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[Editorial] Shooting Accident and Iron Fence Incident Make Nation Uneasy

[Editorial] Shooting Accident and Iron Fence Incident Make Nation Uneasy

Posted June. 20, 2005 03:01,   


It is a shock that a private soldier fired at random at a frontline guard post, located in Yeoncheon, Gyeonggi, earlier Sunday.

We cannot help being doubtful of the effectiveness of measures for accident prevention military authorities have repeatedly placed emphasis on. How the parents who have their children in the army and their families feel may easily be imagined.

No matter how awful the education and training for private soldiers was, and no matter how the army neglected private soldiers’ lives in the barracks and the atmosphere over the order of rank, nothing can excuse the private soldier who threw a grenade and fired blindly toward his comrades. What have officers and commanders been doing so far?

The actual motive of the crime should be investigated further, but the soldier, who committed such a terrible crime, is said to have habitually been harassed by insulting words and violence by his senior soldiers.

Although military authorities established a guiding principle for soldiers’ basic rights after “the feces incident” at an army recruit training center in January of this year, and directed the military to root out violence, far from being improved, a more terrible accident happened. Suicides as well as violence in the army keep occurring.

Military authorities should not conclude that this was an unforeseen accident committed by an individual. They should recognize serious problems in the army itself.

Minister of National Defense Yoon Kwang-ung made an official statement of apology to the nation once more since the feces incident, but it is not enough. Minister Yoon and the military leadership should take the appropriate responsibility for the accident.

Last weekend, it was revealed rather late that a North Korean soldier was found by residents four days after a soldier in North Korean military uniform passed through the threefold iron railings at the forefront in Cheolwon, Gangwon, to break into a neighboring village.

The North Korean soldier came through the iron fence, which was located three to four kilometers from the place where iron railings were found to have been cut last October.

The nation cannot help feeling uneasy, as our army could not notice that a North Korean soldier passed through the iron fence in the morning, not at night.

That the shooting accident occurred at a frontline guard post where the North Korean army stands only hundreds of meters away, and that an iron fence was passed through again brings concern over a slackening of army discipline and a collapse of national security preparations.

For what have they cried out for reforms of national defense?