Friday, December 14, 2012

Normal Reaction to a Gun

Dear Korean,

I've been a fan of Korean action-thrillers for a while now, but there's something weird that I think only happens in Korean movies: there are almost no guns. Even when the main character is a gangster/assassin/cop is more usual to find them using knives, bats or just kicking around than shooting. And when someone uses one people around them act like they have pulled out a bomb (the recent
Ajeossi for example.) Is there any reason for that (gun control or something)?


The answer to this question is easy, and was partially covered in a previous post about gun control in Korea. Guns are extremely rare in Korea -- private ownership of a gun is virtually nonexistent. 

The recent hit Korean movie 26 Years, which shows the plot to assassinate former president Chun Doo-hwan, gives a good showing of just how difficult it is to obtain a gun in Korea. In the movie, one of the main characters -- a young woman who is an Olympian shooter -- has to resort to a makeshift air-pump gun as her weapon. Most Koreans live their lives without ever seeing a gun, except for males who serve in the military. So if a Korean person saw a gun in ordinary circumstances -- heck, even in relatively unordinary circumstances, like fighting bad guys -- the normal reaction is a stunned paralysis, at least initially.

Obviously, this post is in reaction to the unspeakable tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut -- another mass shooting, this time killing 27, 18 of them little children. (-EDIT- Now it's 20 children. Good lord.) It is safe to say that this type of event only happens in Korea very, very, very rarely. In fact, mass murder of a comparable scale (outside of military context) happened only once in modern Korean history. In contrast, U.S. has had a mass school shooting -- just school shooting -- once every month since the Columbine High School massacre in 1999.

In fact, the Korean realized something today:  Americans will never know just how much of a peace of mind there can be in a society whose people lack the capacity to kill randomly, how liberating it is to not live in fear of strangers all the time, not to have that dark fear in the corner of our minds that something horrible can happen to our little children because a deranged maniac can obtain guns any time he wants to.

If you still think there is absolutely nothing wrong with America's gun culture after this, go on feeling that way. If the senseless deaths of 20 toddlers do not change your mind about guns, why would this post be any more effective? Go on and keep living in fear of others, hoping that your gun -- your voodoo god of safety -- will ward off the threat. Just know that, in the majority of the civilized world, people feel much safer without that voodoo god in their lives, because it is a savage god that requires constant human sacrifice.

Got a question or a comment for the Korean? Email away at


  1. I agree with The Korean on this one whole-heartedly. I live in Australia, a country with similar gun laws to South Korea. We don't have compulsory military service, but the civilian approach to gun ownership is almost identical, in that pretty much nobody other than hunters and people who shoot for sport own guns. With the news of the recent Connecticut tragedy, I find myself distraught at the thought of ubiquitous gun ownership in the US, and as The Korean put it, "Voodoo" approach many Americans take towards guns, believing that the ownership of more violent tools will somehow prevent further violence.

    I can't even begin to imagine what it would be like living in the culture of fear that seems to dominate the US. I understand The Korean when he talks about the peace of mind that comes with the promise of safety in a gun-free society. Violence exists in all societies, I'm not denying that, but gun violence is a much more dangerous. In Australia, you will hear of the odd stabbing, beating or gang brawl, but these acts of violence are much easier controlled by the authorities. Violence is the exception, not the rule, and such violence can effectively be handled through non-violent means. The capacity for mass killing is almost non-existent, and I feel safer knowing that I live in a peaceful and civil society.

    Answering violence with more violence, as seems to be the logic behind gun ownership as "Protection" is a recipe for disaster. And as far as the argument of gun ownership as an expression of "Freedom": This isn't the wild west. Societies have laws in place to prevent civilians taking the law into their own hands. Ubiquitous gun ownership is a tribal, barbaric institution that ironically seems befitting of the "Voodoo God of Safety" Americans seem to cling to.

