The news came across my phone overnight that the former Prime Minister of Japan had been shot. Later, the alert came that Shinzo Abe had died.

In Japan? How does that happen? How did someone get their hands on a gun? Japan has some of the strictest gun laws in the world.

It’s still early in the investigation, but it appears the weapon used was homemade. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that at the scene a device was found. It appeared to be two pipes bound together with tape. When you see the video, it’s there.

You just can’t get a gun in Japan. Here’s the process. You have to attend an all-day class. You then pass a written test and a shooting test. Then, you undergo a mental health evaluation. A drug test. Finally, an extensive background check.

The result? Japan averages 10 gun deaths a year. By comparison, the U.S. averages more than 45 thousand.

Shinzo Abe was speaking at a campaign event. Video footage shows people pinning a man to the ground after two loud bangs rang out.

The suspect told police he was upset with Abe and wanted to kill him. He did it.

Peggy Noonan’s piece in the Wall Street Journal is titled “Why Crime is Scarier Now.” She goes into how things have changed.

You used to know where to go to be safe. You used to know where to stay away from. Schools and 4th of July parades used to be safe places to be.

Why? Noonan says that you can’t calculate the moves of the mentally ill. She writes, “You can’t calculate their actions because they can’t be predicted, because they’re crazy.”

Peggy Noonan writes that we all have a responsibility in this. It’s become an all too familiar phrase: If you see something, say something.

Yes, a lot of attention is being placed on the family of the accused Highland Park, Illinois, shooter. It appears there were plenty of signs that something was terribly wrong.

Others had to have noticed too. Someone had to notice that something wasn’t right with the Uvalde school shooter. Or, the Buffalo supermarket shooter. See something, say something.

Noonan says this country and its culture “aren’t making fewer unstable men, but more.” That’s the problem too. In just about all of these mass shootings, it’s young men.

I wrote yesterday that I have no answers on how to fix this problem. Maybe this is where we start. Get these kids some help. Get them off the streets before they do something. Get involved. See something, say something.

One thought on “It can even happen in Japan.”
  1. Russell, I’m a long-time educator, now retired. We have identified some of these young men as early as 6th grade. A huge problem is parents in denial who refuse to get their child into treatment and also a shortage of options for mental health treatment for students and young adults. Not every angry young man is on drugs, but some are, even at that young age. Folks expect schools to solve every problem, but no school is equipped to do the serious treatment these kids need. Easy access to guns just adds to the problem.

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