Japanese in America and guns: Linguistics and caution

Mar 20 09:07 2009 Tom Aaron Print This Article

Looking for a Halloween party, Japanese exchange student Yoshihiro Hattori went to the wrong home. He rang the bell only to be greeted by a Dirty Harry wannabe with a .44 magnum revolver with a laser sight. Hattori became yet another victim of American gun culture.

Yoshihiro Hattori was looking for a Halloween party. Hattori was a Japanese exchange student studying in Louisiana. He drove with his homestay brother to the wrong home,Guest Posting that of Rodney and Bonnie Peairs. Rodney Peairs, a gainfully employed butcher, stepped outside of his home, armed with a .44 magnum revolver with a laser sight. Peairs either felt threatened by a Japanese high school student in a tuxedo or wanted to try out his gun. Peairs said, "Freeze." Hattori apparently did not understand and walked toward Peairs. Peairs shot and killed Hattori.

Newspapers and talk shows in Japan and America repeated again and again that Hattori would have been alive if he had understood the word "freeze," but the problem was not linguistics. Hattori failed to understand that you should normally stop moving when you see someone with a gun. Do not walk toward them. Language is not relevant. This, however, was certainly no excuse for Peairs, a supermarket butcher, to kill a high school student who had come to America to study English. We certainly cannot blame Hattori for his death, even though he made a fatal mistake. We cannot expect him to think that ringing the wrong doorbell will result in a butcher shooting him with a .44 magnum.

Peairs's .44 magnum revolver was the gun popularized by Dirty Harry, who described the gun as "the most powerful handgun in the world". Dirty Harry was holding this gun when he said, "Make my day." A butcher working in a supermarket has little need for such a gun. Few Americans need such a gun, but they are easily available in America. If they were not, Hattori might still be alive today. Peairs had probably seen Dirty Harry in action. Perhaps he fantasized about helping to rid America of crime. Hattori paid the price.

Japan is not 100% free of guns, but it is very close. Some hunters have guns and some of the yakuza, who are Japanese gangsters, have guns, but the average citizen in Japan is highly unlikely to see a gun or be injured by one. Japanese live in much greater danger of choking to death on some rice product, not exactly a death that strikes fear into the Japanese heart. Japanese often imagine that all Americans have guns. While this is obviously false, enough of the wrong people have guns.

The NRA says that when guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns. While Americans are divided on this statement, Japanese are not. Japan is not problem-free, but guns are not a problem worth mentioning. The people of Japanese seem perfectly content with an almost gun free society. Still, many Japanese are in love with America and the freedom and individuality America represents to them. Some of them travel to America and find death instead of freedom. Hattori was neither the first nor the last Japanese to die a violent death in America.

American movies are popular in Japan, including Clint Eastwood movies. A generation of Japanese and Americans watched Dirty Harry movies with fascination and applause, entertained by Clint Eastwood as Dirty Harry. Dirty Harry may not have played by the rules, but he never shot the wrong man. Peairs, a butcher in more ways than one, did.

Japan was outraged and couldn't understand. Many Americans were outraged again over a needless gun death as they had been before and would be again. Still, gun deaths continue in America as guns are easy for anyone to buy legally or illegally. The issue is how much carnage we will see before the United States has the desire and the will to stop these gun deaths.

Source: Free Guest Posting Articles from ArticlesFactory.com

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Tom Aaron
Tom Aaron

You can find Aaron Language Services on the Web at http://www.aaronlanguage.com/ . We provide translation from Japanese to other European languages and back to Japanese, edit English and other European languages, and offer online English coaching to a primarily Japanese client base. If you can't read Japanese, you can always reach us via our personnel page.

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