A commenter on Sunday’s post about the most recent mass stabbing in Tokyo pointed out a comment over at Steven Den Beste’s that includes:
As for cultural passivity, there was a recent incident on a train where an unarmed guy flashed a girl, and when she protested, he beat her up right in front of the other passengers and at the next stop stuffed her down between the train and the platform. No one did anything to stop him during the act or his escape, and no one even stayed as a witness. Yes, this does happen elsewhere in the world (however, non-involvement is the norm in Japan) but nontheless it always leads to a lot of extra soul-searching in Japan, as it should, since they pride themselves so much on their social responsibility and cohesiveness. When one of the witnesses to the train flasher assault later came forward via anonymous phone call to a TV station, he said the reason he didn’t want to get involved at the time was he didn’t want to get hurt (the pathetic pussy) but worse, he would have been late for work if he’d stayed to be a witness for the cops. He was dead serious with that excuse and had called in to make it clear he had a perfectly understandable reason for not getting involved.
Go read the whole thing.
This reminds me of the whole A kid punching a playground bully is a ‘vigilante’? discussion in April:
In a comments thread over at Dean’s World, responding to a commenter who wrote that women should simply yell “Masher!” and hit the offender across the face if pressed against or fondled by a stranger:
That’s called vigilantism…So if you wish the people not to descend into tribalism and lawlessness, you would have to stop advocating ‘take care of it yourself’ for an official government law enforcement policy.
Oh for pity’s sake. Is it ‘vigilantism’ when a kid punches a bully in the nose?
Yes, of course.
In my school we seek to ensure that he does not have to do so.
So here we have a case where a woman stood up for herself after being flashed, and the flasher proceeded to beat her up while everyone else stood and did nothing. They probably didn’t want to become ‘vigilantes’ by helping the woman (another ‘vigilante.’) Absolutely pathetic.
Then, to top it off, the non-‘vigilante’ witnesses don’t even bother sticking around to help the authorities pick up the pieces after the fact. Indefensible.
So finally we have this, left in a comment on Sunday’s post:
Hey, I carry a pocket knife wherever I go in my city, and I have a rifle and a pistol at home. I would use any of them in a heartbeat to defend friends and family. But frankly, I’m tired of having to feel like I should be on my guard all the time. This country is adopting a culture of *the mere impression of* being besieged by violence on all levels–from terrorism to random street violence–that is not healthy for us. I love my country, but I’d also like to live in a safe one. I’d rather admire Japan’s low violence statistics than cluck about how more people should have fought back, or how they are a “disarmed people”.
If this happened at Akihabara while I was there I probably wouldn’t have been able to do anything either. It would have been about as expected as Godzilla coming around the corner and stomping me flat.
The Japanese have a good thing going, and I for one envy them for it.
This is pretty stupid on several levels. First, the commenter apparently would rather live in a world where bad things didn’t happen.
Well, DUH. Einstein has figured out that bad things are bad and that bad is not good. Gold star for Einstein. (I’ve been inspired to figure out that rich is not poor, and that I’d rather live in world where I won the lotto and didn’t have to work. Why hasn’t someone else thought of this before?)
He departs from the fantasyland of bunnies and flowers to carry a pocket knife, plus admits that he owns firearms and would not hesitate to use them in defense of self or others.
But he won’t criticize those who didn’t or couldn’t fight back against the stabber, because Japan has “a good thing going.”
Personally, I wouldn’t want to live in a world where one didn’t feel the need to watch out for one’s self. Might as well climb mountains that are flat. Much safer that way, and you don’t have to work so hard.
You take away a person’s responsibility and authority, you take away a significant part of the person. We see that all over, and, sadly, it isn’t just overseas.