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Gun laws, mental problems caused tragedy in Virginia - Russian experts

Bad laws and the stresses of the modern world are the main reasons for mass murders like Monday's mass shooting at a U.S. college in Virginia, Russian experts said Tuesday.
MOSCOW, April 17 (RIA Novosti) - Bad laws and the stresses of the modern world are the main reasons for mass murders like Monday's mass shooting at a U.S. college in Virginia, Russian experts said Tuesday.

On Monday, the United States experienced its bloodiest mass shooting ever when an armed assailant killed at least 32 and wounded over 20 on the campus of the Virginia Polytechnic Institute before killing himself.

"In my opinion, these repeated cases of completely unprovoked shootings in the United States reflect some sort of a systematic collapse of American legislation, particularly involving the right to own guns," Sergei Oznobishchev, the director of the Russian institute for strategic evaluation and analysis, said.

The expert said that the most recent U.S. tragedy should be an issue of concern not only to Americans, but to Russians as well, who must draw the necessary conclusions in order to prevent similar incidents in Russia.

"If firearms in Russia were to become as widespread as they are in the United States, we would see similar tragedies," he said.

Oznobishchev said the modern world is hard on people with psychological frailties, and their mental health problems often deteriorate as the result of everyday conflicts involving family, work and other issues.

"American civilization is so ubiquitous and overwhelming that it simply depresses ordinary people," he said. "When combined with the constitutional right to bear arms conceived by the Founding Fathers of the American Constitution," the results can be disastrous, he said.

The expert also said that tragedies like the one in Virginia, which shocked not only the United States but the rest of the world, as well, would probably reoccur in the future.

"I am afraid they could continue. People who pick up firearms often take revenge not on any specific individual, but rather on the whole world," the Russian expert said. "Such cases are reflections of powerless human beings caught up in a huge and often heartless technocratic society."

Viktor Kremenyuk, a deputy director of the Institute of U.S. Canada Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, agreed with Oznobishchev, saying that such tragedies are likely the result of psychological frustrations, but added that Russians have the wrong impression about the easy availability of firearms in the United States.

"It is a myth, which is popular among us [in Russia]," he said. "It is nonsense that one can just walk into a shop and buy a gun. The procedure is fairly complicated."

Kremenyuk agreed, saying that most of the mass shootings in the United States have resulted from the actions of people with psychological disturbances.

"Modern society has a lot of stresses and strains, and immature minds and souls often cannot bear up under them, and as a result breakdowns happen, followed by tragedy," the expert said.

Shootings in academic facilities occur with alarming regularity in the United States, including the 1999 Columbine High School shooting in Littleton, Colorado, which claimed the lives of 12 students and one teacher, when two teenagers went on a shooting spree before turning the guns on themselves.

Prior to Monday's rampage, America's deadliest mass shooting took place in 1991 in Killen, Texas, when George Hennard drove his pickup truck into a cafeteria and shot 23 people before killing himself.

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