Sagamihara: A Year Later, And Still Silence

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A year on from the Sagamihara Massacre, still the only people I have ever, ever seen write about it or talk about it are disabled people. It was ignored at the time, and its anniversary has gone unmarked.

The killer specifically targeted disabled people, his friends knew of his plan, and he had presented a detailed plan to the government about how disabled people unable to live without need of carers should be euthanised, involuntarily if necessary.

In the days after the massacre, as soon as the victims became clear, the coverage disappeared from view. If not outright support, people in general reacted with either indifference or understanding of his point. The people he murdered in their sleep were ‘better off’. It was a ‘kindness’.

He stabbed 19 people to death because they were disabled. He tried to murder a further 26. It was a hate crime on a massive scale. But just as we report differently when parents murder their children if the victim was disabled, so too was the coverage either non-existent or sympathetic to the killer in this case.

I would tell you to #saytheirnames, but we don’t know them. They were never released. Observers have pointed out that this is, in large part, because of the shame attached to being disabled in Japan.


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