Friday, April 30, 2010

3 Days, 3 Attacks

I have pointed out that in China (and Japan), due to their strict firearms laws, such countries tend to manifest their "copycat school violence" in terms of "stabbing" series. Will this current stabbing spree spread to Japan or other Asian nations?

April 2010 appears to be turning into a prime example. The media has referred to these, very openly, as "copycats." Of course, the underlying theme of these events ending in suicides or parasuicidal incidents is no surprise for readers here.

Here's is a summary of the latest news:

Five incidents in a little over a month and three attacks in three days have left at least 9 children dead in China, all by knife-wielding older males.

1) Wang Yonglai

Friday, April 30, 2010

This attack occurred in the small village of Shangzhuang, near the city of Weifang in the northern province of Shandong. Just before eight o'clock in the morning, April 30, 2010, a man named as Wang Yonglai, a local farmer, age unknown, broke through the side door of the local pre-school, according to Xinhua, the government news agency.

Armed with a hammer and carrying a can of petrol, he struck a teacher and then lashed out at five children before he picked two up, doused himself with petrol and set himself on fire. Teachers at the school managed to grab the children from him, but Wang was reported to have died. The five victims are said to be in stable condition in the local hospital and none have life-threatening injuries.

2) Xu Yuyuan, 47

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Another attack involved a knife-wielding man stabbed 29 children at a kindergarten on Thursday in Taixing of East China's Jiangsu province. Five of the children are in critical condition and the rest are stable. No deaths had been reported as of Thursday night, said Sun Yun, deputy mayor of Taixing. Two teachers and one security guard were also injured after the 9:40 am attack. Witnesses report that he taunted onlookers, daring them to stop him as he carried out his rampage.

An initial police investigation said the suspect, 47-year-old Xu Yuyuan, was an unemployed local resident who had been fired from a local insurance company in 2001.

3) Chen Kangbing, 33

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

A mentally ill teacher on sick leave for the past four years broke into a school and wounded 18 students and a teacher in southern China’s Leizhou city in Guangdong province on April 28. The man in Wednesday's attack managed to slip into the school with a group of visiting teachers, Xinhua reported. Chen Kangbing,33, had been a teacher himself. Xinhua said he suffered from mental illness and had been on sick leave since February 2006.

4) Yang Jiaqin, 40

Monday, April 12, 2010

An attack occurred on April 12, 2010, when a man hacked to death a second grader and an elderly woman with a meat cleaver, near a school in southern Guangxi, and wounded five other people, including students. Yang Jiaqin, 40, chased his victims through Xizhen village of the southern Guangxi region not long after classes ended Monday afternoon. A 7-year-old girl and the 81-year-old woman later died.

5) Zheng Minsheng, 42

Tuesday, March 23, 2010; executed, Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Chen Kangbing attack came the same day a man was executed for stabbing eight children to death outside their elementary school last month in the southeastern city of Nanping. The attack on March 23, 2010, at around 7:20 am local time, shocked China because eight children died and the assailant had no known history of mental illness. At his trial, Zheng Minsheng, 42, said he killed because he had been upset after being jilted by a woman and treated badly by her wealthy family. He was executed by firing squad on Wednesday, April 28, just a little over a month after his crime.

2004 Attacks

These attacks have officials looking into a similar wave of knife-related violence on children that occurred in 2004. After the 2004 attack at a school in Beijing that left nine students dead, the central government ordered tighter school security nationwide. Regulations that took effect in 2006 require schools to register or inspect visitors and keep out people who have no reason to come inside.

The list of 2004 stabbings in China (which eventually spread to Japan) may be found by clicking here.

There were also stabbings in 2008, associated with the Autumn Festivals in China and Japan (see here).

Sunday, April 25, 2010


Police in Asheville, N.C., arrested an Ohio man on Sunday, April 25, 2010, after authorities spotted him with a handgun in an airport parking lot as President Barack Obama's plane was departing the state after he and his family vacationed there over the weekend. Joseph McVey, 23, was charged with going armed in terror of the public, a misdemeanor. Security was heightened because of Obama's visit. McVey was nowhere near Air Force One, and why he was in the area with a gun was unclear.

North Carolina police have charged the man who allegedly impersonated a police officer at Asheville airport as US President Barack Obama departed on Air Force One. Ohio man Joseph McVey, 23, was allegedly armed when he drove a car made to look like a police vehicle with working lights and sirens to the airport at about 2pm (local time).

