North Korea slams U.S. on gun violence: ‘Like a malignant tumor hard to cure’


North Korean students in formation as a gun during a gymnastics display in Pyongyang, North Korea in 2007. (AP Photo/Elizabeth Dalziel)

If there’s any nation accustomed to bad press, it’s North Korea. Reporters have recently alleged that Kim Jong Un executed a top deputy with a flamethrower, that his uncle was fed alive to dozens of starving dogs and that North Korean toughs threatened a London barber over an advertisement making fun of their Dear Leader. The United Nations also took a whack at North Korea this year, saying its human rights violations are “without any parallel in the contemporary world.”

Last week, North Korea pushed back, releasing the first of two reports detailing human rights abuses in the United States, which it calls “the world’s worst human right abuser and tundra of a human being’s rights to existence.” North Korea cited racism, poverty, unemployment and surveillance in this “living hell.”

But it left its biggest criticism for a report released Wednesday titled “U.S. Plagued with Serious Gun-related Crimes.” “Gun-related crimes are like a malignant tumor hard to cure as they are rampant in the society as a trend,” the report says. “Due to ceaseless gun-related crimes, people are exposed to constant threat to their safety. They are not free from uneasiness and horror.”

The report mentioned recent shootings at Fort Hood near Killeen, Tex., and another near Kansas City, Mo., where an ex-Klu Klux Klan member shot and killed three people at Jewish facilities. It also lambasted the United States for other recent violence: Earlier this year, a 2-year-old boy killed his 11-year-old sister in Philadelphia. And in Albuquerque, police threw a flash grenade at a homeless man and shot him — a killing later deemed “justified.”

North Korea did not agree. “Even soldiers and policemen who should be responsible for the lives and security of people are involved in these gun-related crimes,” the essay said. “As society is awash with guns, even children brandish guns, causing a series of gun-related crimes.”

North Korea, by contrast, packs less heat. According to Gunpolicy.org, which tabulates international gun statistics, there are only .06 guns per 100 people in North Korea. In all, only 130,000 guns are in civilian hands in a country of 25 million. Meanwhile, in the United States, there are about 100 firearms per 100 people. 

There are any number of possible explanations for this. Guns cost money. North Koreans don’t have a lot of it.

Also, since at least 2009, private gun ownership in North Korea has been banned. According to South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency, the law “aim[ed] to contribute to the guarantee of social safety and the protection of the people’s lives and property by setting up the strict system” on the registration, storage and use of firearms.

After mass shootings such as Fort Hood and Newtown, North Korea’s report on U.S. gun violence strikes a chord. But at least one city is improving: North Korea castigated New York because 1,093 “gun-related crimes” occurred there last year. But the number of shootings in New York has decreased by 32 percent since 2001 and by 20 percent since last year – the lowest number of shootings recorded since the city started keeping track.

It’s not low enough for North Korea. “The U.S. is plagued with all social evils and awash with guns,” Korean Central News Agency says. “So, gun-related crimes take place frequently regardless of time, place and age.”

Here’s the complete release:

U.S. Plagued with Serious Gun-related Crimes.

Pyongyang, May 7 (KCNA) — Serious gun-related crimes occurred in Texas and Kansas, etc. of the U.S., claiming the lives of dozens of people.

At a U.S. military base in Texas State a soldier in his combat fatigue desperately made shooting spree, leaving three persons dead and 16 others wounded. It caused such great chaos that many around the scene of the crime ran about to seek shelters. A similar crime took place in November, 2009, too in this military base, leaving 13 dead and 32 others wounded.

As regards the gun-related crime which occurred in Kansas on April 14, Obama shouted hoarse that such case should not be allowed to occur again as it makes people worry about their safety. But gun-related crimes are like a malignant tumor hard to cure as they are rampant in the society as a trend.

Due to ceaseless gun-related crimes, people are exposed to constant threat to their safety. They are not free from uneasiness and horror. 

In the U.S. 69.3 percent of murders and 41 percent of robberies are gun-related crimes.

The number of guns possessed by individual inhabitants reaches about O.3 billion and over 100 000 people are suffering from gun-related crimes.

In New York in 2013 alone, there occurred 1 093 gun-related crimes.

The U.S. is plagued with all social evils and awash with guns. So, gun-related crimes take place frequently regardless of time, place and age.

Shooting sprees occur at campuses of universities and high schools, department stores and even churches. Due to these crimes, those who are not particularly related to criminals fall victim to them with their grudge unsettled and many people meet grievous deaths.

Even soldiers and policemen who should be responsible for the lives and security of people are involved in these gun-related crimes. For instance, a policeman shot a man living in a tent to death in March last.

As society is awash with guns, even children brandish guns, causing a series of gun-related crimes.

A 2 year-old boy fired a loaded gun at his 11-year old sister on her breast by accident in the bedroom of his parents at a house in Philadelphia City on April 6. A little boy in a city of Georgia State also accidentally shot her 10-year old sister to death on April 4.

As seen above, the U.S. tops the world list of gun-related crimes.

It is quite natural that social uneasiness is growing day by day among Americans due to various crimes including gun-related crimes.

Terrence McCoy is a foreign affairs writer at the Washington Post. He served in the U.S. Peace Corps in Cambodia and studied international politics at Columbia University. Follow him on Twitter here.
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