    Appalled Aussie

    1. Appalled Aussie wrote: "I can't even begin to imagine what it would be like living in the culture of fear that seems to dominate the US."

      I've been living in America for over a half century and I've never seen anyone brandish a firearm in anger. Yes - there are dangerous places in America. However, of the 3.79 million square miles (9.83 million square kilometers) that make up America - 99%+ of it is perfectly safe and the people don't live in anything remotely resembling "a culture of fear or danger."

      I suspect you largely base your opinion of America on Hollywood movies and 24 hour news channels. If you're opinion is based on your actual experiences of having lived in America - I would love to hear more.

    2. @guitard

      Those 6 and 7 year olds lived in one of those neighborhoods that you say make up 99% of America. So was Columbine. So was Virginia Tech. In the 1% that you call unsafe (South Central LA, downtown Detroit, downtown Baltimore), gun deaths happen almost weekly, but that does not make these acts in the other 99% insignificant. This should not be the norm to which we compare our society. These tragedies only tell us that it can happen anywhere in America, not just the 1%.

    3. So what's your point ... I am wrong for not living in fear in my sleepy, little farm town?

      Can a tragedy like Newtown happen here? Of course it can. But I could also get killed in a car accident ... in fact that is probably 1000 times more likely to happen than becoming a victim of a mass shooting. Should I be in fear whenever I am out driving?

      I responded to the original poster's statement, "I can't even begin to imagine what it would be like living in the culture of fear that seems to dominate the US."

      I said the original poster is wrong about his/her assumption about life in America. I stand by my original response.

  2. I love your posts, but I have to disagree with your conclusions here. Heck, just today a man in China went into a school and stabbed 22 kids. People will always find a way to do terrible things if they want to - it's silly to focus on the tools they use. Instead, wonder what sort of screwed up circumstances/upbringing/mental instability/etc put this 20-year-old on track to murder a bunch of children because he was jealous that they were getting more attention from his mother than he was. Guns aren't the problem in America: sociopathic narcissism is. And we celebrate it on TV every day...

    1. Yes but those kids in China were injured, not killed. Hence, the difference between knives and guns.

    2. Also, it is possible to defend against a knife. Much harder to defend against a semi auto guns. Guns kill quickly and definitively. I agree regarding focusing on mental health issues but gun control is also important.

    3. I agree America needs stricter gun control. That would be an amazing first step. The next step would to consider how to make our society more peaceful so that acts of violence (using any sort of tool) are minimized.

    4. I agree with you Dan. I don't feel that gun control could truly make as significant a difference as educating and instilling a sense of responsibility in owning a gun in reducing incidents such as these (and crime in general). However, what I find more pressing is the state of mental health treatment in the U.S. This boy obviously had issues and it went unaddressed. He appears to have had no real outlet and channeled it into this shooting. With all these shootings, the perpetrators all seemed to have had issues that the poor condition of our mental health treatment system hadn't addressed well enough. Even if these people had gone to a psychiatrist (if the social stigma hadn't prevented them from doing so), the treatments provided aren't that helpful.

      Also, the community needs to provide a welcoming and supportive environment. From the Virginia Tech and Oikos University, what I saw were people who noticed but didn't really do anything. That apathy and the tendency that people have in disassociating themselves from these people (when they should have reached out more to help them) just really made it worst (especially Oikos incident). Everyone always seems so concerned with themselves and the immediate, yet people wonder why things like this can happen. It doesn't just come out of nowhere, these happen from a gradual build up.

  3. China is an unusual case - they have shootings (using guns) despite the high level of gun control.

    There certainly seem to be a lot of illegal firearms in China.

    In both relative and absolute terms, the number of shootings seems to be a lot lower than the US.

    Still, you have to wonder. It seems that at least some shootings in China are apparently covered up.

