Tell Me Why..

Places where it’s virtually impossible to get a gun, still can have unanswerable problems with violence.

TOKYO – Police examined e-mails and cell phone messages and investigated reports of a playground dispute in a search Wednesday for the motive behind the killing of a 12-year-old girl who was slashed with a box-cutter by a classmate in southern Japan.

On Tuesday, the 11-year-old killer led Satomi Mitarai to an empty classroom during their lunch hour, slit her neck and arms with a box-cutter, and left her to bleed to death.

Mitarai’s body was discovered in the third-floor classroom by a teacher after the suspect returned smeared in blood, said principal Eiko Desaki.

Local media reports told the story of a friendship between two classmates – who regularly left notes on each other’s home pages and used text messaging – suddenly going awry.

The murder has appalled Japan, where a dramatic spike in juvenile delinquency and school violence in the past decade has shaken deeply held beliefs that the country is largely immune to the violence of Europe and the United States.Mystifying violence from teenagers is nothing new, it’s just relatively new in Japan.

For some reason it brought to mind the bizarre 1979 shooting spree of 16 year old Brenda Spencer who was targeting the elementary school across the street from her house. From the Time reporters notebooks:

The explanation was incredibly casual. “I don’t like Mondays,” Brenda Spencer, 16, told reporters by telephone as she held off San Diego police for six hours. But who was she trying to kill as she repeatedly fired a .22-cal. rifle at Cleveland Elementary School from her home across the street? “No one in particular. I kind of like the red and blue jackets.” While Brenda chatted on the telephone, the terrified pupils and teachers huddled on the floor of the bullet-sprayed school. Principal Burton Wragg and Custodian Michael Suchar were both slain by the gunfire at the school’s front yard. Eight children and one police officer were wounded. After hours of futile attempts to get Brenda to surrender, she finally decided it was time to end what she had called “fun.” She calmly walked out of the house, put her gun [down], went back inside… “Why did she do it?” asked an eight-year-old boy. Unfortunately, no one in authority could answer that question.

You might remember Brenda Spencer as the subject of the Boomtown Rats song I Don’t Like Mondays.

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