On October 6, a mass shooting at a children’s daycare center in northeastern Thailand has aroused widespread concern from the international community. Indiscriminate attacks, most of the victims are children… The level of cruelty and horror is staggering. A total of 38 people were killed in the incident, 24 of whom were children, and the youngest was less than 3 years old.
At the time of the incident, it was the nap time of the children in the day care center, and many children were killed in their sleep. Staff who tried to stop them – including a teacher who was eight months pregnant – were also killed in the indiscriminate attack. After the rampage at the daycare center, the killer fled back home, killed his wife and child (step-son) before shooting himself.
In the face of immature children, unsuspecting teachers, and his own wife and children, the vicious murderer used guns and butcher knives, turning a peaceful day into a pain and nightmare for countless families.
In fact, if you search for “shooting” and “Thailand” at the same time, you will find that the frequency of shootings in Thailand is extremely high. Among those stacked entries, although the shooting incident on October 6 was the single-perpetrator shooting incident with the highest death toll in Thailand’s history, the tragedy was almost “obliterated” due to the large number of gun-related cases , seems to be just a “news” in time.
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“A Knife for Mowing the Lawn”
The murderer of this indiscriminate assault case is 34-year-old Panya Kamrab (Panya Kamrab), a former police officer who was suspended in January this year after being found taking drugs and fired in June.
On the morning of the murder, he needed to go to court to face charges of “suspected use and sale of drugs” and obtain a final judgment the next day. Obviously, the fact that from January to June, from suspension to dismissal, already means that the judgment issued on October 7 will not be reversed.
According to the plan, at noon after the court appearance, he will go to the day care center to pick up his children. However, an investigation of the teachers of the daycare center after the incident showed that, for unknown reasons, Panya Kamrab’s children had not been to the daycare center for a month.
Panya Kamrab appears to have been unaware that the child wasn’t at the daycare, or that it had anything to do with his now second wife, a woman who worked at a bar. In short, when he was told that the child was not in the daycare center, Panya Kamrab suddenly became very excited. First, he shot and killed 4 teaching staff, and then kicked the emergency locks of other teachers. The door of the children’s room, holding a “bent, like a knife for mowing grass” and killing children who were taking a nap.
On October 6th, it was a rainy day, and the bus to and from the daycare center broke down again, and more children were able to escape.
Murderer Panya Kamrab and his address
Fortunately, on October 6th, it was a rainy day, and the bus to and from the daycare center broke down again. Only 24 children came to the center that was supposed to have 92 children that day, and more children escaped. doomed.
After brutally harvesting innocent lives like “mowing grass”, Panya Kamrab fled the scene by car. On the way to escape, he also repeatedly drove into passers-by and shot at the crowd, “blood everywhere.” After returning home, surrounded by the police, he killed his wife and children before shooting himself.
Why did a former policeman and a father embark on such a road of no return? Maybe it was the drugs, maybe it was the job loss, social death, or possible prison time that was driving him out of his mind. According to the surviving teacher at the day-care center, she and the murderer had often dealt with each other because of the child. He seemed kind and well-behaved. Every time he sent the child to the day-care center, he was always very polite and willing to communicate.
These pasts also made her feel the father’s different depression when she saw him again, but she didn’t feel any vigilance on the other hand. After the tragedy happened, looking back on all the previous events, it became the silence of “death without testimony”, leaving only the shadow of the knife lingering over every family with children.
At around 6:00 a.m. local time on February 9, 2020, in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand, the police were resting near a shopping center and were on standby. On the afternoon of the 8th, a Thai soldier caused a bloody shooting incident in the northeastern Nakhon Ratchasima Province.
“A Legal Gun”
In the face of such a tragic event, it seems meaningless to find the murderer “why it is like this”, try to understand the motivation of an emotional demon, and the formation trajectory of an anti-social personality. However, many shootings in Thailand, including this incident, have made people reflect on some social issues that have already surfaced.
The first to bear the brunt is Thailand’s rampant private gun ownership.
In an investigation into the mass shooting at a children’s daycare center, police have confirmed the gun was “legal” at the time of the shooting. As a former police murderer, from being investigated, suspended to fired, his identity changed from a policeman to an ordinary citizen, but the authorities did not confiscate his gun.
After some haggling, you can get a pistol at an average price of about 90,000 baht. The whole process “may be easier than grocery shopping.”
