Harming Schoolkids: US & China are Rather Alike

♠ Posted by Emmanuel at 12/16/2012 09:43:00 AM
There is an adage about people hating those who are so much like them because they cannot stand being reminded of their own failings. Think of a rooster that sees a mirror image of itself, raises its hackles and wants to fight it. Being the world's largest carbon emitters aside, nowhere is this adage tragically truer than with the US and China in the matter of harming schoolchildren. While assorted American crazies like that Batman fanboy have topped global attention for years and years, unbeknownst to many, China has been giving the US a run for its money.

As it so happens, a Chinese nutter also tried to harm schoolchildren a few hours before the Newtown incident. However, he was fortunately not armed with a gun. The fact remains though that the frequency of attacks on kids is on the rise in China. "Asian values" notwithstanding; perhaps there's been a rise instead in "American values"?
The children of Chengping were still filtering into the local elementary school on Friday morning, China time, when a deranged thirty-six-year-old man named Min Yingjun entered the campus. He carried a knife. (China bans private gun ownership.) By the time the security guards got to him, he had wounded twenty-two children and one adult. All survived. China, like most places, had seen this kind of madness before: one especially heavy string of school attacks in 2010 killed nearly twenty people and wounded more than fifty. The killers are as hard to recall in their particulars as they deserve.
My initial suspicion is that while school attacks in China may be even more frequent than those in the US--there are impediments to knowing their number--those in America are invariably more lethal given the ready availability of firearms Stateside. There must be a lesson in here somewhere for the gun lobby, whose logic is even more obscure than that of the no new taxes forevermore crowd. There are reasons to believe that limiting access to weaponry does curb gun violence, but many Americans would rather stick their heads in the ground and pretend everything's OK just like they do when they hear about climate change.

We then get to the broader implications of US and Chinese societies' ill treatment of children. Unfortunately, crazies shooting schoolkids is but the tip of the iceberg for either nation. Emotional outpourings at tragic events like these aside, the reality is that older American generations consume public resources in such a way as to leave future generations decidedly worse off (despite certain objections that fail to ignore spiraling health care costs of all things). It is no accident that ever-diminishing US standards of living have a momentum that is difficult to arrest as the number of seniors giving themselves cushy retirements at their children's expense increases. China? Oddly technocratic ploys represented by the one-child policy spell trouble on the demographic front as the world's most populous nation eventually suffers from...too few kids.

Bottom line: In certain respects, the US and China share characteristics indicative of very sick societies. That is, mental pathologies that lead to these incidences are more likely to emerge in certain nations than others. Of course they claim to be different, but actions speak louder than words. As for the rest of the world, why should we blindly accept either one's political-economic model? Just as developing nations once fought to be non-aligned during the Cold War--including China if I remember correctly--I think the rest of us should search for alternatives lest our societies end up harming schoolchildren with such sickening regularity.

Mind you; we are not fated for the barbarism routinely displayed there.