NEWS SPECIAL/CONNECTICUT TRAGEDY
Bullets to chew on
KEVORK DJANSEZIAN/GE TT Y IMAGES
Workers clean Smith & Wesson revolvers recently rented by customers for target practice at the Los Angeles
Gun Club, December 7. Gun enthusiasts rent the the weapon to try out before making a purchase at a gun store
‘Guns do not kill; it is the people that kill,’ may be true, but if people turn mad, what can we do? It was a question asked by the Reverend Dr Francis Luke Nambiaparambil, chaplain at the Danbury Hospital which treated the
injured at the shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary
School in Newtown, Connecticut. He attended some of the
funerals of the children at the St Rose of Lima Catholic
Church in Newtown, where he occasionally joins for service.
Andrew Arulanandam, the public face of the all powerful
National Rifles Association as its director of public affairs,
has said earlier: ‘Nothing can stop a criminal or a person
undergoing severe crisis from committing illegal acts. We
can not regulate irresponsible behavior.’
The NRA, he had said, does not support giving guns to
people with criminal records, a history of violence or men-
tal illness and that the current laws are enough to enforce
this. When crimes occur, Arulanandam said, prosecutors
overlook the violation of the gun laws and focus on other
sensational aspects of the crime to make it newsworthy.
Though the Connecticut school shooting has shaken the
nation, the Indian-American community is slow to react or
understand its implications. We forget that such things
happened in our own community and could happen again.
We react only when a crisis knocks on our doors.
The Indian-American community has a fascination for
guns. If so many desis do not buy guns, it’s only because of
the fear of becoming a suspect in the eyes of law enforcement. Many youngsters love to own a gun.
Sergeant Tomy Methipara, the first Indian to become a
police officer in Chicago two decades ago, said he does not
carry a gun most of the time, though he is allowed to. He
and police officers across the country advise people: Guns
will not protect you.
“When tragedies like the one we had in Connecticut
occur, people talk about gun control passionately. But guns
are part of American culture,” Methipara said.
Chicago had the strictest gun control laws among big
cities in the US, he pointed out. But the Supreme Court
declared the city’s gun restriction laws unconstitutional a
couple of years ago. Recently, a federal court in Chicago
directed Illinois to pass some laws on ‘conceal and carry’
guns. Illinois is the only American state that does not allow
citizens to carry concealed guns in any form. The court has
given the state six months to come up with legislative
measures in this regard.
vived, but lives with at least one bullet in her head. Sanish
was sentenced to life in prison without parole last year.
A month before that, the body of 45-year-old Karthik
Rajaram, who had a master’s degree and once worked for
Price WaterhouseCoopers, a gun clutched in one hand, was
found by the police at his home in the San Fernando Valley,
The police, summoned by family and friends, found five
members of the family shot dead by an unemployed
Rajaram, who was facing a financial crisis.
The victims, who were killed in their beds, were his wife,
his three sons and his mother-in-law. Rajaram had no
record of mental disabilities, nor had he made contact with
mental health professionals.
In April 2008, in Santa Clara, California, Devan
Kalathat, 36, an engineer with Yahoo!, killed his two chil-
dren and three members of his family before killing him-
self. His wife Aabha survived with grievous injuries. She
still does not know why he went berserk. Kalathat bought
two semi-automatic guns a month before his murderous