This astonishing oversight is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Thailand’s gun problem. In fact, although according to the current law, you need to be at least 20 years old and have no criminal record to own a gun. If you own a gun without a license, you may face life imprisonment. Guns can only be stored at home for self-defense, and the gun body, magazines, bullets, etc. must be separated Save, guns are not allowed to enter public places, and public officials must wear uniforms to wear guns… But very few are actually punished by law, and guns can still appear on various occasions openly.
This is true for legal guns. If you look at the data on guns in Thailand, you will find that among the 10 million privately owned guns, at least 4 million are illegally held unregistered guns. In Thailand, guns mean wealth and privilege, and for ordinary people, it is a very tempting yearning. If you want to buy a firearm without following the rules, it is also extremely easy: find a private seller online, bargain (sometimes with a discount), and you can get an average price of about 90,000 baht (about 17,000 yuan). The whole process “may be easier than grocery shopping” to get a pistol.
Legal guns are rampant and unregistered guns are prowling the streets. According to data from the Firearms Database website in June 2019, the total population of Thailand is about 69 million, and the number of private guns is 10.342 million. The total gun ownership rate is 15.1%, of which the unregistered gun ownership rate is 6.02%.
Thailand is one of the countries with the largest number of private guns in the world; an average of 7 people have a gun density, so that Thai people are used to “using guns to solve big and small things”—such as small businessmen vying for customers, family disputes , so dissatisfied with the court hearing. In 2020, a mass shooting occurred in the northeastern city of Nakhon Ratchasima in Thailand. A soldier committed a shooting in and around a shopping mall, killing 29 people and killing himself.
Whether guns are legal or not doesn’t seem to be the crux of the issue anymore. With a high rate of gun ownership, frequent shootings, and shooting at each other when there is a disagreement, Thailand is one of the countries with the most gun killings in Asia. In 2019 alone, there were more than 30,000 gun-related cases, and the blood and tears behind the numbers are incalculable.
Bangkok, Thailand, October 15, 2022, Vendors are weighing cannabis flowers purchased for customers
On October 7, 2022, Thai Prime Minister Prayuth arrived at a children’s daycare center to visit the families of the victims of the attack
elephant in the room
The tragedy in the children’s daycare center made the Thai authorities declare that they will deal with the gun issue seriously. However, this indiscriminate attack aimed the guns at children. The public’s anger obviously cannot be persuaded by a single statement. In this incident, the soaring rate of gun ownership and the availability of cheap drugs are all the triggers of the tragedy.
The murderer’s history of drug use cannot be ignored. Drug use, drug sales, job loss, and possible punishment are the superficial reasons why the murderer raised the butcher knife and gun that day. Like private firearms, drugs, especially methamphetamine, are extremely common in Thailand. Whether you want to try or continue to smoke, you can get strawberry or chocolate-flavored methamphetamine tablets for only 20 baht (about 3.8 yuan). Taking drugs is as simple as drinking a bottle of Coke.
After this incident, Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha held a meeting on October 12 to discuss anti-drug, gun management, etc., and promised after the meeting: “Some ministerial regulations must be revised.” The
two most tragic large-scale Shooting cases: One was caused by soldiers, the other by police, and they both chose shopping malls, kindergartens and other public places to attack, obviously providing a space for reflection: why are these public officials who clearly take the protection of the public as their duty, but they choose to shoot at the guns? Targeting innocent people?
In addition to the omissions caused by insufficient gun control, the temptation and sinking of cheap drugs, the intertwined problems within the military and police may be the “elephant in the room.” These armed and oppressed people do not have the courage to challenge authority and fight for rights and interests, so they can only bypass the “elephant” and cast their anger on weaker people.
In past news interviews and academic research, many former police officers in Thailand have complained about the promotion and incentive system of the Thai police in investigations—it has nothing to do with whether they are performing their duties and thinking about public safety. If a low-level police officer wants to be promoted quickly, the “best” way is not to actively dispatch the police and coordinate conflicts, but to “take good care” of his superiors. This kind of “care”, in addition to the usual options such as serving tea and water, and obeying, may also have special requirements such as accepting bribes from criminal activities such as drug cartels, and then handing over all proceeds to superiors.
If the status quo cannot be changed, indiscriminate killings such as the daycare center tragedy may not be the last time due to the negligence of the police and the military, and the connivance of guns and drugs.
This time, can Thailand learn from the painful experience and carry out iron-fisted reforms?