You've heard about it by now: the CEO of a Minnesota company, Todd Bachman, his wife, and their interpreter, were stabbed near the Drum Tower in Beijing a few days ago. Mr. Bachman's dead, but the two ladies are recovering.
We'll probably never know just why a 47-year-old man, Tang Yongming, went from the city of Hangzhou, in Zhejiang Province, to Beijing, attacked the Bachmans and their interpreter, and then jumped off the Drum Tower. He's dead, of course: A 130-foot fall will do that to a person.
It looks like Tang was under a lot of stress. Since 2006, he's
- Gone through his second divorce
- Lost his job
- Didn't have a place to stay
- Had a son who was
- Detained on suspicion of fraud in 2007
- Given a suspended sentence in 2008 for theft
Although my sympathies are mostly for the Bachman and Tang families, I realize that officials in Beijing aren't having a good time, either. China has gone to great lengths to have an orderly Olympics. ("Chinese Olympics: A Bit on the Control Freak Side?," Apathetic Lemming of the North (August 4, 2008)). That's understandable: the 2008 Summer Olympics is China's big chance to show the world that it's not just a major economic power, but that China can be involved with today's global culture, too.
I'm no huge fan of China's government:
- "Forget the Olympics For Now: China's Secret Submarine Base is Serious "
(May 2, 2008)
- "China's Military: This Can't Safely be Ignored"
(March 27, 2008)
- "The War on Terror? This May be the War For Freedom "
(March 18, 2008)
- "Tibet: A Preview of Coming Attractions?"
(March 16, 2008))
In the news:
- "Olympics Stab Victim's Condition Upgraded"
CBS News (August 11, 2008)
- "Condition of Olympic stabbing victim improves"
MSNBC (August 11, 2008)
- "Family of Slain American Tourist Left to Grieve Over Stabbing Attack"
FOX News (August 11, 2008)
- "China, U.S. celebrate Olympic gold rush"
Xinhua (August 11, 2008)
- "Former Olympian's mom improves after attack"
CNN (August 11, 2008)
- "Minnesota CEO killed in Beijing"
St. Cloud Times (Minnesota) (August 10, 2008)
- "Chinese man attacks U.S. tourists in Beijing, killing one"
Xinhua (August 9, 2008)
- Todd Bachman was CEO of Bachman's Floral, Home & Garden. More at:
- "BeijingBell and Drum Towers"
People sometimes snap, when faced with stress: and Mr. Tang seems to have had a lot of stress in his life recently. Quite a few Minnesotans, particularly the older Scandinavians, have a saying: "It could be worse."
There's wisdom in that. Sometimes it's good to be a Minnesotan.