Side 1 :
Have gun, will shoot: rage and the man in the US
From L K Sharma
DH News Service WASHINGTON, May 12
A customer enters a fast-food outlet and asks for a cup of coffee. He tastes the coffee, points a gun towards the young man who served him, shoots him and leaves the store.
An elderly man flaunts two semiautomatic weapons, kills one person and injures another in a seven-hour attack in a business school before he is shot at by the special police and arrested.
The two incidents are so much part of normal life that they did not make a splash in the national dailies. These are being reported here only because both involved Indians who had made America their home.
The incidents have nothing to do with drugs, robbery or racketeering that call for the use of firearms by criminals. Just stray cases of violence. Not unusual, because America often sees individuals suffering a breakdown. Firearms take thousands of lives every year. Currently, the great gun debate is on and the pro and anti-gun control lobbies are fighting it out.
In the fast-food outlet, an Indian was the victim. In the business school, the perpetrator of the crime is an Indian. The fast-food employee was a recent immigrant whose wife was expecting a baby and when the telephone rang in his fatherâ€™s home in India, the parents thought it was to announce the birth of the new baby.
The business school tragedy involved a lonely bachelor of 62 who had left Calcutta in 1969. Biswanath Halder became a US citizen after an 11-year wait. He settled down in Cleveland in 1996 to continue his extraordinary career that had taken him from stockbroking to selling real estate. He took initial army training in India after having acquired a degree in electrical engineering from the University of Calcutta.
Halder got a masterâ€™s degree in business administration from the Case Western Reserve University in 1999 but continued to take classes perhaps to make use of the computer lab to which he seemed to have been addicted.
Why did this 62-year-old Indian on that fateful day decide to arm himself, wear a World War II army helmet and a bulletproof vest and stage a standoff in a building, trapping 93 people for seven hours? It could have been meant to settle a score with a university employee he suspected had hacked his website! According to the The Plain Dealer newspaper, Biswanath Halderâ€™s website was his life. It contained his business plans and pleas for social justice.
Then, three years ago, a prankster hacked into his computer and erased it all. Halder flooded the university, the FBI and Capitol Hill with complaints. He suspected a computer lab assistant whom he sued. His complaint was dismissed by court. He called the lab assistant â€œan evil manâ€.
The Plain Dealer reports that there were plenty of contradictions in the life of Biswanath Halder. â€œCourt records, interviews and Halderâ€™s writings show that the bachelor led a life of awkward isolation white creating an Internet persona of a budding millionaire and social activist, even a saviour of the world.â€
To cut the long story short, back in Calcutta, Halderâ€™s strange ways would have been spotted in time by a concerned friend, neighbour or relation. Perhaps something would have been done about the lonely 62-year-old. In America, he had to be stopped by a SWAT commando unit which commands formidable firepower and paramilitary expertise.
An old man using a gun does not make as big news as a child doing the same. In America, it is not easy for a President to question the citizenâ€™s right to bear firearms. And yet, President Clinton had to make an adverse remark when a six-year-old boy shot dead a girl of the same age in front of their classmates.
The American gun lobby says if children grow up with guns in the house they get used to them and know how to handle them. Biswanath Halderâ€™s misfortune was that he did not grow up in America.
Side 2 :
A man accused of opening fire at a university business school was charged Monday with killing a graduate student and trying to kill two other people.
Biswanath Halder, 62, was to be arraigned Tuesday on charges of aggravated murder and attempted aggravated murder, said police spokeswoman Nancy Dominik. He remained in jail, and authorities said he did not have a lawyer Monday.
Halder is accused of opening fire inside the Peter B. Lewis Building at Case Western Reserve University on Friday, killing Norman Wallace, 30, of Youngstown. Nearly 100 people were trapped inside the building during the seven-hour standoff, hiding inside offices, classrooms and closets until a SWAT team and the FBI got them out.
Halder had filed a lawsuit in 2001 accusing a university employee of deleting information from his Web site. A lawyer said the computer lab employee, Shawn Miller, was present during the shootings and standoff but was never directly threatened by Halder.
Miller's lawyer, Jennifer Schwartz, said he was part of a group escorted out near the end of the standoff.
"Obviously, the whole experience was very traumatic for him," Schwartz said Monday. But she said she didn't want to speculate on whether the legal battle was the reason for the shootout.
Halder's lawsuit was dismissed. It resulted partly from a message posted in the guest book of his Web site, which describes itself as a network devoted to resources for natives of India living outside of the country. According to the suit, the message described Halder as "a moron" and said he had "been kicked out of every lab on campus and everyone makes fun of him."
Halder blamed Miller for writing the message and accused him of deleting information from the Web site.
Schwartz said the two "had had some interactions" in the business school's computer lab, but Miller had nothing to do with the message or changes to the Web site.
Halder wanted $1 billion in damages in his lawsuit and complained to police and university officials that Miller was an "evil man" and a criminal. As a result, Miller had filed a defamation lawsuit against Halder.
The Peter B. Lewis Building is a $62 million design of architect Frank Gehry and is filled with twisting corridors that complicated Halder's capture.
Side 3 :
Charges were filed Monday afternoon against 62-year-old Biswanath Halder of Cleveland for the shootings Friday at Case Western Reserve University.
Halder is charged with aggravated murder and two counts of attempted aggravated murder. He is due in Cleveland Municipal Court Tuesday morning.
He was arrested at the Peter B. Lewis building on the Case campus after a seven-hour stand-off with police and federal agents. Dead is 30-year-old Norman Wallace of Youngstown.
Halder, a native of Calcutta, India, is a former grad student in the university's Weatherhead School of Management.
One man inside the building at Case Western Reserve University during Friday's shooting had several legal problems with the accused gunman.
But the attorney for 30-year-old Shawn Miller says he was never directly threatened.
Attorney Jennifer Schwartz says Miller was sued by Halder and he filed a counterclaim for defamation. She says she doesn't know whether those problems led to the shootings.
She says Miller was part of a group led out of the building near the end of the seven-hour standoff.
The filed complaint
1 ) American Imperialist denies being killed by poor underappreciated Indian
2) Poor lab employee almost killed by worthless grumpy old Indian
3) Man has legal issues with other man. First man tries to get even , fails and gets arrested.