Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Kino's Journey II: Chapter 4


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<<Chapter 3

Chapter 4: Country of Free Press

The Media del Press Daily
Year 893, 5th of the Month of the Deer

Yesterday afternoon, a traveler (age unknown) opened fire on a nearby office worker (male, age 55) on 56th Street in the Western District. The victim survived with serious injuries. The police declared the incident a case of justified self-defense. The traveler, who entered the country on the 2nd, left the country on the evening of the incident. Public discourse on persuader control and the definition of justified self-defense is expected to intensify.

Shots were fired yesterday at 11:29 AM on 56th Street in the Western District. A scuffle broke out between a traveler visiting on a tourist visa and a passing office worker when the office worker approached the traveler’s motorrad, angering the latter. The victim stepped towards the traveler, who took out a persuader and fired two shots with no warning. The victim sustained bullet wounds to the right shoulder and leg. He was taken to a nearby hospital by emergency services and will require a month of hospitalization.
The traveler was taken into immediate custody, but testified that the victim attempted to steal the motorrad and became violent first. The traveler claimed justified self-defense, which the police acknowledged. The traveler was permitted to leave the country in the evening.
The West Gate area on 56th Street, where the incident took place, is a popular area often packed with lunchtime shoppers. The incident caused a large commotion, but no one else was injured.

Other incidents deemed cases of justified self-defense include a case on the 1st in the Southern District when a police officer fired 14 shots without warning and killed a young man who lunged at another officer. The police were quick to declare it a case of justified self-defense, sparking a grassroots protest calling the incident ‘an act of police brutality’. (SEE PAGE 39 FOR RELATED ARTICLE.)

Shots and screams filled the peaceful city yesterday at noon. Someone had fired a persuader in the middle of a street packed with shoppers.
A man falling to the ground, bleeding from his shoulder and leg. A young woman desperately attempting first aid. And—according to witnesses—a traveler looking on coldly, persuader in hand.
The victim was a 55-year-old office worker employed by the country’s top medical equipment company. He was visiting the area yesterday on business. The incident occurred right after he and his colleagues stepped out of a nearby restaurant after lunch.
According to his colleagues, the victim was engaged in conversation when he spotted a motorrad parked on the street and approached it. He was praising the motorrad to his colleagues when the traveler—the motorrad’s owner—came in angrily and gave the man a threatening warning.
According to his colleagues, the victim responded in a friendly tone, but the traveler ignored him and again loudly commanded him to ‘step away from [the] motorrad’. When the victim stepped forward to again warn the traveler, the traveler fired two shots without warning. The victim fell to the ground, bleeding from his shoulder and leg.
The victim was taken to hospital for immediate surgery, and will require one month of hospitalization to recover from his injuries. Most severe was the wound on his right leg, where the bullet missed a major artery by only a few centimeters.
According to the lead surgeon, “[He] could have been killed if the shot had gotten any closer.” The victim is still reeling from shock and his memories of the incident are hazy as a result.
“How could this have happened?” said a family member who rushed to the hospital, despondent. When informed that the police declared the traveler’s actions an act of ‘justified self-defense’, she replied, “How is it right to let someone off the hook for shooting a man for no reason? Justice is dead.”
“The police are only fanning injustice,” says the victim’s lawyer, who is preparing to file a lawsuit against the police on his client’s behalf. “We cannot let this madness continue.”


Tony Methone, former judge of the Southern District Court
The traveler is said to have opened fire without good cause. It is not difficult to imagine that the traveler was banking on departing quickly with easy impunity thanks to being of a traveler status. The traveler opened fire without warning—a clear sign of hostility and cunning. That the traveler was not detained and made to stand trial is a defeat for the state and its rule of law. I am very disappointed.

Nyahe Luatoba, Chairman of the Civilian Watchdogs of Police
The police have been far too lax on unwarranted persuader use recently, claiming that looser controls will save more lives. Conveniently enough, this incident took place only days after the police brutality incident occurred and sparked heated debate on persuader control and justified self-defense. Perhaps the ‘traveler’ was never meant to be arrested to begin with, and is now receiving a generous pay-off somewhere outside our borders.