  4. I wonder how much more blood have to be shed in order to get the Americans to truly understand the problem.

    1. We understand the problem. Just our system doesn't work to resolve it, like all the other problems we have right now.

  5. I kind of disagree.

    In Seoul they had Lotte world and a number of shooting ranges where 10,000 won got you to shoot a full clip of whatever it is you wanted to shoot. The guns were all chained to the tables though (from two sides) AND there was a safety lanyard attached.

    I saw young Korean women shooting there so they've probably seen more guns than you give credit for.


    The UK has strict gun control laws, with allowances for rifles and shotguns due to farmers. Our olympic shooters use one shot .22 pistols. Yet we always have gang shootings. I live in a town called Manchester colloqually called gunchester.

    Lots of criminals have guns and EVERYDAY there are shootings. My door was shot three times in a 6 month period. The police generally don't care either.

  6. You got to be a radical NRA advocate not to see the correlation between loose gun laws and shootings in this country. Guns are not tools, they are weapons with only one function, which is killing living things.

    However, I have a hard time imagining how we could quick and swiftly establish laws to control that. How can we do it? We're at a point that I'm willing to accept martial laws like "everyone caught with a gun is killed on the spot". I have a 8 year old daughter and I'm terrified to let her go anywhere.

  7. Gun control laws go state by state. You might take the time to check out the statistics of gun violence in states that have carry laws as opposed to those that ban guns. But, since TK has already discounted the credibility of anyone who disagrees on this issue, I won't go into the experiences of an older person who has lived with guns and gun rights all her life, and felt no fear whatsoever until gun laws became an issue.

    1. He hasn't discounted the credibility of anybody but himself. He is making a massive generalisation.

      And I'm living in the UK where guns are extremely difficult to get hold of. Even airsoft is restricted in the UK.


      There was a gun massacre in the UK about 16 years ago at a place called Dunblane. Guns after that were massively restricted...

      What happened? World peace and nirvana, a panacea even?

      Not a chance.

      Gun massacres still happen now and again, Cumbria a taxi driver went around shooting people randomly.

      Bloke called Moat started shooting people as well randomly massacring people as well.

      Most recently was a gang murder, where a bloke just walked up to a man and put three bullets into his head.

      About a month ago, a thug shot two police women.

      So did gun control reduce gun crime?

      Did it hell.

      So we have a situation in the UK where all the criminals have guns, yet the general public is not allowed to be armed with ANYTHING. A stone in your pocket even a belt can be considered an offensive weapon.

      Yet the police completely unwilling to help or even bother defending the population.

      Like the London Riots, the police didn't care, they let the people die and people were not allowed to defend themselves.

      You really want to get into a situation like that?

      You're welcome to come live in Gunchester if you want if you think no guns = a peaceful society.

      Its nothing but a pipe dream.

    2. Short of mandatory extensive military tactics/marksmanship training that attaches to every firearms purchase, the concept of citizens defending themselves from criminals/crazy nutjobs is laughable at best.

      I remember a story that came out of the Gifford shooting in Tucson - apparently there were *five* civilians with guns on the scene that day (it is Arizona, after all). Four of them didn't even realize they were armed, and the fifth one mistook a bystander for the murderer and almost shot an innocent person.

      When shootings like this begin, it's not like the situation is a level in Call of Duty; you don't just pull out your weapon and shoot at the murderer. Most likely, you're a scared civilian with absolutely no training in "How to shoot at the crazy nut with the gun without accidentally shooting a bystander or getting shot yourself, and keeping yourself calm and steady to even hold the gun properly". Assuming you haven't run for your life, or hiding and being scared, pulling out a weapon and start shooting with your once-every-two-weeks-at-the-shooting-range marksmanship is going to end in even more of a disaster.

    3. I don't play video games.

      I am well aware of running away. I have run away from people with broken bottles and knives.

      However consider the situation of this shooting if EVERYBODY in the school was armed. The shooter would have drawn maybe shot one or two people. A number of others would have drawn their weapons and the shooter would be dead before he got 2-3 victims.

