EDITORIAL – Gun culture
(The Philippine Star) - December 15, 2015 - 9:00am

It will be a bleak Christmas for an elementary school teacher, who is now wondering how she can support her three children and an ailing father-in-law. Grace Tuazon, 36, lost her husband Richard last week. The delivery man was driving a company van when he was shot dead in a traffic altercation in Pasig on Dec. 10.

Witnesses managed to get the suspects’ license plates and their Innova was found. Passengers in the Innova told police that Tuazon was punched by Nor Faisal Mohammad and then shot dead by the latter’s brother Tameme. The brothers are at large.

The road rage killing is just the latest incident highlighting the proliferation of deadly weapons in this country. Civilians can easily obtain not only handguns but also high-powered machine pistols and even grenades. And the weapons are readily used for the flimsiest reasons including traffic altercations. Even young men can easily obtain guns. Tameme Mohammad is just 18; his brother Nor Faisal is 24. Last month Jason Ivler was sentenced to life in prison for the road rage killing of Renato Victor Ebarle Jr. in 2009.

Such incidents can have a heart-rending toll. On Oct. 31, 1998, real estate developer Inocencio Gonzales Jr. fired at a Tamaraw FX whose driver beat him to a parking space at the Loyola Memorial Park in Marikina. The bullet missed the driver, Noel Andres, but hit his pregnant wife Feliber and injured two children in the FX. Feliber died although her baby survived a delivery by Caesarean section. Gonzales was sentenced to death but the Supreme Court commuted this to 14 years.

Criminals find it even easier to obtain guns and ammunition. This has to be a major factor in the high crime rate. Kidnappers, drug dealers, bank robbers and carjackers are often better armed than the cops who pursue them. The country has one of the world’s highest homicide rates and Philippine elections are notorious for deadly violence, with the 2009 massacre in Maguindanao the worst case. Unless illegal gun possession is curbed, there will be no end to this culture of violence.

FELIBER GRACE TUAZON INNOVA INOCENCIO GONZALES JR. JASON IVLER LOYOLA MEMORIAL PARK NOEL ANDRES NOR FAISAL NOR FAISAL MOHAMMAD ON OCT RENATO VICTOR EBARLE JR.
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