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The Media del Press Daily
Year 893, 7th of the Month of the Deer

Readers’ Comments

Betino Teteths (28/Female/Homemaker)
When I heard the Media del Press Daily news on the 4th, I found myself flinching. The incident with the traveler firing on the man shocked me to the core.
The police are under fire for their decision to deem the incident a case of justified self-defense, but I feel that the immigrations office at the gates should be held responsible.
Persuader ownership requires police clearance even for the most upstanding of citizens, with easily portable hand persuaders requiring a particularly rigorous background check. And yet the traveler was allowed to enter with a clearly-visible persuader, and was allowed to leave the country on the very day of the incident as though nothing had ever happened. I was appalled all throughout the news report, and by the time the coverage turned to the hospitalized victim, I was muttering out loud without even realizing.
My five-year-old son asked me if I was all right, looking terrified. I told him that I was, and gave the sweet boy a hug. At the same time, I seethed with anger at the cold-hearted traveler. The immigrations office should never have allowed an armed person to cross our walls! We need stronger border control for the safety of our children.

Anné Erètts (7/Female/Elementary school student)
Something very sad happened near my house. A man who wanted to look at a motorrad was shot by the motorrad’s owner. The poor man was hurt in his shoulder and his leg.
Why did you shoot him, Traveler? I don’t understand.
You said, ‘because I thought he was going to steal my motorrad’. But I think he just wanted to see your cool motorrad from up close. It must have hurt so much. It must have hurt his mom and dad too. Don’t you know what a mom and dad must feel? You must have a mom and a dad back home. How would you feel if your mom and dad got hurt?
People use persuaders to hurt or kill people and animals. I wish persuaders were gone. Then no one would get hurt.
Please throw away your persuader, Traveler. And please be a good person.

Eliza Brow (64/Female/Homemaker)
When the previous issue of this paper announced the results of the baby panda naming contest, I was as excited as anyone. After all, I had submitted a humble entry of my own.
My submission was ‘Lea’. Easy enough for children to remember, and it would evoke the image of a happy panda playing in the wilderness. I trembled in awe when I first came up with the name.
But imagine my shock when I found that ‘Lea’ had not even been placed on the rankings, let alone selected!
The announcement declared that the winning name was ‘Leaf’. Only one letter longer than my own submission.
When I realized that ‘Lea’ had not been chosen, I was at peace with the decision; my sensibilities simply didn’t mesh with those of the judges. But that the winning submission is so similar to my ‘Lea’ bothers me.
According to the announcement, the winning entry was submitted by a 17-year-old girl from the Northern District. But I find it questionable that a young girl with so little life experience could create an entry deserving of first place.
I realize that it is not good to suspect others, but I simply cannot help but wonder if someone on the panel was so enamored with my entry that they decided to change it and enter it again under the name of a teenaged girl.
Similar submission contests have been in the past plagued with such suspicions. This contest may be no exception.
Perhaps future submission contests should be mandated to have some sort of an ombudsman group to make absolutely certain that the real winner is properly credited for her work.

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The News Works Times
Year 893, 5th of the Month of the Deer

Yesterday afternoon, a traveler (age unknown) opened fire on an office worker (male, age 55) who touched the traveler’s motorrad without permission. The traveler issued a clear warning to the man before opening fire, but the man resisted and the traveler was forced to retaliate. The police declared the incident a case of justified self-defense, and the traveler was allowed to safely leave the country on the evening of the incident.

Yesterday at 11:28 AM on 56th Street, a traveler who arrived two days earlier on a tourist visa discovered a drunk man touching and attempting to ride the traveler’s motorrad without permission. In spite of multiple warnings, the man was too intoxicated to respond properly and even lunged at the traveler, who continued to try and reason with him. The traveler was forced to fire two shots from a hand persuader (22mm automatic model), shooting the man in his right shoulder and right leg. The drunk man was quickly taken to hospital, and will only require a week of hospitalization.
Police were immediately on the scene and questioned the traveler, but eyewitness testimony cleared the traveler of charges. The traveler was allowed to leave the country safely yesterday evening, harboring no ill feelings towards our country, according to police.
The injured man was completely drunk at the time of the incident, claiming to remember nothing at the hospital. He was given a stern warning by police.

The deterioration of public safety has rapidly become one of the country’s chief concerns. One of the most prominent recent cases in point was the drug addict incident on the 1st, when a drug-addled man severely injured his physician and escaped the hospital, swinging a kitchen knife at a patrolling officer to take his persuader. Another officer opened fire at the attacker, preventing any further casualties. (SEE SOCIETY SECTION FOR RELATED ARTICLE.)