      There wouldn't even be a body left he'd be shot so many times.

      Instead you had uneven access to force. Which leads to the situation which happened here (and in the UK) guy with gun has carte blanche to shoot others as they have no way to defend themselves.

    4. But if everyone had guns, a student would be shot every day from accidents or fights.

    5. Again, consider the example of the Gifford Shooting. So many people were armed, and it was two unarmed people who tackled the sick bastard and took his gun away. In fact, the guy who had the gun and reacted almost shot one of the unarmed person who took down the shooter (instead, he tackled the unarmed guy into a wall). When the police arrived, same song second verse.

      It's not just the possession of guns that allows a person to react as "Guy with a gun! Shoot him!". Even seasoned police officers (who have wanton access to a shooting range) have trouble taking a guy out with a gun; are you seriously telling me elementary school teachers and office workers could've stopped this guy just because they had a gun?

      Again, life doesn't work the same way Call of Duty does.

  8. I wonder what Al, the writer of the letter, thinks a normal reaction to a gun ought to be.

  9. "In fact, mass murder of a comparable scale (outside of military context) happened only once in modern Korean history. "

    That's not true. There have been several mass murders in Modern Korean history.

    Firstly, this guy...

    Also, this guy....

    And also, this guy...

    That last one held the 'record' for the most killings in single session until that Norwegian maniac a couple of years ago. There have also been several serial killers in Korea, e.g.

    I find many Koreans often delude themselves when comparing Korea with other countries, ignoring the facts in front of their faces. I recently read a book by the academic Choi Jun-Sik, PhD, which claimed the Korean alphabet is "capable of creating every possible human sound'. The book was written by him, a non native English speaker, in English, and quite well too. How though, could he not be aware of the absence of 'f' 'v' & 'z' from Hangul, when comparing to many other languages? Hangul, like every alphabet, is not capable of representing every human sound. But Koreans like to laud themselves, too often in my opinion.

    Korea is a nice country, and yes, it is, by and large, a safe place. But it also has its fair share of murderous lunatics, just like anywhere else.

    1. There is a reason why there is a qualifier of "comparable scale." I was thinking Woo Bum-kon as that one case. As to Nonhyeon-dong and Daegu subway, you might want to think about how they are fundamentally different from Sandy Hook or any other mass murder with guns in America.

    2. Sure - there are differences, but there are also similarities.

      Koreans often like to bury 'embarrassing' news stories, I find. They don't like the shame and loss of face they bring to the nation - which is understandable. However, it's also a little dishonest!

    3. Are you sure he meant "all possible HUMAN sounds"? I find that rather difficult to believe. Is it possible he meant merely that Hangeul can represent all possible sounds in the Korean language exactly, and you just misunderstood his intent? What is the title of Choi's book? I would like to check it out myself, if I can track down a copy.

    4. Hi Sam,
      The book is called 'Understanding Koreans and Their Culture' by Choi Joon-sik.

      The quote actually says "It is astonishing that [Hangeul can] encapsulate all the pronunciations IN THE WORLD on paper. (My caps). I've paraphrased the middle section as, rather than 'Hangeul can..' he talks about what the three strokes of Hangeul represent, i.e. sky, land humans. it's better to see the qoute in context so I have provided a scan.

      Hangeul, certainly CAN NOT 'encapsulate all the pronunciations in the world'. Neither can the Roman alphabet, or Greek, Russian etc. It's a ridiculous claim, made by a Korean academic writing in English, who surely must have known that certain phonemes (e.g. 'f', 'v' 'z') cannot be written? (quote) (book cover)

    5. Don't forget 'ts' and almost every other double consonants, all triple consonants, and so on...

  10. Children I have taught throughout five years here in Korea don't blink twice when other students make a "gun" out of something (anything) and play with it in class. They have tight gun control here but playing with toy guns (that look very realistic) is okay in this country. I'm glad Korea has gun control as I think if they didn't people would shoot each other a lot here.

