Why Did High School Suspect Have Yearning for Indiscriminate Killing?

What was lurking in the high school student’s heart? The background of the incident must be uncovered, and society as a whole must consider how similar incidents can be prevented from occurring.

Just after noon on March 1, a 17-year-old male high school student with a knife allegedly entered the third floor of a school building and slashed a male teacher at a municipal junior high school in Toda, Saitama Prefecture. The students at the junior high school were unharmed, but the teacher sustained multiple injuries to his upper body.

The high school student, who was arrested at the scene on suspicion of attempted murder, was not a graduate of the school and had never met the teacher. He was quoted as telling police: “I wanted to kill someone. It didn’t matter who.”

On the day of the attack, finals were being held at the school. The teacher, who was supervising the examinations in a classroom, reportedly scuffled with the high school student after having the students evacuate the classroom. The situation was extremely dangerous, as the junior high students could have been harmed depending on the circumstances.

The students must have been greatly shocked by the atrocity of the act, which occurred at a school in broad daylight. The school should work with counselors to provide mental and emotional support.

The high school student was allegedly in possession of several bladed objects at the time. He was quoted as saying, “I had a yearning to kill indiscriminately.” Last month, the mutilated bodies of cats were found one after another in neighboring Saitama City, where the high school student lives, and the police said he also stated, “That was me.”

There have been many cases of animal abuse as a prelude to serious incidents. The high school student is also reported to have stated, “I got a rise out of watching videos of such cruelty.” It is important to elucidate the multifaceted aspects of the process that caused such cruelty to grow in his mind.

It is essential to examine the high school student’s upbringing and internet browsing history in detail and analyze his psychological condition at the time of the alleged crime. It is also necessary to clarify why he targeted the junior high school.

It is also crucial to reexamine the administration of safety at schools. In response to the mass murder and injuring of children at Ikeda Elementary School attached to Osaka Kyoiku University in 2001, the Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry produced a manual to help prevent intruders, and requested schools to strengthen measures.

The manual requires schools to establish rules such as asking visitors to wear name tags and to have at least two teachers or staff deal with suspicious persons.

Each school must check carefully whether such measures are being taken on a regular basis. It is also advised not to forget to lock school gates. It is vital to conduct regular drills to be prepared for emergencies.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, March 5, 2023)