Buncombe County jail officer Donna Player told CNN that McVey was being held on a charge of going armed to the terror of the public and his bail was set at US$100,000. Airport police Capt Kevan Smith emphasised that the president was never in any danger and said additional charges were pending. Mr. Obama left Asheville aboard Air Force One about 1:50pm after his meeting with the Rev Billy Graham. From there he flew to Beckley, West Virginia, where he delivered the eulogy at a public memorial service for the 29 workers killed in a mine explosion on April 5. Air Force One was waiting on the runway at Asheville Regional while Mr. Obama met with Mr Graham.

Timothy James McVeigh (April 23, 1968 – June 11, 2001) was a United States Army veteran and former security guard who was convicted of detonating a truck bomb in front of the Alfred P. Murrah Building on April 19, 1995, killing 168 people, including 19 children under the age of six. It is referred to as the Oklahoma City bombing. McVeigh, a militia movement sympathizer, sought revenge against the federal government for the Waco Siege which had ended in the deaths of 76 people exactly two years earlier.

Monday, April 19, 2010

419 + 420

Today, April 19th, in Massachusetts and Maine, is Patriots' Day.

Patriots' Day (sometimes incorrectly punctuated Patriot's Day or Patriots Day) is a civic holiday commemorating the anniversary of the Battles of Lexington and Concord, the first battles of the American Revolutionary War. It is observed in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and State of Maine (once part of Massachusetts), and is a public school observance day in Wisconsin. Observances and re-enactments of these first battles of the American Revolution occur annually at Lexington Green in Lexington, Massachusetts, (around 6 am) and The Old North Bridge in Concord, Massachusetts (around 9 am). In the morning, a mounted reenactor with State Police escort retraces Paul Revere's ride, calling out warnings the whole way.

Since 1969, the holiday has been observed on the third Monday in April, providing a three-day long weekend. In 2010, the date of April 19th falls on the celebrated Patriots' Day holiday on Monday. In Maine, it is being extended on April 20th, with the State of Maine government shutting down all state offices, for fiscal savings.

The Patriots' Grave (at top) in the Old Burying Ground, Arlington, Massachusetts, is a Masonic obelisk, as is the Acton Monument (below), gravesite of Abner Hosmer and Isaac Davis, who fell at North Bridge on April 19, 1775. The Revolutionary War was, in historical underpinning, a Masonic conflict.

The Boston Marathon is run on Patriots' Day every year so many Bostonians know the holiday as "Marathon Monday". Maine's oldest road race, the Boys and Girls Clubs Patriots' Day 5-Miler, is held in Portland, Maine. The Boston Red Sox have traditionally been scheduled to play at home in Fenway Park on Patriots' Day every year since 1959. Since 1968 the games have started early in the morning around 11:00 AM.

April 19 is also the anniversary of the deaths occurring at the end of the Waco events and the Oklahoma City bombing.

The Waco siege began on February 28, 1993, when the United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) attempted to execute a search warrant at the Branch Davidian ranch at Mount Carmel, a property located nine miles (14 km) east-northeast of Waco, Texas. An exchange of gunfire resulted in the deaths of four agents and six followers of David Koresh. A subsequent 51-day siege by the Federal Bureau of Investigation ended on April 19 when fire destroyed the compound. Seventy-six people (24 of them British nationals) died in the fire, including more than 20 children, two pregnant women, and Koresh himself.

The Oklahoma City bombing was the bomb attack on the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995, when American militia movement sympathizer Timothy McVeigh detonated a truck filled with explosives parked in front of the building. McVeigh's co-conspirator, Terry Nichols, had assisted in the bomb preparation. Their motive allegedly was to avenge the government's handling of the Waco siege and Ruby Ridge incidents.

Don't forget. Tomorrow is 4.20.

April 20 is the 121th anniversary of the birth of Adolf Hitler and the 11th anniversary of the Columbine school killings. On April 20, 1999, one teacher, 12 students were killed and 24 wounded at Columbine High School, in Littleton, Colorado, by two heavily armed, trenchcoated students, 17 and 18, who then took their own lives. They liked speaking German to each other and "honored" Hitler, according to their diary entries.

