On October 17th an 18-year-old student of the Kerch technical college, a vocational school in Crimea, conducted a mass shooting with a hunting gun and detonated an improvised explosive device on the college’s campus, killing 20 and injuring at least 50 more students, before killing himself. This shooting marks the 5th school attack in Russia this year, however, this has been the only recent attack with casualties. Mass shootings in Russia and Russian-annexed Crimea, have been on the rise over the past few years, which has left Russians and Crimeans alike concerned about the future of their countries. The tragedy occurs at a crucial moment in the United States for the gun control agenda, as the country has struggled with gun violence for decades, with the past few years presenting extreme increases in school shootings in specific. While this form of violence is typically contained in one state, mass shootings to pose a threat to the status of world peace in many ways.
There has been some indication that the young man responsible for the attack in Crimea was inspired by the 1999 Columbine High School shooting in Denver, Colorado in the United States. The suspect has posted on his social media accounts in the past glorifying the Columbine shooters and was dressed in a white t-shirt and black pants which was the choice outfit of both Columbine perpetrators. According to Russian intelligence, there has been a drastic increase in social media groups inspired by and worshipping the Columbine shooters and even online sites which sell replicas of the Columbine shooters’ outfits. Members of Russian Parliament have proposed a bill which would block access to such sites due to the apparent influence on Russian youth to commit violent crimes. Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin is adamant that these sites, as well as the regular occurrence of school shootings in the United States, is creating a climate for copycat attacks elsewhere in the world, as we are seeing in Russia. The Ukrainian government holds the position that the Russian government is to blame for creating “a climate of fear and instability in Crimea.” The Kharkiv Human Rights Protection group holds a similar view, stating that the Russian annexation and militarization of Crimea has resulted in an increase in the availability of weapons and ease of access to them, as well as the influence that a heavily violent and militarized climate has on influential teens.
The mass shooting in Crimea sheds light on two major issues in today’s world of political instability: the respect of sovereignty, and respectively, the need to work towards global disarmament. Loose gun control laws in the United States contributed greatly to the increased amount of mass shootings in recent years, and with the recent militarization in Russian-annexed Crimea, guns are becoming harder to regulate and control. The most realistic and effective solution to gun violence of this scale is to work towards disarmament on a global scale in order to prevent arms dealing and other ways of illegal guns entering countries. While this would be a process requiring a lengthy timeline and global cooperation, the impacts make the effort worthwhile. Working to reduce or eliminate weapons throughout the global community would have a significant positive impact on the future of world peace.
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