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Less labeling, more love for the potential Cheng Cheihs

When you stab someone with a knife, it creates two gashes: first by entering the victim and ultimately via the scar left in their loved ones' hearts. It is inevitable that grief gives way to a burning desire to seek vengeance; an urge that would consume even the most logical of people.

We who are not directly affected will then label an attacker as a murderer, a senseless killer, a psychopath or a bloodthirsty student who has dedicated his life to violent mock-battles on the Internet — as was the case in Taipei's recent metro killings. A rare case of random stabbing penetrates the people's deepest fears, as they have no means of detecting where and when the next volley of attacks may occur.

Emotions have been running high and thick as four people lost their lives due to a cowardly act of the lowest degree: their lives were taken only because the aggressor was paving the way for his own death. Having decided he wanted to leave his hateful world at 11 years of age, yet unable to drive the knife into his own heart, the 21-year-old directed the knifepoint at a train full of unarmed civilians instead — it is not difficult to summon fury over this outrageous action.

Society's curiosity also bubbles over. How did he have the audacity? The police said he wanted to do “something big,” and that meant going on a killing rampage on the MRT? Unable to reach a conclusion on our own, we reach out to slap on the second label: the scapegoat.

“The kid does nothing but play violent video games in which he must have practiced endless mock stabs at people,” “his parents are scared to face the ugly truth,” “all they care about is their reputation and the amount of money that their son's rash act will cost them.” Not to mention the last thing a child wants to hear: “my son stays home all the time, all he does is play video games that involve killing,” — parents' attempt to shy away from their flesh and blood or Mom and Dad worrying that they will be attacked by angry crowds when apologizing for their son in public.

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