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Thai soldier goes on shooting rampage, killing at least 21 people

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Tragic!!! Appears his superior officer is involved along with money payments...

Gunman identified as junior army officer is believed holed up in basement of shopping centre in Nakhon Ratchasima.

A member of the security forces was killed early in a raid on a shopping mall in northeastern Thailand on Sunday. A soldier, who shot dead at least 20 people, was believed to have holed up in the basement of the shopping centre.

The killings began at around 3pm (08:00 GMT) when the soldier opened fire in a house before moving to an army camp and then to the mall in Nakhon Ratchasima, posting messages on Facebook as he went...


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The gunman was a 32-year-old senior sergeant major. Rather fast promotion ... something unusual was going on.

"Thailand has one of the highest rates of gun ownership in the world but mass shootings by soldiers targeting civilians are rare."

Really? It is not easy to obtain a firearms permit (which is required for everything except single shot hunting rifles), though it is easy enough to buy anything you want on the black market. But I apparently Al Jazeera's source knows better than the rest of us. I don't know a single person (except for policemen) who has a firearm of any kind.

p.s. Firearms are an absolute no-no for foreigners, and you can go to prison if you are found with one. That's why we carry quarterstaffs. :)

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> one of the highest rates of gun ownership in the world

I have heard this before as well, and like you, don't know anyone who owns or claims to own a gun.
Maybe they include the 'hunting rifles' people upcountry use?


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Thailand 50 out of 230, one above Australia, 30 below New Zealand. England & Wales at 127. Thats as a rate of gun ownership per capita.

In sheer number terms the table lists registered and unregistered. The US with the highest per capita rate by far has a fairly low registered ownership number around 1 million but a staggering 390 million unregistered, compared to India, 61 million, China 49 million and Pakistan 38 million.

Thailand comes in 4th place for registered guns at 6.2 mililon behind India 9.7 million, Brazil 8 million, and Russia 6.6 million. In terms of unregistered gns the US leads by a country mile and more with a host of other usual suspects some way behind. Even on this list Thailand manages 14th place though many countries don;t report such numbers and I'm pretty sure they can't be anything more than a bit of a guess.


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Thailand shooting: Survivors recall ordeal of gun rampage

Terrified residents of the Thai city of Nakhon Ratchasima have been reliving their ordeal after a gunman roamed around a shopping centre on a shooting spree that killed 29 people.

Some barricaded themselves in toilets or hid under tables, frantically searching for information on mobiles.

Jakraphanth Thomma began his rampage on Saturday afternoon, but it only ended with his death 16 hours later.

A vigil for victims has been held on Sunday, with monks chanting prayers.

Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha said the 32-year-old soldier, who had posted images during his attack on social media, appeared to have been motivated by a land dispute.

Another 57 people were injured in the incident, an "unprecedented number in Thailand", the PM said.

What have the survivors been saying?

Jakraphanth began his attack at about 15:30 local time on Saturday (08:30 GMT) at a military camp, but it was his arrival at the Terminal 21 shopping complex that led to an indiscriminate shooting spree.

Many of the victims were killed as he arrived, some in their cars, others outside the complex. Graphic images appeared on social media.

nside Terminal 21, a seven-floor complex designed on an airport theme, terrified shoppers were unsure whether to flee or hide.

Nattaya Nganiem was leaving the complex by car when she heard gunfire and saw one woman "run out from the mall hysterically". She saw a motorcyclist dump his motorcycle and run.

One who saw the gunman, Diaw, told Amarin TV the attacker "was shooting everywhere and his shots were very precise". He aimed at the heads of victims, Diaw said, adding that one of his colleagues was killed.

Up on the fourth floor, Chanathip Somsakul, 33, barricaded himself into the women's toilets with dozens of others, using cubicle doors to wedge the entrance shut.

They all scoured mobile devices to get information. But he said there was so much information, no-one knew what to believe.

"Everyone was terrified. A friend who works at the mall was talking to a guy in the CCTV control room... he gave us updates on the location of the gunman," he told AFP news agency.

When police arrived at about 21:00, they left in an orderly fashion, but started running when shots rang out.

Charlie Crowson, a teacher of English who lives in Nakhon Ratchasima, told the BBC there were "bodies on the streets" of the normally peaceful city.

He said one of his girlfriend's former students was among those killed in the attack. Jakraphanth was eventually shot dead by the security forces.

At the city morgue on Sunday, Natthawut Karnchanamethee was mourning the loss of his 13-year-old son, Ratchanon Karnchanamethee.

