If you have children (or nieces or nephews or an imagination), think about when they were 6 years old or when they will be. That’s how old my niece is right now.
Think about sending those children to school. Like, the actual logistics of it. If you’re in the US, you probably either (a) drive your kids to school or (b) accompany them to a specific spot for a school bus to pick them up. Either way, the kids are typically delivered with supervision from your home to their destination.
Now try to picture this: Instead of the above methods, imagine if you simply opened your door, said goodbye to your 6-year-old child, and trusted they would end up at school. Not only that, but imagine that their school is located 30 minutes away, requiring a combination of walking and public train to get there.
That place is Japan.
I saw this all the time when I studied abroad in Japan. I noticed it the most during my two summers in Hiroshima, as I was among those kids (albeit high schoolers) making the long trek from home to school. It’s a daily mass migration as a result of a combination of safety, society, and public transportation.
In a way, it’s a bit of a miracle that it works so well. And that miracle was shattered on Tuesday when a man stabbed 17 elementary schoolgirls at a bus stop in Kawasaki.
This would be a heinous act in any country. But I think it’s particularly vile for someone to disrupt a such a peaceful miracle. They’ve taken something safe, something people trust–like a country music concert in Vegas or a sidewalk in Paris–and forced people to question it. Remember when schools didn’t have metal detectors at the entrances?
My heart goes out to the people of Kawasaki. It broke me to hear this news.