Today, a gunman entered a cinema in Germany and began shooting and taking hostages. Unfortunately, gun violence is highly prevalent in the world we live in today. With the tragic Orlando mass shooting occurring just a week ago, it is difficult to hear news of yet another public shooting.
Reports say that a masked man took hostages into The Kinopolis cinema in Viernheim, which is located in southwestern Germany. Fortunately, police were able to intervene quickly. Officials stormed into the cinema complex and were able to shoot the gunman dead. No other people were injured during the incident.
— Variety (@Variety) June 23, 2016
At one point, police reports released that they may have injured at least 25 people when they released tear gas into the cinema. No moviegoers have been shot. CNN released this photo on Twitter after news broke of the shooting.
— CNN Breaking News (@cnnbrk) June 23, 2016
The man who attacked the cinema was said to have been carrying a rifle on him at the time to execute the shooting. He has yet to have been identified and a motive has yet to have been determined. The attacker was estimated to be about 18- to 25-years-old. Bernd Hochstädter, a spokesman for the police department, made a statement after the incident.
“We have no indications regarding the motive, but we can say with certainty that the attack did not have an Islamist motive.”
The multiplex was showing four current U.S. films: The Jungle Book, Alice Through the Looking Glass, Angry Birds and Central Intelligence. It was not clear which theater the assailant specifically entered the cinema around 3 p.m. on Thursday. The attacker entered the cinema with a gun and an ammunition belt, firing at least four shots, and barricading himself and other hostages inside.
Germany has not seen terrorist attacks on the same scale as France or Belgium, but they are aware of the possibility of becoming a target. Officials do not suspect that this shooting was an act of terrorism.
Witness stated that the man seemed confused and appeared as though he may have been struggling with some mental issues.
One of the hostages from the cinema shooting in Germany earlier today gave a statement about the words the shooter said to he and his friend.
“The perpetrator surprised us on the toilet. He hissed to us: ‘Lie down if you care for your lives!’ We were around 17 hostages.”
Officials say there were only around 30 moviegoers and six employees at the cinema at the time of the shooting incident.
Although mass gun violence is a majorly prevalent issue in America right now, we can see that it can and does affect people all over the world. The number of shootings has only gotten worse over the years in America. In Germany however, despite today’s shooting incident, the number of gun crime incidents have declined by almost a quarter since 2010.
But we can also see that, even with Germany’s stricter laws, it’s ultimately the people that kill other people with guns, so it will be impossible to eliminate all gun violence. Today’s unfortunate event does not go to say that Germany’s new gun laws are not improving the safety and security of their country.
Germany has one of the highest weapons-per-head rates in the world, but at the same time, also one of the lowest gun homicide rates in Europe: a death rate of 0.05 per 1,000 people, compared with 3.34 in the U.S. That is a huge difference.
Changes in German gun laws require individuals under the age of 25 to undergo a psychiatric evaluation with a trained counselor before they are able to even apply for a firearms license, let alone purchase a firearm.
Police and the government cannot stop or prevent every violent crime from happening. Luckily, they were able to storm this cinema shooting in Germany and kill the gunman before any other innocent bystanders could be harmed.
[Photo by Alexander Scheuber/Stringer/Getty Images]