Shooting spree in Belgrade: how to keep schools safe?

On 3 May a thirteen-year-old boy opened fire in his school in Belgrade, killing eight pupils and a security guard. The following day the country was rocked by another shooting spree in which eight people died. The tragedies prompted Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić to announce "an almost complete disarmament" of private citizens in his country. Serbia is one of the countries with the highest rate of weapons per capita.

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Cyprus Mail (CY) /

There will be no mass disarmament

Columnist Gwynne Dyer does not believe Vučić's promises. He writes in the Cyprus Mail:

“Vučić is just saying what he thinks people want to hear right now. When he worked for the monster Slobodan Milošević and Serbs wanted to hear that the massacres their own people were committing in Bosnia, Croatia and Kosovo were justified, that's what he told them. His own history shows that his words and his deeds rarely match. There will be no mass disarmament in Serbia: that's not how Vučić plans to spend his political capital.”

Politika (RS) /

Goal should be fewer police, not more

Something is rotten in today's Serbia, Politika columnist Boško Jakšić warns:

“Now the Internet and Western society are to blame. Once again we are wonderful - and blameless. ... I was shocked by how many young people on Tiktok have called Kosta a 'hero': more than 30,000. The solution is not to increase the number of police officers at schools, as the politicians want. Rather, better conditions should be created so that police don't have to be in schools in the first place. The President of the Republic and the Mayor of Belgrade should have shown up at Cvetni Square. They should have silently lit a candle and laid a wreath. That would have sent a stronger message.”

Novi list (HR) /

More police would only help in the short term

Novi list calls for more humanity:

“The Serbian government announced that it would be stepping up the police presence in the streets. This is a reasonable immediate response to events. But it is absolutely not a good idea in the longer term. The best response in such cases, especially when young people are involved, is to introduce more humanity into society. Our high-speed lifestyles and the lockdowns during the pandemic have impaired communication and increasingly atomised society. ... Talk with people, listen to your children, show more understanding for each other. That is true prevention.”

Peščanik (RS) /

The government's responsibility

Pešćanik speculates whether the shooting is a symptom of the political climate:

“The question 'why now'? makes us wonder to what extent the current decade-old government of new radicals might somehow be to blame. ... This government is undoubtedly fuelled by hatred and violence. It turns every disagreement into a conflict simply to justify the use of violence. ... All this violence at the top has a trickle-down effect in the hierarchy of relations. And yet no one could maintain that there is a direct causal connection between our awful government and the mass shooting in the school. .. The killer is only thirteen, and the influence of the wider environment on his personality is certainly not direct.”

Spotmedia (RO) /

Psychologists not bag searches

Romanian Interior Minister Lucian Bode is considering whether to introduce airport-style metal detectors into Romanian schools. Sportmedia scoffs at the idea:

“Instead of investing in detectors and security gates, the government should employ a horde of psychologists, at least one per school, depending on how many children there are. Professionals who can observe the children in the breaks, or in sports lessons. ... A trained eye is sure to spot isolated, outcast children and groups of bullies and their victims. ... The psychologists should have the right to ring the parents and if necessary the social services too, who in turn should be able to take make a radical intervention if a child's development is at risk.”