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Tell me why
I don't like Mondays
I wanna shoo-oo-oo-oo-oo-oot the whole day down
The Boomtown Rats
…so if you are ready, we shall call a cab and drive to Waterloo. I should be very much obliged if you would slip your revolver into your pocket. An Eley's No. 2 is an excellent argument with gentlemen who can twist steel pokers into knots. That and a tooth-brush are, I think all that we need.
Sherlock Holmes speaking to Dr Watson in The Adventure of the Speckled Band by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Mr. Bond, bullets do not kill, it is the finger that pulls the trigger.
The Man with the Golden Gun
…a 19-year-old in America can very easily get a pistol. That's very hard to do in Australia. So when there's a bar fight in Australia, somebody gets punched out or hit with a beer bottle. Here, they get shot.
While I write this letter, I have a pistol in one hand and a sword in the other.
Sir Boyle Roche (1736-1807), Irish politician
A few days ago the Akihabara district of Tokyo reopened for pedestrians on Sundays. Akihabara - 'electric town' - is a centre for all kinds of otaku - obsessed fans. There are stores for electronics, computer parts, stereo parts, manga - comics, anime - cartoons, plastic figures… Maid cafés too. On Sundays it had been a quiet traffic-free zone for many years but in 2008 a man went on a killing rampage. He rented a truck and drove it into people walking in the traffic-free zone - killing three. Then he jumped out and began randomly stabbing, killing four more people before he was subdued. Incidentally in Japanese police boxes there is a special tool called a sasumata that can control someone at a safe distance. It's a pole a couple of meters (over six feet) long with an open U-shape at one end to pin the attacker.
Gun crime in Japan is very, very rare. There are only a handful of murders with guns every year. There has never been a gun massacre in Japan like the one in Tucson, Arizona in January 2011. Random massacres are done with knives. So knife laws are also extremely strict.
I found this out the hard way. Someone who knew I taught martial arts sent me an old katana from the USA. It was an old Japanese sword that had been lying around the house for decades. I had to go to the post customs office. I was told that the only way I would be able to keep the sword would be if it was a hand-forged katana. Then it would have artistic value and I would be able to get a licence for it. If it was machine-made or partly hand-forged I wouldn't. There was a committee meeting of expert appraisers the next month and finally I was informed that it was not acceptable. I was told that I could keep it if I cut it into ten centimeter (four inch) pieces in front of the customs official. So they confiscated it. What a waste.
Even though the UK has strict gun laws I can remember three terrible shooting massacres: Hungerford in 1987, Dunblane in 1996 and Cumbria in 2010. Dunblane was in the news recently when the tennis player Andy Murray played in the final of the Australian Open. He's from Dunblane and he was at Dunblane Primary School on the day of the killings. I don't have much to say about gun control in the USA. I don't have a dog in that fight.
And even martial artists might not be able to handle a random knife attack safely. In 2003 a man on a motor scooter stabbed several people in Tokyo. One of his victims was Genki Sudo, a popular and successful MMA (mixed martial arts) fighter. The injury wasn't serious but it was probably a little embarrassing. A famous case was Rikidozan. He was a sumo wrestler who became a very popular professional wrestler - one of the first superstars. He was fatally stabbed in a Tokyo nightclub in 1963.
I don't like Mondays by the Boomtown Rats on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o2I84-A9duY
Bob Geldof wrote this song after a mass shooting by a sixteen year old girl at an elementary school in San Diego in 1979. When she was asked why she did it the girl said, "I don't like Mondays…" When she is next eligible for parole in 2019 she will have been incarcerated for forty years - since she was sixteen. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I_Don't_Like_Mondays
The Boomtown Rats have a great album title: Ratrospective