…and that is about the extent of my Japanese. “Japan, are you alright?”
Because damn, some fucked up shit happened up in there last week. Some dude, Satoshi Uematsu, rolls up to the Tsukui Yamayuri-En center for disabled people near Tokyo and just starts stabbing patients. He killed 19, injured 26, 13 of those severely, then just surrenders. With three knives.
Lest you think this was just some one who “snapped”, Uematsu was a former employee of the center and so ableist it makes my teeth itch – and they’re in another room.
“It’s better that the disabled disappear,” he has been reported to have told the cops.
Now before you get all in your feelings about this and how sad and so on, look inside yourself. Ever had a thought like that? Mocked a person’s speech impediment? Played parking lot police? Posted or shared a pic of someone in a wheelchair standing up? Complained about the lazy good for nothings on disability?
Sure, you didn’t take it nearly as far as this bastard did. Fuck, he wrote a letter pretty much calling for the elimination of those with multiple disabilities. He targeted those unable to effectively communicate. But the thoughts behind these attacks are thoughts far too many fucking people have in regards to the disabled, especially those severely so. A parent of an autistic child kills that child, and it oh so regrettable, but what do you expect? It was such a burden! People joke about smothering long ill relatives at their most vulnerable to “relieve their suffering”. Some probably aren’t even joking.
Now, there are a lot of cultural bits and bobs that go into this slaughter, but one thing remains universal – the ending of a burden. As we turn to a future where here in the U.S. people are choosing to end their lives when they are at a point of illness that is just suffering, a measure I support, let’s not kid ourselves into thinking every case will be cut and dry. Who will speak for those without that ability? Their guardians? What are their guardians’ motivations? And why do we pity those guardians who take matters into their own hands?
So before we pooh pooh the attacks at Tsukui Yamayuri-En, let’s get our own shit together. Less “Nippon, daijoubu desu ka?”, and more “Minna-san (everybody), daijoubu desu ka?”.
(apologies in advance if I’ve completely mangled even that simple phrase. Gomen-nasai.)