The radical Islamicist problem in southern Thailand is so bad that the authorities are continuing to arm and train school teachers.
“More than 1,700 people have been killed across Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat — the only Muslim-majority provinces in this otherwise peaceful, tourist-friendly Buddhist country.
Among them was a teacher gunned down at his blackboard in July as his 4th graders watched in shock, and a Buddhist art teacher clubbed by a village mob in May until her skull shattered.
Teachers may be targets, officials say, because they are symbols of the central government’s authority, or be taken hostage to be traded for captured insurgents, or because the militants want to do away with secular schools, sending the message that only Islamic schools — which have been spared violence — are safe.”
“While some worry that a teacher’s gun could make him or her more of a target, or end up in a student’s hands, the crisis is so acute that there is little debate about arming teachers.
Shooting courses started in late 2004 but have taken on new urgency since the shocking murder of the 4th-grade teacher July 24 at the Ban Bue Reng primary school in a Narathiwat village.”
Read the full article here: Teachers in Thailand under fire — and learning to shoot back
What a shitty position to be in – crappy salary, low standard of living in an impoverished region, and surrounded by religious nutjobs who can mob together and tear you limb from limb at any given time. These teachers have my respect, big time. The irony of practicing Buddhists being armed with Austrian firepower is offset only by the seriousness of the situation.
Luckily, Nam and I will be living in the northeast of Thailand, far removed from the current problems – and, I might add, most probable targets for terrorist attacks. With things going the way they are now, it’s just a matter of time before something along the lines of the Bali nightclub bombing is repeated in either Phuket or Bangkok. Even so, Nam has friends both on the police force and the army, and we already have dates to start practice on the firing ranges set up – mostly just for fun, but also in case we are lucky enough to get a permit or unofficial waiver to own a firearm. I have a feeling that if things ever really go south over there, we’ll want one around.