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S Mitra

Mass Killings - How prepared are we today?


   Last week here in US, 27 lives including 20 children between 6 and 7 years of age were lost because of a 20 year old gunman who was a "good" student academically (at least in technology) but was socially awkward. The incident touched each and every person here as it triggers the discussion of safety in schools and gun control in USA. The issue of gun control in US is complex as it violates bill of rights (or 2nd amendments) here to some. Also, hunting is one of the popular game to a wide population but do people need assault rifle (used in most of the mass killings) to hunt?


In India, a loss of 20 or 30 seems nothing, which general public hardly notice or media hardly pursue to report. However, we had 26/11 where 164 people died and 308 people got wounded. We also had attack on our parliament in Delh,i and hundreds of innocent people killed by Maoist in West Bengal and Jharkhand area. But how much difference these incidents have on our public policy, how prepared are we today to face these events if and when it occurs - I believe, practically nothing. Just take a look how we dealt with Maoist attempts to blow up rail lines to cause mass killing of innocent people - just let the train run slow. Is that the right solution? Or consider how we changed ourselves after 26/11 - we considered creating 4 NSG (National Security Guard) hubs in 4 major cities and included a few more vigilance procedures. Does it ensure this type will never occur in India? We seem to be always careful about external threat like Pakistan but how prepared are we face internal threat? I guess probably nothing too. That is why we have seen terrorist kingpins or Maoists are hiding in Kolkata or freely moving around. Our politicians are more interested in going around their merry way and giving big statement after the fact.


It is true India has 1.2 billion people and we consider life is cheap compared to people in US. But life in any part of the world is no different - it is just up to us to believe that we can change it or make a difference with our whatever effort. Please note, a political leader works for us, and it is never the other way. But it needs all of us to step up and rise beyond our own selfish life and contribute in any form. Till that happens, we will always be unprepared for these types of actions or activities.

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