"He's my only son. I allowed him to do anything he wanted to. I never set expectations for him. I only wanted him to be a good person," Mr Natthawut said.

At the vigil on Sunday, 13-year-old Lapasrada Khumpeepong said she and her mother had been cornered in a bathroom at the complex for five hours.

She wrote on a condolence board: "Thank you to those who sacrificed themselves to keep others alive. Without you, we would not be here today."

What have the authorities said about the attack?

Mr Prayuth travelled to Nakhon Ratchasima, also known as Korat, to meet wounded survivors.

The PM said he believed the gunman was involved in a "personal conflict... over a house deal" that involved a relative of his commanding officer, both of whom Jakraphanth shot dead at the military base at the start of his rampage.

Mr Prayuth said: "I hope this is the only one and the last incident, and that it never happens again. No-one wants this to happen. It could be because of this person's mental health in this particular moment."

Forensic experts continue to work at the shopping complex.

Jakraphanth served at Suatham Phithak military camp, about 250km (155 miles) from the capital, Bangkok.

Army sources said he was a sharpshooter and had taken courses on attacks, including the planning of ambushes.

He used social media heavily, including posting pictures of himself with weapons.

Jakraphanth killed another soldier as he stole a military vehicle and weapons - two rifles, one M60 machine gun and 770 rounds of ammunition - from the base.

A Facebook post before the attack read: "Rich from cheating. Taking advantage of other people. Do they think they can spend the money in hell?"

During the attack - and before his Facebook account was taken down - he wrote: "Death is inevitable for everyone."


The issue of how many firearms Thais own is totally irrelevant, since the killer stole his weapons on an Army base. Now the question of how the Thai military secures its weapons is a very different issue. In the US military weapons and ammunition on domestic bases are kept under strict lock and key. 

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1 hour ago, Flashermac said:

The issue of how many firearms Thais own is totally irrelevant, since the killer stole his weapons on an Army base. Now the question of how the Thai military secures its weapons is a very different issue. In the US military weapons and ammunition on domestic bases are kept under strict lock and key. 


However the whole question of military security seems a major concern here, especially when so many seem so enamoured with the "commando" lifestyle. Do all "security" personnel really need to be garbed up like some sort of black ops ninja's in order to feel they are taken seriously? That's pretty insecure.

You have to hope that serious mental health investigations of all people trained as "sharpshooters" or with in depth weapons knowledge and access are now pv'd in depth and certainly any with any kind of debt should be ruled out.

Ought to be illegal to offer any kind of private "loan" outside of a registered financial institution.


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US cities have gone nuts with their SWAT teams and even military style armoured vehicles. What the hell is that all about?


p.s. The latest story is that the colonel's mother-in-law had cheated the soldier out of 300,000 baht in a land sale. She had become very wealthy from her crooked deals and she is the one the killer was talking about when he rambled on about what good would her money do her in hell. But if that's the case, why did he end up killing 29 more people, even hunting down those hiding for safety in the mall and shooting them in the head when he found them? He was killing complete strangers, even school children.




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The motive for the initial impulse is possibly clear to some extent being the bad land deal though the rest of killing seems much less clear. That said I think it would take some seriously heavy duty psycho analysis to uncover how it played out. What is it that drives some people to such an incredible fit of rage that they can commit a murder in the first place? I really can't imagine it. Having been pushed to that point and gone through with it I would guess the brain is in some people super overloaded with all sorts of input and data to the point pure irrationality takes over.


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It turns out the gunman was a member of an ammunition battalion of the 2nd Army Support Command. He wasn't a combat soldier, just a a "bullet counter" (as they are disparagingly nicknamed). Yet there are reports that he was trained in planning ambushes and was totally fascinated with rifle marksmanship. And why was he so homicidal, deliberately hunting down innocent shoppers in the mall and killing them without exception - men, women and children? Surely one of his officers should have noticed he was acting strangely and kept an eye on him. But after all, the distinction between commissioned and enlisted is much greater than in the US Army I served in. Thai Army officers often treat the lower ranks as is they were their personal servants, ordering them to mow their lawns, wash their cars etc.

"Jakrapanth, who was known to be a sharpshooter at the Surathampithak army camp, streamed much of the violence on Facebook Live, as well as making a number of posts on his home page as he ran amok. Some of his messages indicated his deep anger towards the slain commander who became his first victim. Jakrapanth accused his commander, Col Anantaroj Krasae, of cheating him out of commission money, amounting to 50,000 baht, over a house sale. "   - Bangkok Post.

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