Monday, June 9, 2008

Posting and then Killing

The 25-year-old man who killed 7 people in the crowded Akihabara district of Tokyo on Sunday posted a thread on an online bulletin board that was titled "I will kill people in Akihabara." The final post to the thread was at 12:10 p.m., and his attack began around 12:30 p.m. According to the NY Times, the final post read, "It's time."

Today's article in the Times says that in other posts, "Mr. Kato [the attacker] described leaving his home just west of Tokyo, heading to the capital and worrying that rain could hamper his plans. He wrote about arriving in Akihabara at 11:45 a.m."

How do we handle criminals who are willing to blog or post or text about their crimes in advance of them happening? Could the police have done more? Did they have enough information to do anything? And why would he post? Is he trying to become famous? Or taunting the authorities?

Whatever the reasons, it's a sad and senseless crime. And it must be all the more shocking to a country that is not accustomed to random, mass violence. All my best to my friends and family in Tokyo.


Anonymous said...

Shogo was telling me that in Japan they don't really focus on the killer after the crime, so no one will care about him or let him get credit or famous. In japan after they showed some of the video of the people dying, they went into get detail about the people that were killed. Basically one of the people that died was a man that was in his 70's and had a bad leg or something " they mentioned that he was very excited because he was going to go meet his son for lunch, who he didn't see very often."
I like how the media works in Japan better then in america. We are so into getting into the minds of killers, that sometimes we just brush over the victims.

Shai Hulud said...

I think also JK, so many people have invested so much of their identity into their online presence and spaces that this might just come completely naturally and habitually for some people. It's quite probable that he was looking for a measure of fame, but i think also quite likely that it was the aforementioned.

Also, I have a friend in Sydney, who is an incredible writer and academic, and he has written a fairly brilliant extensive essay on the kid who did the Mall shooting awhile back here in the States. It actually relates quite closely to this incident, in that it really hits the mark on the people who commit these kinds of killings. Here it is:

He also has a some great writings about death related issues like Aushwitz and School Shootings (especially that) on his blog as well.



Jessica Knapp said...

What an interesting piece. Thank you for the link. I especially like this line "The shooters don’t kill people they know. What they do instead is treat their victims like infrastructure, symptoms of the place they happen to be in ..." It's so true. I wonder if it gives him better perspective that he's outside of America.

And extra details about the victims, like the fact that the man in his 70s was going to meet his son for lunch, they just highlight the shocking lack of empathy had by people who commit these mass killings. It's more to the point: They're not treated like people; they're treated like objects. It's just sickening.