couversaka comments

Posted in: Doraemon topples Godzilla's audience figure record See in context

I was surprised when I read how much money the Tsuribaka Nisshi (釣りバカ日)/Fisherman Fool's Diary has made since the first film in the series in 1988. There have been 21 films since that one, most recently in 2009, and they have all done fairly well in Japanese theatres. And yet I don't think the series has been exported much at all outside of Japan.

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Posted in: Japan executes three death-row inmates See in context

When you try to describe what the term "civilized" means, you are making a category error - you are taking your own personal definition of civility, and applying it to other circumstances and cultures which may not share your particular definition. So your argument becomes, "I have an aesthetic distaste for the death penalty. I think it's icky, and people who use it are icky."

That's fine (de gustibus non est disputandum and all that...), but it's hardly a robust moral argument. For one thing, I doubt the people of Japan, by and large, look at the death penalty in terms of "fear" at all. My observation is that it is considered a natural outcome of an individual's bad choices, much like how a river's natural outcome is usually the sea. Society's role, in this view, is merely to guide the individual toward the natural outcome.

We run into a lot of trouble when we try to lift moral concepts phrased in the terms and conceptual boundaries of Greco-Roman-Renaissance-Modern-etc. western thought, and superimpose them on top of Japan. Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and Hong Kong are all developed nations which maintain the death penalty, and I don't see their civility being diminished as a result.

Your last remark is merely an argumentum ad populum comparing Japan to most western nations, which is simply not going to work here, because Japan - while a MODERN nation - is not a WESTERN nation. You should think about the importance of social order in a culture like that of Japan, and think about how your ideas about civility might not even make conceptual sense when applied to the Japanese model.

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Posted in: Japan executes three death-row inmates See in context

I don't see how the execution of convicted murderers is incompatible with civility. I would argue that Japan in many respects demonstrates a greater degree of civility in day-to-day life than my home nation of Canada. Japan has the death penalty and Canada does not, but this has little if any practical bearing on the civility of either nation.

For that matter, Japan's rate of murder is almost six times lower than that of Canada. So even if we're using a crude "body count" measure in which we lump together executions and criminal homicides as equally wrong, Japan still comes out far ahead.

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Posted in: Japan executes three death-row inmates See in context

The least-messy and most-humane method of execution is probably helium asphyxiation via a breathing mask, combined with a sedative. But, tradition has its place I suppose.

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Posted in: Japan executes three death-row inmates See in context

I don't see any problem as long as their guilt is not in question. Hence, the best thing to do is to ensure fair and transparent investigations and trials for death row cases.

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Posted in: In Japan, gun ownership is a privilege, not a right See in context

I think our laws are reasonable in Canada. Gun ownership is a part of our history, and the laws respect this fact. It was not very difficult for me to obtain my restricted-class possession and acquisition license, which permits the ownership of a range of rifles, shotguns, and handguns, along with ammunition, but it did entail training and a background check.

This includes weapons that the media seems insistent upon calling "assault rifles," though in Canada, the magazines are limited to a five-round capacity.

If there is one proviso I'd like to see integrated into the law, it would be a rural/woodlands pistol permit. Right now, it's technically illegal in Canada to carry a pistol with you out into remote or bear-ridden areas without obtaining a permit known as an Authorization to Carry from the RCMP. This is fairly difficult, and as a result, the law is widely ignored in some rural areas. Considering that it is already legal to carry a shotgun with you in the wilderness for self-defensive purposes, I don't see the need to also bar the carriage of handguns under the same circumstances.

But otherwise, the laws seem to work well for us. I think the whole of Canada only had something like 150 gun homicides last year.

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Posted in: In Japan, gun ownership is a privilege, not a right See in context

I think our laws are reasonable in Canada. Gun ownership is a part of our history, and the laws respect this fact. It was not very difficult for me to obtain my restricted-class possession and acquisition license, which permits the ownership of a range of rifles, shotguns, and handguns, along with ammunition, but it did entail training and a background check.

