Monday, July 25, 2016

19 killed and more wounded in a mass stabbing in Japan.

Police stand outside the center for the disabled where the stabbing occurred. Reuters. 

19 people were killed and 45 more were wounded during a mass stabbing at a center for the disabled in Sagamihara, Japan. Reuters. A 26 year old former employee named Satoshi Uematsu was arrested for the attack. The attack occurred at 2:30 AM local time and the attacker used a knife. No motive has been determined yet, but police say the suspect said he wanted to rid the world of disabled people. No connection to terrorism is suspected. Japan rarely has this kind of mass violence. 

My Comment:
Well, the summer of mass violence continues, this time in Japan. It seems like every couple of days I am writing on this blog about some kind of mass attack that leaves several people dead. Most of those attacks are terrorism related but in this case it's clearly not. This just seems like a disgruntled worker going nuts to me, and no terror links are expected to be found. 

Even though this case has no links to terrorism, I wonder if the recent attacks by ISIS and other groups doesn't have an effect. I mentioned in this mornings post that people that have no interest in Islam could be seeing these attacks and taking inspiration from them. Violence could be memetic and as news coverage spreads of mass carnage, others may be inspired to kill when they realize how easy it is. The idea that it's very simple to kill large amounts of people in a short time is more popular and common then any other time in recent history... 

And this attack sounds like it was very easy. If there is one place you would expect nobody to stop you it would be a disabled facility. Almost everyone there was probably either unable to physically defend themselves, or even run away, or were unable to comprehend what was going on. I am not sure if this center was for just the physically disabled or for mentally disabled people as well, but either group would be extremely vulnerable. I talk a lot about soft targets but this is about as soft as a target can get. These people were helpless. 

Of course attacking a bunch of people completely incapable of defending themselves is about as evil as you can get. I understand that the suspect may have been upset with disabled people. That's understandable. From what I understand, working with disabled people is a thankless, difficult, low pay and low status job. I know that is true in the United States but I am not sure what the situation is in Japan. They have a very different culture there. Still, none of that justifies an attack like this. 

I also think there are cultural reasons why the death toll is so high. I think if a similar kind of mass stabbing happened here in the United States the death toll and injuries would not be so high. My guess is that our orderlies would have fought back. Our police also have more experience with these kinds of things and would have arrived quickly and arrested or killed the attacker quickly. 

Japan just isn't used to this kind of violence. Mass attacks like this are rare in Japan. Indeed, violence of any kind is rare. They live in a high trust, low conflict society where people are polite and disgruntled people tend to kill themselves without trying to take anyone with them. As such, the Japaneses are especially vulnerable to these kinds of attacks. They don't think it can happen there, but this attack proves that it can. 

It also goes to show that these kinds of attacks can happen anywhere. I mentioned in the last post that gun control didn't stop the attacks in Germany and France. Well, Japan has even more extreme gun control then either of those countries and still Uematsu was able to kill almost 20 people. You don't need a gun to kill a lot of people. You just need a large gathering of people that aren't willing or able to fight back. 

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