Chinese preschool massacres

A 48-year-old man who later killed himself hacked seven children and two adults to death with a kitchen cleaver, the NY Times reports today–the fifth such attack on schools and school children in China in the last two months.

At least 17 people have been killed — mostly children — and dozens injured in the series of attacks, which began in March. In each case, a middle-aged man acting alone set upon children with knives or tools. Some of the men had families.

The attacks have taken place across China and are presumably copycat crimes. They have caused fear and outrage among parents and prompted some schools to improve security measures; private guards with red armbands are an increasingly common presence on the grounds, as are security cameras and metal gates. A growing number of parents have spoken of their anxieties at sending their children off in the morning.

The Times speculates that economic anxieties, wage disparities, untreated mental illness, and frustration with the government’s arbitrary exercise of power might be to blame.

It’s not a conspiracy at all, I’m sure, but if it had happened here a few centuries ago, there’d be much talk of demonic possession, just as I imagine some conspiratorially-inclined types today must be talking about “mind control” (actually, I just checked a forum over at Prison Planet. Cancel “I imagine” and “must be.” They’re off and running):

“This is fascinating, and suggests MKULTRA or other mind control techniques are being used to push corporatist agendas in China, just as in the US. In a population of 1.3 billion people, there are many patsies available for any conceivable operation. ‘Copycat mass murders’ are bullshit. IMO.”

“This feels organized, by whom and for what, I don’t know. This could be a study in how a foreign government runs its false flag operations and then manipulates the media into parroting what the leadership wants.”

I wonder what the state of the art of psychological thinking is about “running amok” (a term British colonialists adapted from the Taglog word “amuk,” which means “mad with uncontrollable rage”)? I was able to Google a preview of the DSM IV article, which describes it as a culture bound “syndrome first described in Malaysia that consists of homicidal frenzy preceded by a state of brooding and ending with somnolence and amnesia,” but I’d have to pay $7.00 to read it in full.

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