If there is one proviso I'd like to see integrated into the law, it would be a rural/woodlands pistol permit. Right now, it's technically illegal in Canada to carry a pistol with you out into remote or bear-ridden areas without obtaining a permit known as an Authorization to Carry from the RCMP. This is fairly difficult, and as a result, the law is widely ignored in some rural areas. Considering that it is already legal to carry a shotgun with you in the wilderness for self-defensive purposes, I don't see the need to also bar the carriage of handguns under the same circumstances.

But otherwise, the laws seem to work well for us. I think the whole of Canada only had something like 150 gun homicides last year.

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Posted in: At least 5 die in shootings on bloody Chicago day See in context

Chicagoans should be ashamed of themselves. Why do they tolerate this? Why are they too lazy to demand change?

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Posted in: Japan executes two death-row inmates See in context

Apart from the United States, Japan is the only major industrialized democracy to carry out capital punishment,

I guess it depends how you define "major," but Taiwan carried out five executions in 2011, and four in 2010.

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Posted in: Man dies after being beaten in Roppongi club See in context

This is what happens when citizens are disarmed. Even one legally-armed civilian with a pistol could have put a swift end to this murderous rampage.

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Posted in: 4 Japanese climbers presumed dead after avalanche on Mt McKinley See in context

It's unfortunate, but I've met some of these Japanese mountain climbers in Alaska, and they are so very excited and happy to be where they are... it's tough to imagine that they died doing anything other than what they had planned. These are not ignorant people - they know that there is a risk of death - but you really have to meet them on the way to the slopes to understand their desire to go climbing. This is something that Alaskans (and Canadians in the Yukon) can tell you about.

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Posted in: 6 dead after Seattle cafe shooting See in context

Seattle is a total hellhole. I'm shocked that people still choose to live there.

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Posted in: Tokyo mega-quake would kill over 9,600, simulation shows See in context

The city of Sendai was located 130km from the epicentre of the Tōhoku-chihō - a 9.0 - and it suffered very little catastrophic damage from the quake itself. The buildings held up very well. The problem in the Tokyo Bay region is that there is much more fill than in Sendai. Sendai did not suffer liquefaction; most of the city is built on sturdy ground.

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Posted in: Hunters kill brown bear in residential area of Sapporo See in context

I've hunted black bears in Canada. They are overpopulated, and they become a serious danger if they begin to interact with human settlements.

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Posted in: Norwegian shipper: Kill pirates on the spot See in context

The pirates commit numerous violent crimes even before they hijack cargo ships. Hundreds of Yemeni dhows have been hijacked by the pirates, with crews often killed or tossed overboard.

Those dhows are then used as low-profile stalking and surveillance ships that relay information to speedboats. This is not a peaceful enterprise. The main victims of piracy are local Yemeni fisherman along with impoverished workers at ports like Mombasa who are now unemployed since no one wants to dock there anymore.

The pirates have thus far refused to share any of the proceeds from their ransoms with these victims of their crimes.

The existing hostages are, unfortunately, as good as dead.

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Posted in: 6 dead, 37 injured in attack on Mexican nightclub See in context

That's bad news; this took place in Guadalajara's club district, and not some grim barrio up in Juarez.

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Posted in: 27 asylum seekers die as boat sinks off Australia See in context

If they were sailing toward Christmas Island, they already would have passed by Indonesia. Why did they skip over Indonesia and head into those dangerous seas instead?

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Posted in: What do you think of Wikipedia? See in context

I notice that Japanese-language Wikipedia has a lot fewer photos than English-language Wikipedia. I wonder why this is the case.

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Posted in: 7 killed in shootout in Acapulco See in context

Well, we also have to note that there are two different Acapulos. The same with Cancún, Puerto Vallarta, or any other Mexican beach resort. The tourist strip is quite secure, and is not really connected to the "interior" - the broader region of houses and bars where the "locals" live and eat and drink.

This is where the violence takes place, since even the cartels have a financial interest in pushing their "product" onto tourists. They know better than to sever one of their own revenue streams.

