Sunday, May 16, 2010

Social Tensions Stoke School Attacks, China's Premier Says

That the way people explain acts of violence is a marker of cultural differences is shown in this article. What jumped out at me in the article was the fact that the Prime Minister in discussing the "social tensions" that may lay behind the recent spate school attacks "did not address the possibility that some of the attackers might have been mentally ill." The article goes on to note that the most recent attacker "was an unbalanced person--he had tried to commit suicide twice in the past month and believed that the kindergarten administrator … had put a curse on him to prevent his diabetes from improving." It is striking that in the U.S. mental illness is often the first thing that comes to mind to explain an act of brutality, that can't be attributed to terrorism, while in China it appears to be the last.