On the same day 20 children were gunned down at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT., 22 children at a school in China were stabbed by a mentally ill 36-year-old man.
At approximately 7:40 local time, Min Yingjun entered the Chenpeng Village Primary School in the Guangshan county town of Xinyang and began attacking school children with a knife. Twenty-two children were injured in the attack, along with an unidentified 85-year-old woman. The victims were transported to three area hospitals for treatment. The woman and one of the children received serious injuries to the head and are listed in serious condition according to Xinhuanet.
In 2010 there were three separate attacks at schools in China. In March 2010, eight children were killed and five others were injured when former doctor, Zheng Minsheng, began stabbing children outside an elementary school in Nanping. Two attacks occurred in April of 2010. One involved another former doctor, Yang Jiagin, who stabbed an 8-year-old boy and an 80-year-old woman outside a school in Hepu county. Five kindergarten children were injured when Wang Yonglai broke into a classroom and began attacking the children with a hammer before setting himself on fire.
According to CNN, various security measures were instituted after the attacks, including an increased security presence at schools and a law requiring anyone purchasing a large knife to show their national ID cards.
However, Beijing-based attorney, Chen Wei, told China Daily security at most poor and rural schools are lax, saying:
"Some schools have no gate watchmen or security guards, which has the potential to endanger students. And malicious adults at times will try to get a reaction by attacking children, who tend to be weak and can't really fight back."
As reported by Digital Journal on Friday, 20 children were killed when the son of a kindergarten teacher at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT. stormed into the school armed with two handguns. The suspect entered the kindergarten classroom and shot his mother before targeting the children in her class. The suspect later died of a self inflicted gunshot wound.
Digital Journal also reported that during an address to the nation, President Obama said:
"We are going to have to come together and take meaningful action to stop more incidents like these, regardless of the politics."
The tragedy in Connecticut and the President's remarks have some calling for stiffer gun control laws. However, the violence in China on Friday shows that guns are not always to blame, leaving some pointing to deficiencies in the mental health system as the root of the problem.
Following the China attack, Li Kai, a reporter at the Dahe Daily wrote:
"It's raining in Guangshan now. It must be God weeping for innocent children. I can't understand why the suspect was so cold-blooded."
Lt. Paul Vance, spokesman for the Connecticut State Police, called the scene in Newtown horrific and said "it's heartwrenching for law enforcement and the victim's families."
Friday turned out to be a very bloody and tragic day for school children on opposite sides of the world. Parents, school administrators, law enforcement and government officials are now left to figure out how to better protect children and keep these senseless acts of violence from happening again.