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Tell Me Why..

Places where it's virtually impossible to get a gun, still can have unanswerable problems with violence.

TOKYO - Police examined e-mails and cell phone messages and investigated reports of a playground dispute in a search Wednesday for the motive behind the killing of a 12-year-old girl who was slashed with a box-cutter by a classmate in southern Japan.

On Tuesday, the 11-year-old killer led Satomi Mitarai to an empty classroom during their lunch hour, slit her neck and arms with a box-cutter, and left her to bleed to death.

Mitarai's body was discovered in the third-floor classroom by a teacher after the suspect returned smeared in blood, said principal Eiko Desaki.

Local media reports told the story of a friendship between two classmates - who regularly left notes on each other's home pages and used text messaging - suddenly going awry.

The murder has appalled Japan, where a dramatic spike in juvenile delinquency and school violence in the past decade has shaken deeply held beliefs that the country is largely immune to the violence of Europe and the United States.

Mystifying violence from teenagers is nothing new, it's just relatively new in Japan.

For some reason it brought to mind the bizarre 1979 shooting spree of 16 year old Brenda Spencer who was targeting the elementary school across the street from her house. From the Time reporters notebooks:

The explanation was incredibly casual. "I don't like Mondays," Brenda Spencer, 16, told reporters by telephone as she held off San Diego police for six hours. But who was she trying to kill as she repeatedly fired a .22-cal. rifle at Cleveland Elementary School from her home across the street? "No one in particular. I kind of like the red and blue jackets." While Brenda chatted on the telephone, the terrified pupils and teachers huddled on the floor of the bullet-sprayed school. Principal Burton Wragg and Custodian Michael Suchar were both slain by the gunfire at the school's front yard. Eight children and one police officer were wounded. After hours of futile attempts to get Brenda to surrender, she finally decided it was time to end what she had called "fun." She calmly walked out of the house, put her gun [down], went back inside... "Why did she do it?" asked an eight-year-old boy. Unfortunately, no one in authority could answer that question.
You might remember Brenda Spencer as the subject of the Boomtown Rats song I Don't Like Mondays.

Comments (7)

You're assuming that anybod... (Below threshold)

You're assuming that anybody listens to the Boomtown Rats besides Bob Geldof and the people he straps to chairs in his rec room.

No one (reasonable) is sayi... (Below threshold)

No one (reasonable) is saying that banning guns makes school violence impossible, just that it's less likely.

I haven't tried either, but I'd imagine it's much harder to kill a classmate with a blade than with a firearm.

Some would argue that its b... (Below threshold)

Some would argue that its because we live in a world that glorifies violence, from movies to Nick Berg losing his head on the internet, violence is everywhere to the point where it is numbing. My son, who is as about a gentle soul as there is on this planet, comes home sometimes and wants to box with his dad. Of course he gets his ass kicked, but where does that hostile energy come from, I would wager that it comes from a Macho society where we solve our problems with Shock and Awe, rather than intelligent discourse.

where does that hostile ... (Below threshold)

where does that hostile energy come from, I would wager that it comes from a Macho society

No, it comes from the fact that he's a BOY. Have you ever heard of testosterone? Yes, it IS present even before puberty. Girls have it too but not as much as boys of the same age.


Gee McGehee:You must... (Below threshold)

Gee McGehee:
You must know my son better than I do. Thanks for helping me out on that one. Maybe the girl in Japan who knifed her friend to death was on Testosterone overdrive too. Laughing, or maybe I made my point wrong. I am not a passivist myself. The point I was trying to make is that right now our kids are deluged with an overload of violence in their lives, does it come as a surprise to anyone that they think that killing someone is no different than a video game?

Does your gentle-souled son... (Below threshold)

Does your gentle-souled son who likes to box think killing someone is no different than a video game? Somehow I doubt it.

Violence has been a part of the world we live in since the very beginning, and the idea that we can possibly have a non-violent culture anywhere on earth is a relatively recent delusion. People forget that human beings are not angels, and that there's a reason we aren't born with wings and haloes.

Children are animals, Anderson. Society doesn't make them that way, they're born that way. It's up to their parents to override that native hard-wiring and turn them into human beings.

By blaming society and TV and video games, you've got it all turned around wrong. But since I have no doubt you are civilizing the kid successfully, I guess it doesn't matter where you put the blame.

As long as you don't screw up the world for those of us who are already human beings.

Well I still dont think you... (Below threshold)

Well I still dont think you got my point, or perhaps, just perhaps... We just dont agree. I personally have a hard time with censorship, but I do feel that the perponderance of ultra violence in TV, Video Games, movies, etc. Helps to desensitize our kids, hell and maybe even us. Anyway, it is my opionion. But I am a resposible parent so I take responsibility for the games my kids play and the shows/movies I allow them to watch.






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