Monday, August 11, 2008

2008 Beijing Olympics: Attack on Americans

A few hours after after the Beijing 2008 Olympics opening ceremonies, a Chinese man stabbed 2 Americans at the Drum Tower in a random act of violence. This has been distributed in the western media as well as the local expat population in Beijing. It seemed like people were somewhat on edge this past weekend.

Some have also suggested that this could lessen the Olympics and China's organization of it. ESPN recently had an awesome article that said it clearly.

What the Chinese know now is that even the most prodigious planning cannot prevent every bad occurrence. We don't know whether this was indiscriminate, individual violence or something larger, or whether the victims were singled out because of race or nationality. However, a U.S. State Department release Saturday said, "Based on the information available, this incident does not appear to have been a targeted attack, but, rather, a random isolated incident."

And those can happen anywhere, as most Americans know all too well. So does the rest of the world. A man recently stabbed and beheaded a fellow passenger on a Greyhound bus in a remote section of Canada, seemingly out of the blue.

Bad people can do bad things almost anywhere -- even at the Olympics. The people of Atlanta learned that horrible lesson 12 years ago in the Centennial Olympic Park bombing.

That act did not define America or Americans, and this act shouldn't define China or Chinese. But for a people who have invested so much effort into these Olympics -- so much of their self-worth -- this was a devastating occurrence. Especially in a country with a low rate of violence.

Here's to ESPN journalistic foresight.

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