  11. I would like to point out the lack of police presence in this country. Sure there are soldiers lining up around Jogno but elsewhere, where are they?

    Korea has taken away gun ownership to everyday citizens and made it harder but what about other causes of violence? Like alcohol? The cheap and communal consumption of this, to the point of no return leaves men to go home and beat their wives or other such violent acts.

    Just because Korea has a lack of guns doesn't mean it's a pristine land free of violence. Also I think we need to keep in mind that not all places in America are where you run home quickly and lock your door. However, in the urban areas where gun violence is a threat, I always felt the presence of police or security helpful. In Korea, when a loud gang of teenagers is nearby or drunken young 20 somethings making a racket down a seems police are few and far between.

    Sometimes you generalize too much, and other times you post great stuff.


    1. Most countries don't have a history of mass gun ownership so I don't think gun ownership was 'taken away'.

    2. "Just because Korea has a lack of guns doesn't mean it's a pristine land free of violence".

      Let's not go there. No one made that silly straw-man of a claim. But while South Korea has its share of crime, it's obviously true that the country is mostly free of casual gun violence, that kind that in the US generates nearly daily reports that usually start along these lines: "An 8-year old accidentally..." and "A drive-by shooting last night...", and "A despondent ex-boyfriend... before turning the weapon on himself".

  12. I really feel bad about this incident. i guess everyone sympathize to the families of the innocent victims. I hope they could come up with a solution for this mis-usage of guns and other firearms.

  13. Really, gun control isn't the answer. Guns don't kill people...people kill people.

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  15. As a foreigner in Korea, one thing that surprised me was the number of armed security guards despite the virtually non-existent private ownership. It was typically some tired looking ajjushi sitting in a booth, but the thing that got me was that they were everywhere--banks, post offices, and even schools (which on another point were impossible to enter without getting questioned, unlike in US public schools.) The point is, that it would have been downright impossible to cause as much damage in the same setting, and that is due to the ROK's gun control laws.

    That said, it's easy to smugly judge the US from a distance on absolute policies that don't apply evenly in every country.

    The problem is in our frame of minds. While some might say that it's sad that we need to take precautions that our grandparents didn't need to, we should turn that thinking around and take pride in our readiness and initiative to keep our communities safer. That includes security in public places, extra security around our children, and yes--gun control.

    That's not to say that a ban on private ownership of guns is the answer in the US. It's not. The gun culture is so widespread that legislating away guns would result in the good guys surrendering their firearms, and the bad guys keeping them. I really think that gun ownership can be a good thing when a countries citizens are trained to see buying a weapon more like purchasing a responsibility than exercising a right they're entitled to. As a matter of fact I would even go as far as to say that Korea would be a better candidate for open gun laws than the United States.

    The best example of this is Switzerland, where not only are guns legal, but are mandatory for all men, and encouraged for the women. The result is that gun crimes are almost non-existant. The BBC sums it up with, "Despite the lack of rigid gun laws, firearms are strictly connected to a sense of collective responsibility." ( )

  16. As long as Americans value the right to own a weapon over the right to public safety, these things will continue to frequently occur, regardless of how many shallow Facebook statuses, SNL tributes, or half-mast flags we have to make ourselves feel better. But you're right, I don't think anything will change our obsession with guns or the belief that "they" are trying to take away freedoms by limiting firearms. We've already made that choice, considering personal freedom more important than the freedom that comes with not living in fear in our neighborhoods and cities, and shooting deaths are considered acceptable collateral damage.

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    1. Gun-free is not even a valid argument. If America was "gun-free" then only the criminals would have guns and the rest of us would be sitting ducks.

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    3. Man, you're an idiot. America is not a closed system with an impenetrable border like your examples make it out to be. How can anyone feasibly confiscate every gun from within the US without resorting to violence (gun violence) and massive intrusions of privacy? And even if that were possible, how could you feasibly stop all further production and import of firearms? Use a little logic and you'll see that gun control is nonsense.