Maybe he thought he could get away with anything. Why else would a grown man try to approach someone else’s property without permission, in spite of multiple warnings?
The point everyone needs to remember is that the man who escaped with minor injuries in yesterday’s incident was completely drunk at the time.
Just before the incident, the would-be thief had lunch at a nearby restaurant for business. The server testified that the man and his colleagues had imbibed large quantities of alcohol, and were chatting loudly to the point of bothering the other patrons. When the server requested that they quiet down, the man had instead roared at him to ‘shut up’.
The motorrad must have caught the drunk man’s eye when he left the restaurant. No one knows what it must have looked like to him, but he went up to it without a second thought and touched the handle and fuel tank without permission, and even attempted to ride it. That was when the owner came back, having gone to pick up a sandwich for lunch.
The eyewitness accounts add up: at first the traveler politely pointed out that the man did not own the motorrad, at which point he became furious.
‘Who do you think I am, you think you’re the boss of me?’, ‘I used to ride one of these back in the day. It’s mine now’, ‘go home, kid’, are among the things he said to the traveler, according to testimony. The traveler remained calm and attempted to reason with the man, but he refused to listen. Perhaps provoked by the traveler’s serenity, he kicked the motorrad and lunged at the former with a roar. It was only then that the traveler opened fire.
The shot struck the man in the right shoulder, but he continued to charge forward, which forced the traveler to shoot his leg. Only then did the man finally stop.

Hospital officials claim that the traveler’s persuader is a small-caliber model with low firepower, and that it could not kill a man unless shot directly at the head or chest. The two wounds sustained by the would-be thief were clearly nonlethal, especially thanks to the skilled traveler taking aim at places that were least likely to kill him.


Wole Tadato, former Director of Ministry of Defense
The traveler’s actions were perfectly legal and acceptable within the bounds of self-defense, and were simply an extension of defending one’s property. Witness testimony shows that the drunk man was the initial aggressor, and the traveler attempted to verbally convince him otherwise. And yet the man tried to attack. It would be unthinkable to not defend oneself in such a situation. I praise the police force and their decision to declare the incident a case of justified self-defense.

Tenoste Tenosno, Chairperson of Alliance of Parents Bereaved by Alcohol Use
The attempted theft has likely ruined our country in the traveler’s eyes now, giving us the appearance of an uncivilized place full of outlaws. But things would have been worse had the police taken him or her into custody for assault. I would like to applaud the police’s judgement.
It is about time that we stop lightening sentences for criminals who commit crimes under the influence. Stricter punishments must be enforced, and underage drinking rooted out. It is too late to have regrets when your own child has been killed by someone under the influence of alcohol.

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The News Works Times
Year 893, 7th of the Month of the Deer

Readers’ Comments

Eliza Brow (64/Female/Homemaker)
When the previous issue of this paper announced the results of the baby panda naming contest, I was as excited as anyone. After all, I had submitted a humble entry of my own.
My submission was ‘Lea’. Easy enough for children to remember, and it would evoke the image of a happy panda playing in the wilderness. I trembled in awe when I first came up with the name.
But imagine my shock when I found that ‘Lea’ had not even been placed on the rankings, let alone selected!
The announcement declared that the winning name was ‘Leaf’. Only one letter longer than my own submission.
When I realized that ‘Lea’ had not been chosen, I was at peace with the decision; my sensibilities simply didn’t mesh with those of the judges. But that the winning submission is so similar to my ‘Lea’ bothered me. It upset me even more because I’ve submitted entries to similar contests so many times.
But I will not let it bring down my spirits. Failure is the mother of success, they say. Even if my relatives complain that this is not something an old woman should be spending her time on, I will continue to submit my ideas to contests like this one.

(Editorial note: This submission has been edited for publication.)

