By LM — On 6 October, 34-year former Police Sergeant Panya Khamrab violently killed 36 people, including 22 children at a nursery in Thailand. In the three hours of horror, the policeman stabbed, shot, slashed, and vehicle-rammed his victims. This is the worst massacre witnessed in Thailand’s recent history.
Authorities highlight the murderer’s drug use.
In line with early reports from Thailand, Minister Shanmugam made a post referring to the perpetrator’s use of methamphetamine pills. He then went further to condemn the wide availability and easy accessibility of drugs in Thailand.
Justifying Singapore’s tough stance on drug traffickers, the minister also questioned the lack of initiative by death penalty activists to host candlelight vigils for the victims.
“The silence, of narco liberals and apologists for drug traffickers, is deafening. Some are probably hoping that the link between drugs and the violence will be overlooked. And as far as I know, these activists have not held any candle light vigil for the children who have been massacred.”Minister Shanmugam
Kirsten Han reminds us that we should not immediately link the massacre to the perpetrator’s past drug use.
In response, death penalty activist Kirsten Han criticized the minister for “preying on others’ grief and plundering their sorrow for self-interest”. Citing media reports, she points out that initial investigations did not indicate that the killer performed his acts under the influence of drugs.
Moreover, it is weed that is easily accessible, not methamphetamine. This seems to be a very purposeful conflation by the minister.
To Kirsten Han, it is evident that the minister is just trying to make himself and his agenda relevant. He is making unfounded exaggerations – not every drug user is a murderer or a psychopath. He is also dividing the society by making everyone see drug users as inherently dangerous.