Connect with us


Opinion: Keeping Phuket’s guns out of range

Legacy Phuket Gazette



PHUKET: The Phuket Gazette joins the rest of the island in extending its condolences to the family of young Scotsman Liam Colven, who died at a newly-opened shooting range in Thalang from a gunshot to the head last weekend (story here).

News of the death has resonated in the social media as the story touches on so many relevant issues here in Phuket, including the widely-perceived, yet statistically unproven, high incidence of foreigners who choose the island as a ‘last resort’ destination to end their lives.

Detailed accounts of what specifically led to Mr Colven’s death have yet to be revealed as this goes to press. By all accounts, it followed a heated telephone argument that sent him in search of a place ‘to shoot’ – a wish quickly and easily obliged to by a local taxi driver in Thalang, home to the island’s newest and growing number of tourist-oriented shooting ranges.

Reaction among older readers is almost unanimous in recognizing that the greatest tragedy is the young age at which Liam’s life ended: just 21. Many of us remember the intense emotions that engulfed us when we were of a similar age, when a broken heart or similar negative passion could feel so overwhelming as to make life itself seem no longer worth living.

Most of us who have lived through similar experiences see in hindsight that they ultimately make us stronger, more insightful and wiser in the long run, deepening our appreciation for this inconceivably precious gift of sentient existence – even if it comes at the stiff admission price of being aware of one’s mortality.

The issue of terminally-ill patients in chronic pain choosing to end their own lives, as well as to have such decisions respected and supported by society, are often understood, but the Gazette deeply laments deaths like this one among young people apparently acting on impulse alone.

As for the proliferation of tourist-oriented shooting ranges on the island, we hope this tragedy will at least prompt authorities to review their role in the island’s tourism industry. Do we really want island roads lined with huge billboards filled with graphic images promoting gun use?

Further, is it wise to allow such facilities on a tourist island that has at least once been linked to the ongoing insurgency in the Deep South, where more than 6,000 people have been killed over the past decade and the sight of soldiers carrying automatic assault rifles is all some school children have ever known?

We need to carefully consider how well these shooting ranges really mesh with the oft-stated goal of attracting ‘quality tourists’, as well as the wider safety ramifications of handing over firearms and ammunition to each and every tourist who asks for them, no questions asked.

After all, in this day and age, it is far from inconceivable that the next tragedy could involve a customer turning his rented weapon on fellow shooters, with even more horrific results.


Get more from The Thaiger

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS
👋 Have your say on our Thailand forums
🔔 Subscribe to our daily email newsletter
📺 Subscribe / Join YouTube for daily shows
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🐦 FOLLOW us on Twitter
📷 FOLLOW us on Instagram


Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Thailand26 mins ago

Alleged drug dealer busted in Chon Buri, police seize drugs and gun

Crime2 hours ago

Nearly 200 police have been found guilty of misconduct this year

Thailand2 hours ago

Legalising prostitution, Beautiful Temples, Thai Taxi’s | Thaiger Bites | Ep. 27

Sponsored4 hours ago

St. Andrews International School, joins global event for children’s wellbeing

Welcome back to Thailand!

Thaiger is getting behind local businesses for the restart of tourism in Thailand - up to 50% discounts across all advertising packages!

Thailand2 hours ago

Army ranger suspected of killing his wife and mother-in-law surrenders to authorities in Songkhla

Thailand3 hours ago

6 dead and 30 provinces affected by topical storm ‘Dianmu’

Thailand4 hours ago

Kanchanaburi experiences earthquake so minor hardly anyone notices it

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Thailand5 hours ago

Thailand Top Stories | Emergency decree extended, Quarantine waved | September 28

Thailand5 hours ago

Thailand’s reopening divided into 4 phases

Thailand5 hours ago

Thailand Restrictions waived Nov 1, Pornography law amendments | Good Morning Thailand | Ep. 97

Coronavirus World6 hours ago

Restrictions tightened in Singapore amid surge in Covid-19 infections

Thailand6 hours ago

Pattaya mayor confirms Pattaya reopening postponed to November

Coronavirus (Covid-19)6 hours ago

Thai PM hit with 50-million-baht lawsuit from angry restaurant operators

Coronavirus (Covid-19)6 hours ago

Tuesday Covid Update: 9,489 new cases and 129 deaths

Coronavirus Vaccines7 hours ago

Thailand in talks to procure 120 million Covid-19 vaccine doses for 2022

Thailand7 hours ago

Central Thailand told to prepare for possible flooding

Thailand2 weeks ago

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism7 months ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism7 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism7 months ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand9 months ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand9 months ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand9 months ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand9 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand9 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11