Thursday, June 12, 2008

On the Akihabara tragedy

This post has been copied from my company blog at

"I came to this place to kill people."

What happened today in Akihabara is beyond heartbreaking, and is probably still beyond the realm of reason and subtle examination. I would like to express how I feel about the situation in a succinct and short manner, but I think it would be unfair to the victims and to all of you who are as confused and perhaps as upset as I am. That said, I apologize for the length of this.

I`m torn about presenting my philosophic/anthropological views because they contrast so strongly with my presence as a relatively silent but always-supportive member of the Akihabara community. I have worked there, I shop there, I have had great adventures with some of my best friends there... I`ve even been on TV leading groups of grad students around the place. I may not be immersed in the outward aspects of nerd culture, seeing as I`ve traded the university-era "Blue Hair"(tm) and blood-stained tshirts for suits and ties, but I view it as a very fun and relaxing place where I can freely and nonchalantly engage with a lot of my societal, business, and personal interests.

I can rattle off the various economic and socio-economic effects that will arise from this, seeing as it happened a block from ground zero of a 20 billion dollar industry and right in the left ventricle of one of Japan`s strongest export centers with ties to mass communication, printing, intellectual rights merchandising, licenses, etc. But really, that is all obvious to most of you who would bother to care and I`m sure I`ll be called to expound upon that at a later time.

The real question is: why am I seeing big piles of blood-soaked bandages in the middle of the street while EMT teams massage the hearts of people who have been smashed by trucks or stabbed with a survival knife on a cloudy Sunday?

A man rented a truck in Shizuoka, which is a far stretch away from Tokyo and Akihabara, and used it as a vehicular homicide ramrod before backtracking on foot and hacking, slashing, and debilitating people with a piece of cold steel. Why? Because he was apparently tired of life.

Think about that... tired of life.

At the risk of sounding completely nihilistic: Who isn`t? Really? When you think about it, you have to acknowledge the fact that it is disturbingly hard to express feelings like that without attendant insinuations of deep and melancholic self-involved depression that functions almost like a comedic punchline in global society today. We`re all tired. We`re all upset. We`re all, at least, somewhere in our hearts, a little sad or distressed.

We just suck at expressing it.

We spend a lot of time alone.

We forget what`s important.

Or we substitute for it.

Shorthand becomes longhand. Right becomes left. Up becomes down. A wind tunnel of noise noise noise replaces the smiles of friends and the quiet conversations you have with the people you care about as a need to fill those sad little voids we create because of our being so busy.

We lose something these days.

Now, don`t misunderstand me. I don`t pine for lost periods as an end-all escape hatch dream state. The idea of the past as a `halcyon period of glory and happiness` is, to throw away all semantic trickery, total bullshit. You think leprosy, gangrene, cholera, the crusades, and polio were fun? No, they probably were not. But people lived in periods like that and thus become defined in waves encompassing generations, where the dizzying highs and the tedious, tear-inducing lows became carved into steel that was thrown deep into our collective subconscious vaults. Your first kiss. Your grandmother dying. Hearing about the shuttle explode. Remembering the event of watching a movie that made you cry. It all meant something so much that no matter if it was good or bad, you knew you were alive. And you paid a price for it, either way. It hard to take. When it gets too hard you become tired of life.

We`re all tired. We just have to find something to do with it. And we have to admit it. Don`t be afraid. Don`t mean harm. Be honest about it. Do the right thing and remember what`s important to you is NOT JUST YOU but the world as a living, breathing, interconnected organism.

The people that died today were, genetically, 98% the same as the person that killed them. Somewhere, something happened... cultural, sociological, medical, psychological... SOMETHING happened where the A. lead to a B. and then finally a Z. that included wholesale slaughter as a solution to whatever problems and nagging worries he had droning around in his brain. So now I`m translating the news and feeling like I should cry but tears can`t come.

I don`t know, but maybe this is just another moment that only rings important to people who are, for lack of a better term "like me." I wouldn`t be here if it weren`t for things like comic books, movies, baseball, horribly noisy music, or funny electronic toys and computers. But I have to remember that it takes a lot of responsibility not to completely lose myself in it. It`s easy to get lost. Next thing you know the weariness creeps in. Then the sadness you can`t express. Then the tiredness. You either sleep it off or you do something else, but it can swallow you. And it happens.

God bless their souls.

God bless the tired.

(For more info please see Patrick Macias` blog entry or`s entry.)


Blogger huda noor said...

الاول افضل شركة تنظيف خزانات بالرياض تستخدم مادة الابوكسي في تنظيغ و تطهير خزنات مياه الشرب بارخص الاسعار يمكنك الاستعانة بنا في اعمال غسيل خزانات بالرياض لتحصل على افضل الخدمات
شركة الاول للخدمات

3:04 PM  

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