Monday, August 11, 2008

China Olympics Stabbing: Looks Like a Nut With a Knife

"Bad things happen everywhere in the world and it has nothing to do with anything else," is what an American assistant coach, Larsen Ronald, said about the stabbing death of an American in Beijing. Looks like he's right.

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
Not everyone who goes through that sort of thing goes off the rails and kills somebody: but it's been known to happen.

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: In this case, though, I'm with the American assistant coach. Tang's attack looks like the work of one man. It's unlikely that we'll ever know if Tang chose the Bachman group randomly, or because the Bachmans stood out as foreigners. And, it's probably not important, apart from the criminal investigation.
In the news: Background:
  • Todd Bachman was CEO of Bachman's Floral, Home & Garden. More at:
    • Bachman's Forists' website
      ("Ideas For a Beautiful World")
    • Bachman's website with updated information about the death of Todd Bachman and injury of Barbara Bachman
    • Bachman's fact sheet on Todd Bachman
  • "BeijingBell and Drum Towers"
A thought about Mr. Tang's situation:

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.

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Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.