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Sunday, June 8, 2008

Making Sense of the Tokyo Attacks

Mourners and gawkers line the street where a 25-year old man drove a van into the crowd and began stabbing people in Tokyo yesterday.

Water pools on the streets where emergency workers washed away the blood of the wounded, scrambling under makeshift, green tarps to revive the random stabbing victims. The young man said he was "tired of life" and came to Tokyo because he wanted to kill people.

Japan is not known for its violent crime, but such attacks have risen in recent years. As we reported earlier, murder seems to be on the rise and, in particular, knife attacks similar to the one above have become more prevalent. This is the third such attack this year.

No one yet knows what motivated this young man's attack on random passersby, but while it may turn out to be the lone actions of a deranged mind, others suggest sociological factors as the driving force.

Japan is known to be intolerant of failure and "outsiders." Those who do not work or try to fit-in are often subjected to cruelty and shunning by the Japanese society, and recent economic changes have widened the gap between the Haves and Have-Nots. Many are saying increasing sociological pressures are causing these violent outbursts.

And it is important to point-out that sociological factors are very real and have a very real influence on the individual. In the town in which I live, I am the outsider and the pressure to fit-in can be horrendous. Further, it gave them "the right" to imprison me, deny my Civil Rights, issue death threats, and harass me to the point that I am considering legal actions! In one sense, I understand that I simply do not "fit-in" here and this is the ignorant, unwashed masses' way of telling me so; on the other, if I could afford to move somewhere else right away, I certainly would have done so by now!

In Decatur County, TN, I have been spit at; sneered at; pulled over numerous times for no reason (they were "checking all cars for registration," even though they only stopped me, had no roadblock, and were gone when I came back through a few minutes later); I was entrapped and arrested (the officer told me he could not talk to me unless I came outside and he wasn't leaving until I did, when I complied, he arrested me for "public drunk") and had the charges changed no less than four times; people have intentionally cut in front of me in lines at the store, stood in front of the meat counter and refused to move, refused to wait on me; the list goes on.

One day, a state trooper saw a friend and I walking into a store, so he literally pulled a U-turn in the middle of the street, stopping traffic in both directions, sped into the parking lot and screeched to a halt, leapt from the car and ran into the store, where he pulled his gun and asked the cashier if "there is a problem here"! Everyone in the store was shocked and frightened. After the cashier assured him there was no problem and the state trooper had reholstered his gun, he continued to stare us down until we'd finished out purchase and left the store.

I would be lying if I said I had never thought of just cutting-loose and lashing-out in a fury!

The difference is that I have a lot to lose. Certainly not much in the way of finances or the like, but I enjoy my life and (online) lifestyle, as well as my freedom; I value what little I have more than vengeance. But it isn't always easy to hold it all together.

Now consider the young and disenfranchised who feels he has nothing to lose - and, more often than not, doesn't! Even if the individual is not "deranged" chemically or genetically, such continuous pressure and subjugation to abuse certainly leaves its mark.

© C Harris Lynn, 2008

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