By now, it is clear that a magic bullet called out Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) sympathizers to vote. The voter turnout and the election results clearly indicate its effect. Even the perpetrator knew he was going to make a huge headline with the public attack of Sean Lien (連勝文) on the eve of the elections.
Reportedly, the 9mm handgun he used is a Swiss military weapon, very powerful in terms of short-distance penetration. The suspected perpetrator tried hard to contact Chen Hung-yuan’s (陳鴻源) campaign director, climbed onto the stage, grabbed the victim’s head and apparently pulled the trigger with only minimum damage to show for it. That outcome was certainly one in a million.
If the alleged perpetrator had fired from a couple of meters away, nobody knows how Lien’s “luck” would have played out.
Also, if an incident like this were to happen in the US, there would be a press conference from the hospital and the police department within a couple of hours. The information does not belong exclusively to the government, hospital or victim’s family. The voters and democracy are victims, too. They are entitled to know the truth.
Obviously, the lack of transparency and precise information caused a lot of speculation and the government seems to have stayed with this trend, triying to gauge the response of the public and play down the incident.
No matter, this was a plot with huge political implications. The government and both parties have to address and investigate the issue and come back with a complete report for the public to peruse. Democracy has been severely tarnished and Taiwan will be reduced to the role of banana republic if gangsters are alllowed to openly shoot political figures on stage, while the mastermind gets away.
Meeting people’s needs
I would like to respond to Bruno Walther’s letter (Letter, Nov. 26, page 8) regarding my article “Placing facts back in Suhua debate” (Nov. 19, page 8).
Politicians in the areas that would be affected by improvements to the Suhua Highway have only presented two simple choices — to go ahead with construction or not. Under such circumstances, it is easy to understand why people living in those areas seem to prefer construction.
Be that as it may, most people living in those areas would probably still only use the highway once or twice a year. Comparing this low level of usage with the exceedingly high cost of construction, it impossible not to conclude that it is not a rational choice.
If it were possible to lay out alternative options that would require the same spending or less, such as increasing the frequency of trains running between Suao and Hualien or extending the short-haul road network, these may be of greater practical benefit to local people.
In that case, those people would not necessarily continue to support the Suhua Highway improvement construction project.
When it comes to choices about major construction projects, what would really be of benefit to the public would be for politicians to be more flexible and show greater consideration for what people really want and need.