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    Information emerging about school bomber

    The student who threw a home-made bomb into a classroom full of students on Friday may, the principal admits, have been suffering from bullying. Of a kind:

    On 13 June, Principal Yukio Hironaka of Hikari Prefectural High School, in the city of Hikari, Yamaguchi Prefecture, held a press conference to discuss the incident last Friday in which a bottle bomb exploded after being thrown into a classroom in use, injuring 58 students. Hironaka said, “It is possible that there was bullying, in a broad sense of the term, behind the incident,” acknowledgin the possibility that bullying was the motive for the student (18) who was arrested for throwing the bomb.

    The information is still sketchy, but the Nikkei article goes on to mention something that’s being reported elsewhere: this wasn’t the kind of ijime in which everyone turned on a single student and made him a target. When other students would address him, he would walk away. The Mainichi also says that he was into survival games:

    After graduating from the school, however, all the friends he played survival games with entered other schools and he could not make friends with his new classmates at Hikari High School, leading him to become increasingly isolated.

    Whenever classes were reorganized, his new classmates tried to make friends with him, but he ignored them each time. A few months later, his classmates gave up trying to speak to him, according to the sources.

    There have been cases in which bullying appears to have driven otherwise-healthy children insane. Bullying is hard to take anywhere, but it’s an especially potent force in a society that so stresses group identity and fitting in. The pattern here, to the extent that it’s emerging, is that the student in question rebuffed people who were actually trying to be friendly. There was obviously something going on there, though we probably won’t know what for a while. Incidentally, the bomb was made in a fashion similar to those favored by Palestinian suicide bombers: it contained lots of hard little objects designed to maximize injuries.

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