. But the distaste and revulsion for guns, which i share, must be tempered with reason. Take away a nations guns and you leave that society open to the Pol Pots of the world (modern day Cambodia — up to 25% of the population murdered because they did not have the means to protect themselves). As i see it the only solution is to allow or even encourage gun ownership by sane and rational and law abiding people, but to take extremely serious measures at all times to teach that guns are never toys, and to make the consequences for gun crimes so staggeringly serious that such uses are never even considered. The gun issue in america has been badly handled. I hope thailand can do better.

  2. Malii says:

    I’m as an exchange student in Thailand now and the closeness of the kids at my age (15,16,17) to military and their affection to guns and in generell weapons is something between strange and disturbing for me. When I first came to my school last year, many 15+ aged students were wearing military uniforms and were trained by soldiers in the late afternoon after school. Apparently there’s a military month at many high schools every year and the students are encouraged to join the training.
    Once there was a video project in school and the M5 boys did a short film were there were shooting at each other and everything was covered in blood- recalled me much more to a Quentin Tarantino movie than to the stuff I did in school with my friends (there were corpses and drugs too but is was by far not that violent). All the younger stundents of course were fascinated by the things there ‘phi’s’ where doing there and the teachers seemed to like it.
    And then I had quite the same experience as you at kids day two weeks ago where my friends asked me to join their trip- to the military academy.

    I know in many countries it’s very common to encourage young people to join the military after finishing school, in my opinion it’s just that this happens much to early here and that kids days should better be spent in the candy museum or sea world.

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