From 200 Years Ago, a Lesson About Mass Killings

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tags: mass killings, run amok

The scene as described is painfully familiar. Someone snaps, for whatever reason, and sets off on an “aggressive, homicidal, frenzied attack.” In short order, “a lot of people lie dead, and there’s blood everywhere.”

Those words could have readily applied to the American cascade of shooting rampages. But the speaker, Geoffrey Robinson, a professor of Southeast Asian history and politics at the University of California, Los Angeles, was instead offering a glimpse of what life was sometimes like two centuries ago in lands that are the modern Malaysia and Indonesia.

A man — it was almost always a man — would feel he had endured an unbearable indignity. After a period of brooding, he lashed out by attacking everyone in sight with knives or other sharp weapons, hacking away until fellow villagers or the authorities finally killed him.

Read entire article at NYT

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