Sunday, June 08, 2008

Another Mass Knife-Attack in Japan

Seems mass murderers are not deterred by a lack of guns

A man police said was on a murder mission plowed into pedestrians with a truck in a crowded Tokyo neighborhood Sunday and then stabbed 17 people in three minutes, killing at least seven in a grisly attack that shocked Japan.


A 25-year-old man, Tomohiro Kato, was arrested with blood on his face. Police said Kato provided no motive for the attack -- other than he wanted to murder strangers.


Once rare, stabbing attacks have become more frequent in Japan in recent years as violent crime has increased. In March, one person was stabbed to death and at least seven others were hurt by a man who went on a slashing spree with two knives outside a shopping mall in eastern Japan.

The article also mentions the 2001 mass knife-attack at a school. And remember the 1995 Tokyo subway mass poison-attack?

Private ownership of guns is severely restricted in Japan. The problem of violence therefore isn't, as many assume, access to guns -- it's people who are intent on committing violence. When you restrict one type of weapon, criminals simply switch to something else. The one thing that put an end to the stabbing spree in Tokyo was someone (a police officer) threatening the killer with a gun. Since police can't be everywhere, guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens is the most effective way to protect the innocent.

UPDATE: Carnaby reminded me of two other mass-stabbing attacks in the news: this one in Germany and this one in China, both last year. From the article on the latter

In recent years there have been several fatal incidents at schools in China.

After a spate of stabbings in 2004, schools began employing professional guards to protect pupils.
Don't tell me it's about guns and the American culture of violence.


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