  18. Guns represent an enormous potential for catastrophe, as does another mechanical contrivance that both has a prominent position in American culture and kills lots of people: the automobile. However, the U.S. is host to an enormous bureaucracy to regulate and restrict the use of automobiles, including mandatory certification and registration for anyone who drives or owns a car; and Americans live with this situation while scarcely letting out a peep to the effect that such laws trample on any sacred liberties.

    People didn't even get very upset when auto insurance became mandatory, since we all collectively decided that drivers needed to be insured financially against the inherent risk to life and property that they carried with them during the simple act of driving down the road.

    It is clear that if you own a gun, you instantly present a liability to everyone around you, and that liability goes up with the number of guns you own and how much of a dumb-ass you are; and these are the words of somebody who is a gun owner. But is this reality reflected anywhere in the laws we currently have?

    The assault weapons ban was allowed to die. The most sensible feature of that law was the restriction it placed on high-capacity magazines. The biggest difference between a weapon that is inherently designed for assault and one that can plausibly be described as 'just for defense' is firepower: the amount of rounds that a weapon can accurately throw downrange in a fixed amount of time, along with the amount of ready rounds a shooter can carry. The fact that full-auto weapons are illegal is almost insignificant; even soldiers are trained in the use of disciplined, aimed, accurate fire and to use the full-auto function on their service rifles more-or-less only as a last resort, since it is so inaccurate. Many of these shooters in recent history simply wouldn't have been able to kill as many people as they did if they were not able to fire 30+ rounds before reloading.

    In short, this gun owner thinks American gun laws are inadequate. That's about it.

  19. I've had it! We can talk about mental health issues, our national psyche, parenting, school security, and arming elementary school teachers (!) indefinitely, but we're only attempting to obscure the fact that without easy access to guns, these mass shootings wouldn't happen. For once, there is a simple solution to the problem! One that several industrialized nations have picked up on, including the one that I am happy to be living in right now (drunken ajussis and all). Sure, if we severely restricted private gun ownership, criminals would still have access to firearms. But they wouldn't use them to shoot up classrooms of first graders.

    1. "Sure, if we severely restricted private gun ownership, criminals would still have access to firearms. But they wouldn't use them to shoot up classrooms of first graders." This statement is illogical. One does not prove the other.

    2. Meri, you're an idiot. Gun control is NOT an easy solution. How can anyone feasibly confiscate every gun from within the US without resorting to violence (gun violence) and massive intrusions of privacy? And even if that were possible, how could you feasibly stop all further production and import of firearms? Use a little logic and you'll see that gun control is nonsense. And your last statement truly does take the cake! That is what's known as a non-sequitur, a common logical fallacy. Please stop consuming mainstream media garbage and think for yourself.

  20. I saw a headline stating over 1,000 deaths by a typhoon. Later that day I saw on the CDC website that over 2,700 teens died in auto accidents. Auto accidents kill more than guns.

    I do believe in gun control as well as voting control, but will gun control really solve the violence issue in society? Compare to auto accidents and other types of deaths, gun deaths are small in number.

    Its sad that we only want to control the side effects of the problem than solve the problem.

    What really amazes me that the group that wants more gun control to prevent deaths actually kills more through abortions. Does that make sense?

  21. Judging from what I see on the documentaries, news articles and mass media in general, it seems that obtaining a gun in the USA is too easy. If it is really like this, I agree they should set laws and limits to make it harder for people to buy guns. Like, needing special proof and licences and such. But I don't think that would change the American gun society so qickly. It will take maybe decades for the situation to stabilise.
    I my hometown country too it is illegal to obtain a gun (unless you're a hunter or a policeman, soldiers have no permission to carry guns out of the military). They have even put limits on petards and other pyrotech products. Sometimes shooting incidents happen, but rarely and never casually on the street or school. Just once, as far as I know. It's like drugs - if you're looking for it, there are places where these things happen, but you have to search for them for yourself. So basically no danger for commoners.