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Posted in: Police chief decapitated in northern Mexico town See in context

It's sad; Nuevo Leon and Chihuahua states are in near-total social breakdown right now. Then there is the ongoing war in Reynosa, Tamaulipas. The real question is, can Matamoros escape the bulk of the violence? Because with CJ and NL both on the wane, that port of entry has been picking up a lot of business.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Posted in: New border violence erupts with Mexico cartel rift See in context

Mexican cartels use military weaponry. Not small-calibre semi-automatic civilian weapons that are sold in the US.

Try again...

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Posted in: Gunmen kill 13 in southern Mexican town See in context

Sounds like "la guerra" is becoming more intense down in Oaxaca.

The Mexican people as a whole need to rise up against the cartels and corrupt officials, and arm themselves heavily for personal protection. That's how El Paso manages to keep violence so low despite being directly opposite from the open warzone of Ciudad Juárez - in CJ, average citizens are disarmed and helpless against the unregulated cartel "sicarios."

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Posted in: 13 young students murdered at party in Mexico border city See in context

Sadly, this is not surprising. The level of violence in CJ has been extremely high for over 2 years now, and there is an entire generation of criminal sociopaths in that area who will kill anyone for virtually any reason.

Mexico really needs to crack down on these murderers. But so far, the Mexican state has refused to do so. Oh, sure, there are some symbolic deployments of military units. But how often do they actually effect arrests? They don't have proper investigative capabilities.

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Posted in: Lone shooter kills 8 in central Virginia See in context

Sounds like a domestic dispute, if seven of the dead were in a single house.

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Posted in: Mexico reports 69 drug-related murders in one day See in context

The point is, when you get hit by a "team" of 50 zealots and ex-soldiers, you are not going to prevail. That is what often happens in Mexico. Labour is cheap; the cartels can throw wave after wave of men after any given "problem." If you make yourself a problem, you will die. It doesn't matter if you are well-armed, or if you are a cop, or even (increasingly) if you are in Arizona rather than Chihuahua or Sinaloa.

If the cartels want you dead, you die. The cartels have people within the US Border Patrol and the FBI working for them. How do you plan to deal with that?

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Posted in: Mexico reports 69 drug-related murders in one day See in context

Well, the cartels fight each other to a large extent. The death toll is high because both sides are heavily-armed, often with actual Browning machine guns mounted on armoured SUVs, as well as grenades and RPGs from El Salvador's old civil war.

Unfortunately, the figure of "69 drug-related murders" only refers to the bodies that were actually found. Many more are dissolved in acid and never found. Look into the case of "El Pozolero" (The Stewmaker) for more details about that horrific aspect of the drug wars.

I always laugh at Americans who think that their puny little semiauto handguns or civilian rifles would be any good against a cartel attack. Look; the top cartels have weapons like the AT4 anti-tank missile. You'd die if you tried to fight them with a Winchester or Sig-Sauer.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Posted in: 2 men decapitated, 2 women killed on Mexico border See in context

Some are targeted; some are random. For instance, if a cartel wants to extort money from a bar owner, and the owner holds out, the cartel won't necessarily kill the owner or burn down the bar right away. That would eliminate the chance of future payments.

Instead, the cartel will raid the bar, kidnap several customers at random, and torture/execute them. That terrifies everyone, and forces the bar owner to pay up.

But that's Mexico for you... that's just how it is down there. Can't really change it; it's just part of their culture.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Posted in: 13 slain in single day in Mexican border city See in context

29 people have been killed in Juarez in the past 24 hours, bringing the year's murder total to 61 for the year.

It's kind of incredible to think about how Juarez - a city of 1.6 million or so - has more than twice as many murders each year as the entire nation of Japan - a country of 127 million.

But that's Mexico for you...

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Posted in: Police shoot man attacking Muhammad cartoonist in Denmark See in context

Wait; why didn't the cartoonist have a firearm with him?

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Posted in: Gunmen attack mosque in Pakistani city; 35 killed See in context

Rifles and pistols protect against grenade attacks?

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