February 20, 2015 | Killing of Japanese teenager

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Sometimes possible terrorist incidents arise from the strangest of circumstances.

They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

The full quote, attributed to the English writer Oscar Wilde, is actually “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery that mediocrity can pay to greatness.” In this typical Wilde witticism we see that those unable to use their own creativity and imagination to come up with something original are left with copying the achievements of others. Now THAT is not very flattering, is it?

In the realm of crime we often come across instances where a particular incident is described as ‘copycat’. Some different or unusual illegal act is committed and all of sudden everyone wants to get on the bandwagon. So it is not just exalted, inspiring deeds which are emulated.

On this day in 2015 a 13-year old youth in Kawasaki, Japan, Ryota Uemura, was found stabbed to death by a riverbank.

Right after the US decided that sending (suspected) terrorists to Guantanamo was a good idea (it was not in my humble view), Islamist terrorist groups copied the US military practice of cladding their inmates in orange jumpsuits. And, on several occasions, these groups would issue horrific videos in which their hostages, dressed in orange, were beheaded.

And then there are events that are really hard to process.

Killing of Japanese teenager Ryota Uemura

On this day in 2015 a 13-year old youth in Kawasaki, Japan, Ryota Uemura, was found stabbed to death by a riverbank. His throat had been slashed from behind and the Japanese tabloid press immediately concluded that the perpetrators had been Islamic State (ISIS) ‘wannabes’ were behind the horrible murder. The killers were 17 and 18 years old.

As it turns out the young lad was killed because he would not engage in shoplifting for the older members of the gang. It is far from certain that the three were ‘inspired’ by ISIS execution videos. This may have simply been a disgusting act of violence by a group of teens who picked on someone younger.

There is of course a larger issue here. A lot of people have called for videos such as those posted by ISIS and other terrorist organisations to be removed from the Internet and social media platforms so that no one else can use them to plan their own acts of depravity. While there are efforts being made in this regard, however, it is a lot harder than it sounds.

There will always be those not bright enough to come up with their own ideas and who will merely do what others before them have. These include terrorists: many believe for example that the use of suicide bombers was perfected by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in Sri Lanka and now look how prevalent that MO is.

As noted in yesterday’s Today in Terrorism piece Japan is rarely affected by acts of terrorism. I am not so sure I agree with the Japanese tabloids that Ryota was killed by ISIS wannabes. His death was just the result of some very, very stupid older teens.

RIP Ryota Uemura.


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