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An Unusual Event

A Manslaughter of a child in a foreign land does not result in diplomatic issue

This is Dark Cloud on Wednesday, October 05, 1994.

It is a horrible story of youth stolen by a gun happy thug. A horrible but typical story. A child, visiting a foreign country asleep in the presence of his parents, is shot in the head and dies. The parents, appalled at the violence meted out to a small child, tearfully and in shock, do not attack the violence of their host nation and appeal to the powers of their home country. The home nation does not devote a week’s worth of drivel to the deficiencies of the violent nation that killed the child. This is news, folks.

Obviously, I am referring to the small child , seven years old , whose head was recipient of a slug on a Sicilian road. The shot was fired by local Mafia hoods whose livelihood is derived from robbing innocents on the highway: original highwaymen. The parents were American, and when it was obvious that the child was dead, they donated as many of the child’s organs as possible to American children. Well, no. They donated it to Italian children, the very people who normally would be expected to be shamed in the American press for being so violent. They said nothing about the violence of the hosts. They said nothing about how their nation was better. They derived nothing from it but immense respect from their host nation and the world. They may not even write a book about the incident but if they do, the profits will go to charity, you just know.

The Italians, who are most reluctant to donate body parts to help others of their countrymen live, were appropriately shamed, grateful, and self-examining after this. They did not react as if their manhood was on the line and draw all sorts of conclusions about their intuitive superiorities if all the facts were known. The incident may die down and be forgotten as a media event in respectful amounts of time.

Compare this with the incidents of the Japanese youth shot in the United States. First, he was older and on his own, but a child to a degree. Second, he could - arguably - be viewed as a trespasser, although that is stretching it. In any event, he was on private property. True, you cannot help but think the Texan who shot him had been giddy with excitement about killing someone and that this was the high point of his life, but there was a whiff of mere mistake about the whole thing. Not so in Sicily. Now compare the reaction of the American press with that of Japan, where it was treated as if 45% of all Japanese youth had been wiped out. The incident was used, much like the Japanese reporter in Natural Born Killers, as if it was another example of inferiority by these inbred, racially impure Americans.

There is so much wrong in the US that it is nice to view how the Sicilian incident has been treated. No sweeping generalizations about Sicilians. No racial remarks. Restrained respect for the parents and family of the child, who have made no effort to cash in. This compares most favorably to the Japanese incident, and speaks volumes about Japan’s racial and self-centered universe. The Japanese are no more better or worse than other people, but the decided problems of an essentially racially pure island nation are revealed in a concordance of these two, small events.