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Netherlands Shootings

  • April 11th, 2011
  • Posted by EUEditor

alphen-aan-den-rijn.jpgDutch police have identified the gunman who killed six people near Amsterdam on Saturday, as Tristan van der Vlis, 24, from Alphen aan den Rijn, where the shootings occurred.

The crime has again highlighted once again the social problem of the spread of firearms.

The police say that van der Vlis, a gun fancier, was charged with a firearms possession offence eight years ago, without a conviction, and had permits for five weapons.

On Saturday he used an automatic weapon, as he walked costumed in military camouflage into the shopping area and fired at random targets, before shooting himself dead.

As well as six killed, there are at least ten others hurt, three very seriously.

Children were among the casualties.

gun-profiles1.jpgPrivate possession of automatic weapons is banned in the Netherlands, and like most parts of the European Union the country enjoys peace, with no tradition in the modern era of private citizens going armed.

Problems do erupt with a criminal trade in guns, and intermittent tragedies such as this lone gunman case at Alphen aan den Rijn.

Others like it:- at Winnenden in Germany, in March 2009, when a 17 year-old starfted a shooting rampage at a school, eventually killing 15 people; and before that successive incidents in Finland, on New Year’s Eve 2009 (five dead at Espoo), and school shootings, in 2008 and 2007.

On top of an underground gun trade, New Year’s Eve last year saw police operations under way against terrorist suspects in Copenhagen, London an d Rotterdam, and investigations into a chain of letter-bomb attacks.

“An unabated world trade in small arms and explosives, people and drugs, will have the built-in dynamic to create new markets for mayhem”, said EUAustralia Online, (“2011: More crime, terror, guns?”, 31.12.10). See also: “Bad deeds”, 2.1.10’ “Crime of different kinds”,  23.3.09.


BBC News, London, “Dutch gunman faced weapons probe BBC News”, 10.4.11., (10.4.11).

Erik Klooster, Radio Netherlands, Hilversum, “Dutch town mourns massacre victims”,, (10.4.11).

Le Monde, Paris, “Une fusillade dans un centre commercial aux Pays-Bas …”, (A burst of firing in a Dutch shopping centre …), 10.4.11., (10.4.11).