Sunday, June 26, 2016

Learned Helplessness

On December 14, 2012, a crazed knife wielding man stood outside Chenpeng Village Primary School in Henan Province, China, and stabbed 24 people before the police overpowered him.  All of the victims, 23 children and 1 elderly woman (from whom the attacker originally stole the knives) eventually recovered.  Does any of that sound familiar?  The Sandy Hook tragedy occurred on the same date, hours later.  The disparity of death toll (0 in Henan versus 20 in Connecticut) has already been remarked upon in the past four years.   It shows that policy can mitigate the effects of violent outbursts.  China is not the only Asian state to have knife-rampages.  Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and other countries experience them too.  The attacker in Chenpeng did not have access to a firearm, so he used knives.  It is difficult-to-impossible to prevent these rampages, but with different policy choices, they can be mitigated.