  22. VB, are you really sure about that 100 people in the room BS? You may just want to look at the US murder rates by states and cities. Those with some of the highest rates are those with the strictest gun laws.

    Everybody loves to spout the "lets ban guns" crap without even trying to learn about the issue. 30 years ago, in my high school, we had a gun club. Once a week students brought their guns INTO THE SCHOOL and then went to a shooting range to shoot paper targets. How many people died at the hands of those kids during the school year? Z E R O!

    Criminals are called that particular name for one reason:


    If the law enforcement agencies actually ENFORCED THE LAWS WE ALREADY HAVE, gun crimes would go down. However, they DON'T!

    While there are places where I'm not going to be walking around at night in the US, I am generally safe and don't have to worry about someone coming out of a corner shooting at me.

    Most of what your seeing on the movies is not anything like the reality of what life is like on the streets in the US. Generally, it's like anywhere else, you may have some crime, but it tends to be in the run down areas of town. Most of the shootings are going to be gang related and even those confined to those same areas.

    Some states do allow concealed carry of firearms, and for the most part the crime rates in those states tend to fall on the lower end of the scale. Some cite the fact that the criminals want the easy money and don't want to get hurt when they commit a crime. Others think it's a fear thing as the criminals may end up being shot for trying to steal from somebody.

    Those of you who think that the US is like the "Wild West" should do a bit of reading on the crime statistics. You will be a bit suprised as they are no where near as high as you think they are.

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    2. VB wrote: "Of course, it is not the "Wild West", but it is not a safe heaven either."

      99% of America is just as safe as the safest places on earth. You obviously do not know much about America if the best you can do is a sweeping generalization that it's "not a safe heaven."

      Speaking of which . . . are you sure you didn't mean to say "haven" instead of "heaven?"

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    4. Surely, high rates of gun-related crime and strict gun control laws both correlate with highly urbanized areas. It doesn't necessarily mean gun control laws don't work.

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  23. I was looking over the red states versus the blue states in gun deaths. On average the blue states which has the strictest gun laws has the most gun deaths.

    1. Compare this:

      and this:

      It is not about gun laws, it is about gun ownership and the number of guns.

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  25. (Let's try this again. Sorry.) This is something everyone should watch, especially those who think armed civilians in a crisis situation is the answer.

    watch video here

    Back in the day, ABC's "20/20" did a test to see if they could train a bunch of college students to have fast enough response times to shoot an attacker. They found students with a variety of levels of gun experience, including some real enthusiasts. Guess who fared the worst?

    Also--love this blog and share it often. Thank you for doing this, TK! How do Koreans celebrate the Christmas holidays? Please write a blog about that sometime. Happy Holidays!

    1. Great video! Thanks for sharing!

  26. Oh, I found an article about gun laws:

    It is about Japan. I could not find one like this about Korea.

  27. VB, ever been to places like Iowa, Nebraska, Ohio, Maine, or even upstate New York? Why don't you go to these places and check if everybody locks their doors at night? Sorry, but you are dealing with a pre conceived notion based not on any facts.

    Why don't you take a look at the murders last year? Places like Washington DC far outweigh every state in the number of gun related deaths and they have one of the strictest gun laws in the nation. California and Illnois have high murder rates and they too have some of the strictest gun laws.

    The way your talking, one would think that poeple would be killed as you are walking down the street every 5 minutes or so, in every state. The United States is roughly 2,000+ miles from the East to the West coast with 300 MILLION people. Last year we had 8,500+ gun deaths across the ENTIRE country. Gee, that's just a tad more than 3 deaths for every 100,000 people. Here's a link: this information came from the FBI crime statistics.

    So, how many people died in your country last year from auto accidents? Why don't they ban cars in your country?

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  30. How can he humiliate me like this?

