Open letter to South Africa’s students‚ universities and government‚ represented by Minister in the .
The mass murder at Virginia Tech in the US is a disgrace. Our condolences to everyone who lost loved ones.
More than a year before this rampage, Virginia's general assembly quashed a bill that would have given qualified college students and employees the right to carry handguns on campus.
Could one legally armed citizen have made a difference? Do laws prohibiting guns in certain places really prevent homicidal tragedies?
Worldwide, office buildings, hospitals, TV studios, chain restaurants and day-care centres have been targets of homicidal maniacs.
Mass murders took place in these places after they were declared gun-free zones.
In 1999, John Lott and William Landes published a US study of multiple shootings. They showed these occur less often in areas where responsible citizens may carry weapons. Mass shootings rarely occur in police stations, shooting ranges or gun shows. Mass murderers select soft targets.
In Germany, 16 people were killed in a public school shooting in 2002. Other such incidents were the killing of 14 regional legislators in Switzerland in 2001 and the massacre of eight city council members in France in 2002. All these killings took place in gun-free zones.
Since the 1970's when Israeli school aids were armed, attacks by gunmen ceased.
Charl van Wyk, Clareinch