"To Whom It May Concern" Murder


It's 2013. Happy New Year! Nakaraos na ang 2012, at andito pa rin tayo. Maybe the world will not end for another few billion years. But for some people, the world did end. For Stephanie Nicole Ella and her family, the world did end on New Year's Eve, cut short by a bullet shot out of the barrel of a gun, hurled into the sky, and flung back to earth, ultimately finding its way into the little girl's brain, piercing her skull.

She might have felt a mild sting where the bullet entered, but with the immediate bleeding that ensued, she probably felt too drowsy to feel any pain. And she fell back to the ground, described by her uncle as "natisod". She never got back up until she was brought to the hospital where she died 38 hrs later.

The last few days of 2012 has seen a lot of gun related violence: self-absorbed maniacal Rambos shooting unarmed moviegoers and schoolchildren in the States and apparently normal, but probably inebriated trigger-happy blokes shooting into the air, to whom it may concern.

But whether the gunman is a paranoid schizophrenic shooting at demons about to attack him, or drunk professionals shooting into the air because they're happy, whether they shot 20 schoolchildren pointblank or one little girl in random, no amount of justification will diminish the anguish of the parents and relatives of those whose lives were taken away.

While a knife can cut into your intestines and cause you to bleed, a bullet will enter your abdomen, sending shock waves as it travels, destroying not just the tissues in its path, but the neighboring organs as well. While a knife cannot easily cut into bone, a bullet will easily punch through your skull like paper. While a knife can be seen (and fended off), a bullet has already taken you out before you even know it.

The PROGun advocates will probably make a lot of noise once antigun advocates start yelling. Their American counterparts went as far as trying to shoot the messenger. For speaking his mind, they now want Piers Morgan sent back to the UK. In a country where they put so much emphasis on individual rights, (where they insist they have the right to own guns,) they want to curtail the rights of someone willing to speak his mind.

In the Philippines, these advocates will start making their own noise once they feel threatened. But the rights of millions of gun owners should never bear down on the right of one little girl to live. Not a single life should be curtailed just to sustain the firecracker industry. Not a single life should be curtailed in order for a whole country to enjoy and celebrate.

As Secretary Enrique Ona said, the country needs a change of habit. It needs a drastic change in tradition. We may have inherited these practices from the Chinese. But it seems we are the only ones suffering from it in the long run.