As I See It

Mere crazies don’t kill people; guns do

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Another 20 innocent grade school children, aged six or seven years old, and six of their educators died the other day in America because another crazy man with a gun opened fire on them. This is the fourth mass shooting in the United States this year.

There are many crazy people everywhere, but it is only in the United States where there are frequent massacres like this. Why? Because the United States has very liberal gun laws. It is so easy to acquire guns. People go crazy all over, but they don’t massacre people. Guns do. It is so easy to kill people if you have a gun, especially the automatic variety. The Maguindanao massacre could not have happened were there not so many guns in Maguindanao.

Many responsible leaders in America realize there is a need for strict gun laws, but Congress cannot pass any because a powerful lobbyist, the National Rifle and Pistol Association, financed by the gun manufacturers, pressures politicians against it. Ironically, many of the gun manufacturers are located in Connecticut, the state where the latest mass shooting took place.

We in the Philippines are rapidly heading toward that danger point with more and more guns getting in the hands of irresponsible people. Filipinos also want stricter gun control laws, but there is also a lobby here composed of gun clubs and gun stores. Proposed gun control legislations never get anywhere in Congress because of this lobby, despite the fact that more and more people are dying each year from gunshot wounds, especially during an election period. There are politicians who believe that the easiest way to win an election is to kill your rival. An antigun movement, the Gunless Society, has practically disappeared because of the progun lobby.

It is now dangerous to go out to watch fireworks on New Year’s Eve. A number of people have been killed by falling bullets fired into the air by irresponsible gun owners during the revelry. It is dangerous to go down a one-way street, you may meet another Rolito Go who will shoot you because you blocked his way. Or to beat another motorist to a parking spot. A motorist has already lost his life in a parking slot squabble, ironically in a cemetery during All Saints’ Day. Just walking out on the street is now dangerous. A motorcyclist with a passenger at his back may just roar by to allow his passenger to shoot you.

It is also easy in the Philippines to acquire guns. Why would it not be easy when there are frequent gun shows in shopping malls where the sellers offer to fill up the necessary paperwork for you? Why would it not be easy when policemen in the firearms section of the Philippine National Police get commissions from gun stores for every gun sold? Why would it not be easy when policemen and soldiers sell the guns assigned to them? Why would it not be easy when there are more loose firearms than licensed ones? Why would it not be easy when there are cities and towns in the Philippines openly making illegal guns in backyard gun factories while the authorities look the other way?

Why am I saying all this? Because we are heading down the pitfall that America is in. We need stricter gun control laws but our leaders are afraid of the progun lobby. If we don’t learn a lesson from the repeated tragedies in America and impose stricter gun control laws now, we may soon have our own series of mass shootings.

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For a change, let’s hear some good news. This one is for Globe Telecom subscribers. All the telecom companies have been swamped with numerous complaints about their services.

According to reports, Globe’s modernization project is well on its way to completion by the first quarter of 2013, with very encouraging results in areas where the modernized network is already in place. The project is 100-percent equipment transformation and infrastructure replacement that will create a brand-new network that is “future proof.” Globe’s modernization project is not a mere addition to an existing structure but a complete change of the network system.

The modernization project, according to Globe’s handout, will blanket the whole Philippines with the steady progression of network transformation, which will also extend to far-flung locations, thus creating a seamless coverage of the entire country.

Globe announced that it has completed the modernization of its infrastructure in the Davao region and other key areas in Mindanao including Zamboanga and Misamis. This would mean better mobile coverage, increased data speeds and better network reliability within the Davao area and nearby provinces, with fully equipped new-generation mobile systems capable of supporting fourth-generation High-Speed Packet Access (4G HSPA).

These show that Globe’s modernization project is concentrated not only in Metro Manila and major cities in the country but also in far-flung areas such as Tipo-Tipo in Basilan, Impasugong in Malaybalay, Sumilao in Bukidnon and Zamboanga Sibugay. In addition to the modernized network, Davao region was the first to have the rollout of fiber optic cable, which will increase Globe’s capacity to accommodate and protect more voice, SMS and data traffic.

Also near completion is the modernized network in the Visayan region as well as the fiber optic interconnection to Boracay.

Globe also announced the completion of the first phase of network transformation in Makati, the nation’s central business district. A good expanse of the city is already capable or primed for contiguous Long Term Evolution, or LTE, deployment, which can fire data speeds of up to 42 mbps. This advancement in the network system could boost the development of Makati as one of the emerging cities in the world using topnotch facilities in mobile technology.

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