BANGKOK: Public anger and disappointment over the role of the army and the government has soared over the recent mass shooting spree in Nakhon Rat-chasima.
They were mainly upset over the way the situation was handled, said reports.
According to the Bangkok Post, the backlash could be over the army’s failure in carrying out its duty to protect the people in the incident which left 30 dead and 58 injured.
A lawyer, Prakasit Sangkra, said the army should have taken stringent steps to prevent an insider from entering the camp and seizing weapons from the armoury.
“I think a tight security system would have stopped criminals from both inside and outside.”
Some said the anger stemmed from a sense of hopelessness at the army and the government.
A woman said she felt sad by the huge loss of life and enraged at the response from some of the leaders.
“I might be too pessimistic, but I don’t believe in the army chief's vow to bring transparency to the barracks because there is no reason why those in power will make sacrifices for their subordinates,” she said.
Phichai Ratnatilaka Na Bhuket, a political scientist at the National Institute of Development Administration said the incident revealed the abuse of power that often takes place in the army, and that under authoritarian rule, unethical superiors could take advantage and bully those below them.
“When the subordinates can't rely on mechanisms to seek justice, they have no choice but to use violence, as the gunman did,” he told the Bangkok Post.
He said the public had directed their anger and dissatisfaction at the government because it evolved from the now-defunct National Council for Peace and Order.
Meanwhile, Surachart Bamrungsuk, a political scientist at Chulalongkorn University said that besides dissatisfaction over the fact that weapons were stolen from a military camp with relative ease, the reactions and responses of the prime minister, who is also the defence minister, and the army chief were seen as insensitive.
In other countries, there would be an official announcement of condolences or resignations.
However, those who are showing strong dissatisfaction with the government are the same people who have already criticised the government on many issues, Surachart said.
“It’s the accumulation of people’s feelings towards the government.
“The people think the government is not capable of handling problems, including the economy. This is just yet another confirmation.
“The army chief will be able to prove that what he said is true when actions have been taken.”
He added that the army chief could have stopped problematic projects like the property deal believed to be the shooter’s motive.