Columbine School Shooting, April 20, 1999's list of dead:
* Cassie Bernall, 17
* Steven Curnow, 14
* Corey DePooter, 17
* Kelly Fleming, 16
* Eric David Harris, 18
* Matthew Kechter, 16
* Dylan Bennet Klebold, 17
* Daniel Mauser, 15
* Daniel Rohrbough, 15
* William David "Dave" Sanders, 47
* Rachel Scott, 17
* Isaiah Shoels, 18
* John Tomlin, 16
* Lauren Townsend, 18
* Kyle Velasquez, 16

April 19 is followed by 420.

What does "420" mean? April 20th? Or something deeper?

High school student Jeff Weise, an Ojibwa, killed ten, including himself, at the Red Lake Ojibwa Reservation in Minnesota, on March 21, 2005. A great admirer of Columbine, it was discovered that Weise left references to Columbine throughout his online presence. For example, he employed a username, which translated to "Abandoned 420."

Columbine and 420

Obviously, one meaning of "420" is directly linked to the Columbine date, as "4/20" is April 20, the anniversary of the Littleton, Colorado shootings. This date is also Adolf Hitler's birthday. The Columbine shooters, Klebold and Harris were extremely conscious that it was Hitler's birthdate, and often spoke German to each other, while walking around in long black trench coats, videotaping themselves.

Copycat Weise left messages on such sites as Weise wore a dark trench coat to school all year round, and had a swastika fascination, a symbol used by both First Nations people and Nazis. In one of Weise's online profiles, he noted that two of his favorite movies were Elephant and Zero Day, based on the events of the Columbine High School massacre.

Jeff Weise virtually haunted the Neo-Nazi Internet forum of the Libertarian National Socialist Green Party under the aliases NativeNazi and Todesengel (German for "Angel of Death"). He admired Hitler, his posts revealed. Weise also alleged online that his school was warned in 2004 that someone was going to "shoot up" the school on April 20, the birthday of Adolf Hitler and the anniversary of the Columbine High School massacre, and that the school authorities "pinned" the threat on him.

But Weise sometimes would sound almost typical. For example, on one of his user info pages, he said he was "nothin' but your average Native American stoner" and mentioned that he used marijuana. After Columbine, one oft-repeated story circulated that Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold were upset by an unfounded accusation made by an anonymous classmate that the two had brought marijuana to school, prompting a search of their property. Harris and Klebold were said to have found the incident humiliating.

The Other Meaning of 420

The use of "420" for almost four decades is related to the use of marijuana.

4:20 or 4/20 (pronounced four-twenty) is a term used in North America as a discreet way to refer to cannabis and, by extension, a way to identify oneself with cannabis culture. Phrases such as "420 friendly" sometimes appear in roommate advertisements, indicating that the current occupants are tolerant of cannabis users.

It is widely accepted that in 1971, a group of teenagers at San Rafael High School in San Rafael, California, calling themselves The Waldos, used to meet every day after school at 4:20 p.m. to smoke marijuana at the Louis Pasteur statue. The term became part of their group's salute, "420 Louis," and it eventually caught on more widely. Many cannabis users continue to observe 4:20 as a time to smoke communally. By extension April 20 ("4/20" in U.S. dating shorthand) has evolved into a counterculture holiday, where people gather to celebrate and consume cannabis. Source: Wikipedia

It was the research of Steven Hager, editor of High Times, who found the term 420 originated at San Rafael High School in 1971, among the Waldos. A quote from one of the Waldos in the article notes, "We did discover we could talk about getting high in front of our parents without them knowing by using the phrase 420."

Adolf Hitler, marijuana, Columbine: For copycats, 420 appears to have served as a reflective mirror. For the rest of us, 420 may reflect a dangerous combination that has resulted in terrible memories that now reach beyond the mere date of April 20th.

P. S. - Please give me the intellectual respect to understand this is not an anti-drug message, but one about awareness of the twilight language behind code words like "420" in one shooter's message. To think this is as an anti-marijuana blog is as illogical as thinking I am going to let myself get involved in the quicksand of a pro-gun-control vs pro-gun debate. Blaming drugs, guns, video games, and the long list of candidates seems to ignore what's happening in the imprinted mind of the suicidal potential school or spree shooter.

Finally, a couple other "hot dates" in April are worthy of noting.

April 26th is Hitler's right hand man, Rudolf Hess's birthday and the anniversary of the Erfurt, Germany school shooting in 2002, when Robert Steinhäuser killed 16 and then himself.

Hitler died by his own hand, ten days after his birthday, on April 30, 1945, which was 65 years ago.