EDITORIAL — Gun violence

The Philippine Star
EDITORIAL � Gun violence

As of yesterday, the killer of Mercedita Gutierrez remained free. The head of the registration division at the central office of the Land Transportation Office was driving her Starex van last Friday in Pinyahan, Quezon City when she was attacked by a man on a motorcycle at the corner of K-8th street and Kamias Road.

Whether or not Gutierrez was deliberately targeted or it was a case of mistaken identity, the brazenness of the attack is alarming. It was staged during the evening rush hour and reports said there was a container truck near the van as it slowed down. Yet the gunman, wearing a helmet and in a long-sleeved shirt, was obviously undeterred by possible eyewitnesses or the prospect of being recorded in surveillance cameras.

Killers on motorcycles usually work in tandem: one drives the bike while the rider opens fire on the target. In this case, police said the lone killer got off the motorcycle and shot Gutierrez twice with a handgun through the car window, hitting her in the face and body. She lost control of the wheel and crashed into a truck in front of the van. The killer returned to the motorcycle and drove off. A short distance away, the gunman fell off the bike but still managed to escape.

As of yesterday, police said they were pursuing leads by tracing the ownership of the motorcycle. Because of the boldness of the attack, it would be an embarrassment for the Philippine National Police if it fails to catch the murderer and solve this case. The PNP will also have to reassure the public that the streets remain safe despite the ease of obtaining guns in this country, with rules even relaxed recently on civilians’ ownership of high-powered firearms. Where there is a strong gun culture, gun violence is inevitable. And if the perpetrators of gun violence are not caught, they will do it again, and impunity is sure to reign.

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