Winnenden shooting: what next?

Germany is still recovering from the shock of the school shooting in Winnenden on Wednesday. Seventeen year old Tim Kretschner walked into his school and shot 12 people, including three teachers, and then fled from the scene, killing another three passersby as he was chased by the police. He finally shot himself in the head. He is said to have been angry at bullying and rejection from female pupils (most his victims were girls). After the tragedy, the Bavarian newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung published a statement saying Germany was the second country after the US that was affected by killings. Angela Merkel's government is now asking itself what the next step is. Laws on the sale of weapons had already been tightened in 2002 after two consequetive shootings took place in Erfurt and Freising, claiming the lives of 20 people. The legal age to buy a gun had gone from 18 to 21, and under 25 year olds had to provide a medical certificate to carry a gun. But these changes sadly did nothing to prevent the Winnenden tragedy, as the Tim Kretschmer grew up with a father who was a member of a shooting club. All but one of his father's guns were locked up in a cabinet, and that is the one he used to kill his victims.
A law had also been put in place to prevent minors from buying violent video games, which was thought to be an incentive to violence. But are these laws enough? Is that really where the issues lie? Adolescents being influenced by violent movies and games? Mr Kretschmer was clearly a young man with serious issues that started either in the playground or at home. Not only should laws be toughened even more on guns, but more counselling should be put in place for adolescents in schools. Parents should be more careful of what they preach at home, but also what they bring back. Mr Kretschmer should never have had so easy access to weapons...

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