A Stab in the Dark

A wild stabbing spree took place outside of the Apple Store downtown, police sources said.

The violence took place at around 6 p.m., at the corner of 14th Street and 9th Avenue. Four people were stabbed, although none of the injuries were life threatening, the sources said.

That’s it.  At its initial posting, that is the entirety of the NBC New York article on the stabbing outside an Apple Store.

Contrast that with the punditry that arose immediately after the Akihabara stabbing.

Why the double standard? Both cases are ultimately senseless crimes, where one man – for reasons we will never fully understand – inexplicably decided that attempting to kill random bystanders with a knife was a good idea. In the Akihabara incident, much was made of factors that the victims and the perpetrator had in common.

Many young people are selfish and immature and such violence is a manifestation of this.

– Unnamed criminologist quoted by the BBC

The Sunday Times was also not above emphasizing the abnormality of the victims, calling the stabbing “the arrival of real-life violence in a part of town that specialises in fantasies.”

That phrasing could just as easily apply to Los Angeles, or to New York.  Where are the talking heads, eager to dismiss the New York stabbing as something that happens in a land of fantasy?  In a sense, perhaps a multiple stabbing in New York is relatively unremarkable, especially on the heels of shooting in Times Square.  But the contrasting reactions serve as a stark reminder that anime otaku are treated differently by news media, even in the West.

2 thoughts on “A Stab in the Dark”

  1. I think I went to that Apple store when I was visiting New York City.

    That video of Akiba stabbing case is very “Wide Show” or tabloidish TV. They reported like “they finally did it” as if this was going to happen inevitably. This “they” includes victims as you pointed out. That weird BGM, kimoi sound effect. A skinny geeky glasses, interested in military goods. His room was empty except doujin magazines, singing exclusively ani-son at karaoke. Only interested in 2-D world. Very biased. The mainstream media is still spewing this garbage. Haven’t really changed since Miyazaki incident in 1989.

    I don’t think New York incident would be on Wide Show. It doesn’t have a quality of Wide Show.

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