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A frightening world where people are afraid to leave their homes

A frightening world where people are afraid to leave their homes

Posted August. 05, 2023 07:53,   

Updated August. 05, 2023 07:53


On Thursday, a man in his 20s drove a car into the sidewalk near Seohyeon Station in Bundang, Gyeonggi Province, and brandished a weapon, seriously injuring 14 people. This incident is particularly shocking as a similar knife attack occurred at Sillim Station in Gwanak-gu, Seoul just 13 days prior. Concerningly, online posts foreshadowing similar crimes in locations like Seoul, Gyeonggi, and Busan have emerged, with more than 10 articles specifying the time and place of the planned attacks. Authorities are actively investigating the situation.

Choi (22), the suspect in the Seohyeon Station case, was once a talented information Olympiad winner in middle school. However, he dropped out of high school due to his schizophrenic personality disorder. On the day of the crime, Choi deliberately rammed his car into passers-by near a department store during work hours. Subsequently, he entered the store and wreaked havoc with a weapon. All the victims had no personal connection with Choi. The incidents at Sillim Station and Seohyeon Station are all the more shocking as they were perpetrated in ordinary living spaces like subway stations and department stores, targeting an unspecified number of people, using readily available tools that anyone can easily obtain. It has become a frightening world where people are afraid to leave their homes with a sense of fear that “there is no safe place anywhere.”

Regarding the Seohyeon Station incident, the police are placing more emphasis on the possibility that it was caused by mental illness rather than being a copycat crime. Nevertheless, there remains a significant risk of similar crimes recurring due to the continuous circulation of crime notices. The day after the Seohyeon Station incident, a man in his 20s was arrested at the express bus terminal in Seocho-gu, Seoul, after being reported as a “suspicious person” and apprehended by the police with a weapon. It is crucial to identify and penalize the publishers of these crime notices, while also enhancing patrols in crowded areas. The security guard was the first to suffer damage during the Seohyeon Station incident. Measures must be taken to strengthen the self-security systems in multi-use facilities such as department stores and supermarkets.

The police have classified the Seohyeon Station incident as an act of terrorism due to its ability to instill fear in the public, as anyone could potentially become a victim. Unlike the U.S. or Europe, Korea has traditionally experienced minimal racial or religious conflicts and has maintained good security. The rise of anti-social terrorism involving vehicles or weapons is therefore a concerning sign. These crimes targeting random individuals typically occur in societies where competition is intense, and the wealth gap is significant. To address this issue fundamentally, it becomes essential to address social polarization and strengthen the social safety net, ensuring that the marginalized have a sense of belonging within society.