Echo of Kerch tragedy: ''There is a mass of episodes when armed citizens stopped shooters''

From the legalization of arms to total control over the Internet – about how Russia is going to resist 'Columbiners'

Echo of Kerch tragedy: ''There is a mass of episodes when armed citizens stopped shooters'' Photo: ru.krymr.com

Russia is still being a state of profound shock after the tragedy in Kerch. Although it has been not the first such attack, but the country has faced such a mass shooting in school for the first time. The number of victims of student-shooter Vladislav Roslyakov reached 21 people – one seriously wounded died in the sanitary helicopter, doctors are fighting for the lives of ten more. Meanwhile, experts are analyzing the causes and looking for ways to solve the problem. There are a variety of proposals: to ban video games, arms sale and, conversely, to legalize its bearing, full control over the Internet and social networks. Realnoe Vremya asked the minister of youth, psychologists, sociologists, security experts and bloggers about what way out they see of such situations and whether they can be prevented.

The result of globalization and the Internet under control

The tragedy in Kerch has become a trigger for analysis of the reasons in all circles of the power and society. If the United States have been solving the problem of mass shootings in schools for many years, our country has faced this for the first time (at least on such a scale). There are a variety of suggestions on how to prevent these cases. In particular, the FSB offers to take control of the Internet:

''For us, the professionals, it has long been obvious that cyberspace must be under the control of competent authorities. Without it, it is impossible to guarantee due ensuring information security and successfully resist modern terrorist threats,'' Deputy Director of the FSB Sergey Smirnov declared.

Russian President Vladimir Putin thinks in a similar way. In his opinion, the events in Kerch — a result of globalization, he told the participants of the international discussion club Valdai. ''The yesterday's tragedy is, apparently, a result of globalization, oddly enough. In social networks, on the Internet, we see that there are entire communities created, it all started with the famous tragic events in the schools of the United States.

It is noteworthy that Tatarstan Minister of Youth Damir Fattakhov was in solidarity with the head of the state:

''It's impossible to ban everything. Our task is to create the right alternatives for young people. This situation was commented by Vladimir Putin very succinctly, 'Whole community are created in social networks and the Internet. This means that we react poorly to changing conditions in the world. This means that we do not create the necessary, interesting and useful content for young people. They grab this surrogate of heroism. This leads to tragedies of this kind. I agree with this position and believe that it also includes the task of preventing such situations in the future.''

The problem is in society, not video games or private security companies in schools

Another favourite topic by many has been also raised this time — to see the root of the of evil of youth crimes in video games. For example, Filipp Gross-Dneprov, an expert at Vesti FM radio and co-owner of the domain registrar Reg.ru, discussing the motives of the Kerch student, described the game Doka 2, where one can ''using sophisticated ways'' to kill people, ''to take out their guts during 10 minutes'' and do it ''in the scenery of a school''.

However, not everyone agrees with this position. Daniil Grigoryev, an expert of the Economic Research Centre at the Institute of Globalization and Social Movements (IGSO), drew attention to the distrust of many Russians to the official version of the events in the Kerch Polytechnic University — it is not consistent. It is difficult to assume that the student was able to organize such an attack in a short time and without preliminary preparation.

''In general, I think this is a social problem. The Russian society is quite cruel. We have one of the highest levels of violent crimes in Eastern Europe. A huge level of property and other inequalities. It is not surprising, when the standard of living gets worse, incomes fall, the state removes social obligation, then people react on it this way. So I don't think it's a problem of video games or the fact that someone did something like this 20 years ago in the US. This is the problem of tense social situation, the problem of the whole society. And if the society is characterized by violence and rudeness, the dominance of success of few people who managed to forge ahead, then, probably, young people as part of this society will also have psychological problems and deaf anger, especially, we knew that he was from an incomplete family, his mother is a nurse, etc. and all this can result in such acts,'' said Grigoriev.

Pavel Shmakov, known teacher, the director of Solntse school in Kazan, tries to solve the problem of safety of students in his own way. He is camping on the doorsteps of officials, seeking allocation of budgetary funds for payment of the services of specialized security companies for educational institutions:

''The situation with the safety of children is deteriorating day by day. Now the service of CCTV cameras at schools has been terminated. We have a cloakroom attendant at the entrance. Somewhere parents are forced or asked to give money to protect the school, explaining that the state has another more important problems besides them. In our school, as well as in many others, there is no even day watchman vacancy. Even this would not be enough if an armed man tried to enter a school. I think it is urgent to allocate money for the security of our school by private security companies to improve the safety of children. The required amount is about 45,000 rubles a month. I think that this issue is important for other schools of the republic as well,'' says Shmakov.

To prohibit arms sale or to legalize their possession?

In the US, after every high-profile case of shooting at school they raise the question of banning free sale of arms. In Russia, the possession and bearing firearms is prohibited. However, the law allows anyone beginning at the age of 18 and in the absence of legal and medical contraindications to obtain permission and purchase a smooth-bore hunting rifle. It is reported that the Kerch student did so. According to those who issued him the license for the weapon, the procedure is not difficult. Collection of documents, training and exam take 2 months. After the tragedy in Kerch again there sound proposals for more thorough control over the sale of arms up to the ban. Not everyone agrees.

Not everything can be solved using repressive measures. Even if we ban the sale of arms, they can still be bought on illegal black market. Even if we talk about strengthening the security of schools, there will be no absolute guarantee. Perhaps, in England or Sweden, where the level of development, education and control of arms at times higher, it would help. Unfortunately, it is impossible to prevent such things completely, we need a comprehensive prevention: in terms of education, operational search measures, the formation of culture, as we have very big problems with the education of young people. At the same time, restricting access to the Internet will also do nothing. Because of one case, no matter how egregious it is, it is impossible to resort to total actions that would limit the rights and freedoms of law-abiding citizens,'' said Chairman of the Board of Directors of Kontr CJSC Ildus Yanyshev.

Some, on the contrary, believe that it is necessary to legalize the bearing of arms in Russia. Then potential victims of the shooters will have at least a chance to repel an attack. This the view shared by blogger Timur Timurshin:

''In the English-speaking segment, one can easily google a lot of episodes when armed citizens stopped shooters, protected their lives and property. Their legislation in respect of arms and self-defence is much more liberal than our. In our state, even if a person at his own home (like in Bugulma recently) kills attackers, the investigative committee will demand to place him under arrest. Any restrictions on the circulation of legal arms reduce the rights and opportunities of law-abiding citizens to protect themselves and their loved ones in case of emergencies. At the same time, the chances of not being shot during a crime increases for criminals.

Timurshin believes that in Russia there is a long overdue need to radically revise the current legislation in matters of self-defence and legalize the possibility to acquire, possess and use short-barreled arms for self-defence for law-abiding citizens who do not have problems with psyche and law (like it now works with respect to hunting weapons).

By Vasilya Shirshova
Tatarstan