Metro killer: 19 arrested for threatening copycat attacks...*sigh* Many people complaining that the present of police on the Metro, some with assault weapons, is not making them feel safer. One man's action has cast a long shadow over one of the world's best, safest metro systems, and now everyone must suffer.
After deploring the leap to blame various things, Daniel Lin at Thinking Taiwan observes:
Mass random killings are a form an extreme violence. Although we have yet to identify any strong predictors to explain such complex behavior, we can reasonably assume that it is driven by multiple biological, psychological, and social factors. Witch-hunts and the facile categorization they engender can discourage efforts to establish a systemic approach to identifying high-risk individuals.In simply the best work on rage killings of the last couple of decades, Going Postal, Mark Ames did in fact identify the source of the problem: America's toxic work culture. Jeff Sparrow at Counterpunch ("Rage Killings in a Neoliberal World") brings it together...Sparrow is talking about the recent killings in California, but he could well be talking about the ones in Taiwan.
As I’ve argued before, the most interesting attempt to historicise the rage massacre comes from Mark Ames’ book Going Postal. Ames’ title reminds us that, in the US, such killings were once synonymous with postal workers (a historical fact that now seems almost quaint). That’s why he identifies the rise of rage massacres with Reaganomics: he suggests that neoliberal reforms to the postal service reduced job satisfaction, placed employees under unbearable stress and transformed workplaces into cesspits of toxic bullying.The really interesting question for Taiwan is not that we have rage killings, but why we don't have more of them here, given the long working hours, stagnant incomes, and relentlessly competitive educational and work environments. There's no single factor, but many working in tandem. Some might be....
Signfiicantly, when Ames’ interviewed massacre survivors, some expressed a remarkable sympathy for the shooters, while very few surprises at the crimes. They’d expected something to give, they said, even if they hadn’t known quite what.
Ames notes the migration of rage massacres from the workplace (in the 80s) to the school (during the 1990s), a trajectory that followed the generalization of neoliberal principles into the US education system. In their suicide notes, school shooters also referenced prolonged bullying, as the entrepreneurial values of mainstream American culture found schoolyard expression in concentrated form, and the gulf between the school’s winners and its losers became more pronounced and more significant.
Like the workplace gunman, the teenage killer embraced mass murder as a brutal and incoherent expression of social despair.
- the lack of guns and sociocultural identification of guns with manliness and manhood
- the ruthless ability of Taiwanese to exploit themselves ever more strongly. My Facebook feeds are filled with posts from my former students, now drones at the bottom of the corporate ladder, admonishing themselves to work harder, and the general cultural belief in the efficacy of hard work
- Taiwan is still in the first generation of the class revolution that has redistributed America's wealth away from its working and middle classes upwards for the last 30 years, and the young are still to a certain extent supported by the enormous wealth gained during the Miracle Economy years.
- the educational system trains the young to accept long hours of work under arbitrary authority as normal.
- outlets: Taiwanese can relocate to China or remain in masters degree programs, since so many have four year degrees.
- Thinking Taiwan: Problems with tolerance for minorities in the revolution?
- Cole writes about the links between the pro-democracy sides in Taiwan and Hong Kong.
- WSJ: Taiwan data suggest Taiwan, rest of Asia will see higher growth
- Taiwan Today on poll of Asian leaders from CSIS.
A major finding of the poll is that 70 percent of respondents expect their country’s interests to be negatively impacted if Taiwan were reunified with mainland China through coercive means.Both the U.S. and Japan expressed the most concern at 93 percent and 96 percent, respectively, higher than Taiwan’s 89 percent.
- Taiwan releases aid payment to Solomon Islands
- National park number 9 to be established in Penghu
- No kidding, this is an actual news story: Captain Phillips (kidnapped off Somalia) says Taiwan boats well-equipped.
- Housing market slows, slowing construction in April, the 4th consecutive month.
- President Ma still relentlessly pushing the services pact.
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