Fears mount over 'copycat' crimes

Fears mount over 'copycat' crimes

Experts stress need for more 'social bonding'

Relatives of one of the two policemen killed in the Terminal 21 shooting spree in Nakhon Ratchasima grieve at the royally sponsored funeral rite at Wat Tri Thotsathep in Bangkok on Monday. The two policemen are Pol Capt Trakul Tha-asa and Pol Snr Sgt Maj Petcharat Kamchadpai. (Photo by Apichit Jinakul)
Relatives of one of the two policemen killed in the Terminal 21 shooting spree in Nakhon Ratchasima grieve at the royally sponsored funeral rite at Wat Tri Thotsathep in Bangkok on Monday. The two policemen are Pol Capt Trakul Tha-asa and Pol Snr Sgt Maj Petcharat Kamchadpai. (Photo by Apichit Jinakul)

Concerns are growing that the Nakhon Ratchasima mass shooting could lead to copycat behaviour, with experts insisting that "social bonding" is needed help reduce the chance of the violence being repeated.

Pol Lt Col Krisanaphong Poothakool, an associate professor in criminology at Rangsit University, said there may be a number of copycat criminals in the making.

"With the unprecedented number of mass shootings, the US has examined the social history of perpetrators and found that they study details of crimes reported in the media," he told the Bangkok Post in a phone interview.

However, the academic said people with strong family or community relationships or religious faith are less likely to violate the law, citing the social bond theory.

"Our society is different from those in the West because we often keep in touch with neighbours. For instance, many people in their 30s or 40s still live with their parents.

"A student I teach studied the relationship between eight convicts on death row and religion and found that despite being Buddhists, they never took part in any religious ceremonies.

"According to the social bonding theory, had they adopted religious practices, they would have been less likely to have committed their crimes," he said.

Benjaporn Tuntasood, a child and adolescent psychiatrist, also said on her Facebook page that parents can teach their children to deal with negative emotions without causing damage.

"Parents should lead by example by not using violence to solve problems. They should encourage children to enjoy nature and connect with the world and spend less time viewing screens showing violent scenes," she said.

Meanwhile, on the streets of Bangkok, Sukanya Kanta, a food vendor in her 40's in Lat Phrao district of Bangkok, said the gold shop heist in Lop Buri last month could have inspired the Nakhon Ratchasima shooting rampage.

"It was shocking and cruel. People were following [the gunman's] posts on Facebook and they were very sensational. I think the incident in Nakhon Ratchasima could have egged on people to imitate the violence in order to seek public attention," she said.

Pattarika Aoi-Un, a 29-year-old kindergarten teacher in the Rama II area of Bangkok, said a successive wave of shooting sprees might desensitise different groups of people to violence.

She said reckless media reports may allow criminals to plan their attacks in advance.

"Also, pranksters may take pleasure in frightening people. Frequent exposure to scenes of grisly murder carried in media reports can make viewers become less concerned and less unnerved by violence," she said.

Sarun "Dungtrin" Maitreevetch, a writer, posted on his Facebook that "[criminals] pity themselves and hate the world. When signs emerge [that push the criminals to their limit], they come bursting out".


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