    Is it because I got the part time job here? He does not treat the full time job guys like me. If only I had been to a better university he could not have done this to me. He deserves death! I will kill my boss and bring justice to the crack nut who discriminate people by educational background and social status.

    Dang, how should I kill him? Hmm let’s see. I guess I can use a knife. The kitchen knife at my home? Naa, it’s too dull and big; won’t be efficient in slashing nor stabbing. The fruit knife? Naa~ he will think it’s some kind of joke, and I want him to know I am dead serious.

    Well the E-Mart had sushi knife on sale. I can get that knife. It looked sharp, and slender. Wait! What if my hands slip when I stab him? It will cut all my fingers. That would be too painful; I can’t even bear a paper cut to my finger. The hell with sushi knife!

    What other knives are there? Hmm the Gumdo(Kendo) gym had huge sword on the wall. But how will I get it? I am not even registered by the government. Even if I am, they only allow it to masters. Well, let’s see. Can I steal it? Naa, that building is equipped with Scom alarm.

    Can I push him off the roof? Naa, he does not even smoke and never goes to the building top smoking area. Can I push him off the stairs? He is rather in good shape and I doubt he will die from rolling down the stairs. I guess after the rolling is done, he would get up and beat the sh** out of me. Can I run him over with my car? No, we are in Seoul! We always commutes to work by bus and subways. What if I smash his head with a blunt weapon or a brick? It’s too much of burden. What if I miss the first blow and he asks me “what the he** you doing with that!?” What am I going to answer?

    Dang, sushi knife is the best I got. Alright! Sushi knife it is! I guess I will wrap the grip with cloth and spray it with what those baseball players use on their bats. I’ve seen it on TV. Yeah!

    When will I kill him? He is always with those full time job guys in the office. Maybe I should slash them all. Well……. I am too small; I am not even 174 cm, the average height of Korean men, and I am just not muscular enough! They will neutralize me in seconds.

    I have to wait until he is alone. The boss sometimes works late at evening alone. Yeah! That is the time.

    How will I approach him? Should I sneak him from behind or approach him as if I have some questions? What if he sees me carrying the knife? Will I need a raw fish to avoid his suspicion?

    Where should I stab him? Or should I slash him? What if he does not die and screams for help, so that the people in next department restrain me?

    He needs to die clean, so I must stab him in throat or the heart. What if I miss or fail by stabbing the rib bone only? I think I heard that he served in the UDT. Compared with him I have been always shy, kind of slow, and never made the attacking position in any soccer team throughout my life, even during the military service.


    God! I just wish I had a gun!

  31. I'm not sure that the rarity of guns in Korea totally explains it. Guns are also extremely rare in the UK (no-one ever sees them), but British films quite often involve guns and there isn't necessarily the total shock reaction described here.

  32. You use an example of how someone can create a killing weapon, pretend sharp objects and stones, poison, garroting wire, a shove from high places, or bare hands can't kill too. Though, I'm sure you or some other sensationalist who watches too much CNN and movies will come up with some superficial complaint with the reality if the extremely rare madman wants to slay 1 person or many, he will go in with a great sword and chop up some kids if he dares. Stopping weapons takes weapons, not ought to be's or surrender. If it wasn't so difficult to carry a gun here, the idiots that commit these crimes would be gunned down so fast, they'd never even do it. Do I have to check SK news for you to find the murders you don't want to read about?

  33. "The best example of this is Switzerland, where not only are guns legal, but are mandatory for all men, and encouraged for the women. The result is that gun crimes are almost non-existant. The BBC sums it up with, "Despite the lack of rigid gun laws, firearms are strictly connected to a sense of collective responsibility." ( )

    It's ridiculous to use Switzerland as an example of gun ownership vs. domestic violence. Look at the Educational/Employment/Crime/Social aspect of Switzerland. Like comparing Elton John and William Hung, both sold records and sang on TV right?


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