Norgan Hetney (76/Male/Unemployed)
I was astonished when I heard that the man injured in the shooting case on the afternoon of the 4th, along with his parents, are planning to file a suit against the police for deeming the incident a case of justified self-defense.
He drank himself silly before it was noon, laid his hands on someone else’s property and ignored repeated warnings, and went so far as to attempt to use violence. How is this in any way right? Who educated this pitiful man?
People may say that opening fire meant the traveler was willing to kill, but look at the facts. The man was well warned, and the shots only hit his shoulder and leg, one bullet each. I was a police officer fighting crime on the front lines for 40 years, and will note that if I were the traveler and I were intent on killing, I would have aimed for the head or the chest. It is extremely unfair to paint the traveler as the villain just because of the use of a persuader.
Perhaps the public has been far too attuned to the idea that any use of force by a stronger party is wrong. But I ask such people to put themselves in the traveler’s shoes; what would you have done if a drunk man were threatening to rob you, and launched himself at you? I hope my questions will change at least some of your minds.

Anonymity requested (30/Female/Office worker)
The case with the traveler shooting the drunk reminded me of something I went through in the past.
I was 15 years old when I was assaulted in  my own neighborhood.
He was a middle-aged man, bright red with alcohol even though it was the middle of the day. I was so shocked I couldn’t even scream. Completely drunk, the man groped me, made lewd comments, and disappeared snickering.
I sat crouched there for hours before my mother came and found me. She took me immediately to the hospital and contacted the police as well.
The police soon found the man and brought him in. Though I was afraid, I worked up the courage to speak out and told the police that they had found the right man. But the man said that he was the principal of a famous middle school and would not be caught dead doing what I accused him of. That he would sue me and my parents for defamation if I pushed him any further.
Unfortunately, the man was released because of a lack of evidence. The man made many terrible comments to my family before he left. My father did some research later and found that the man was indeed a principal, and an important figure in the education sector to boot.
Several years later, the man died and rumors began spreading about how he was an awful drunk and had verbally abused others at PTA meetings.
It has been 15 years since the incident, and I do not want to speak ill of someone who is already dead. I cannot provide any evidence to prove my claims, either.
But I would like to applaud the police for acknowledging the traveler’s actions as justified self-defense. I still remember the kind words a female officer offered me 15 years ago as I wept at the police station.

* * *

“—that’s what it says, Hermes,” said a human in the middle of the desert.
The desert was wide and flat, stretching on for what seemed like forever. The setting sun cast an orange tint over the sands.
The human who spoke was in her mid-teens, with short black hair, large eyes, and fair features. She wore a black jacket and had a thick belt wrapped around her waist. On her right thigh was a holstered hand persuader.
In her hand was a finished newspaper. Scattered around her were yet more pages.
Nearby stood a motorrad. A rifle-type persuader was leaning against the motorrad, and a large travel bag sat next to it.
“A skilled persuader user who travels on a motorrad,” said the motorrad called Hermes. “That sounds almost like you, Kino. I wonder if anyone’s read these articles and thought, ‘hey, this must be Kino’.”
The human called Kino put on a wry grin. “Cut me some slack, Hermes. I wouldn’t suddenly open fire in the middle of town like this.”
“True,” Hermes admitted, and paused. “…Say, why do you think this traveler fired, then?”
Kino turned her gaze to the setting sun. “I can’t really tell from the articles. Maybe this person’s a sadist who enjoys shooting people, or a hero who knows when to stand up for what’s right. Or maybe both.”
“You’re right. …You know, these articles are missing something really important. Can you guess what it is?”
“No,” Kino replied, curious. Hermes quickly answered.
“The motorrad’s agency. What bothers me is that they didn’t they get any comments from the victim here. How is this any kind of free press? It’s ridiculous.”
Hermes complained for some time. The sky went from orange to purple and soon the stars began twinkling.
Kino took a blanket out of her luggage and laid it out on the sand, and put on her brown coat. Then she checked that the rifle leaning against Hermes was loaded, looked into the scope, and placed it next to the blanket.
“By the way, Kino? Why did you pick these articles to bring, anyway?” Hermes asked out of the blue.
“It was just a coincidence. They’re from some old newspapers I got. And I’m using them for this,” Kino replied, and stripped away the pages one by one. Then she wrung out each page like a rag, and stood them up together on the sand as though building a tent. “They’re perfect for kindling when you can’t find any firewood around. Newspaper burns really well if you know how to use it.”
Kino struck a match against her boot, and lit the newspaper.
“So it doesn’t matter to me what’s on the pages.”

Countless stars twinkled in the dark purple sky.

A small flame flickered to life on the dark ground below.

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