A Brief History
On March 16, 2001, Jin Ruchao, a Chinese citizen of Hubei Province in China proved once again that a deranged person does not need guns to kill a LOT of people, when he set off a series of bombs in the provincial capital of Shijiazhuang that killed 108 people and injured 38 more. His reason for his wanton murder? He hated his ex-wife and her mother!
As is often the case with people that go off on murderous rampages, Jin had previously threatened to blow up the buildings his ex-wife and her mother lived in. His childhood had been marred by an ear infection that left him deaf, leading to him being bullied in school, and becoming somewhat of a loner. Born on the ominous date of December 7th (1960), Jin was a disaster waiting to happen. His diary showed a bitter and superstitious individual, not the type of person likely to succeed. He had dropped out of school at an early age and began a life of manual labor in factories and suffered the indignity of being convicted of rape in 1988. His irrational bitterness toward his ex-wife included blaming her for his rape conviction and for the traffic accident that left his mother dead and father gravely injured, although his ex had nothing to do with the accident.
When Jin decided to act on his murderous intentions, he purchased some illicit manufactured ammonium nitrate explosives for about $115 (equivalent US dollars). Of course, prior to his “main event,” he first stabbed his girlfriend to death before traveling to Shijiazhuang to plant his bombs. Jin also accumulated some stores of dynamite as well as fuses and detonators to complete his arsenal of explosives to create his bombs, illicit purchases made over a period of time, indicating long planning. The underworld illegal explosive dealers apparently did not think enough to consider how their sales to a deranged person would come back to implicate them in their own crimes.
Jin packed his bombs in sacks marked “chicken feed,” and hired a truck to make his “deliveries,” but was foiled when the truck driver refused to complete the route. Perhaps the driver senses a problem with Jin or his cargo, but in any case did not notify authorities. Jin ended up delivering his bombs to 5 locations around town, mostly “dorms” or apartment buildings, but also a couple of industrial locations as well. He made his deliveries via a rented 3-wheel vehicle, and his last couple deliveries via taxi cab.
With his bombs in place, Jin then traveled via taxi cab to each location to set off the bombs in succession, changing cabs along the way. The first bomb went off at 4:16 in the morning, and the last was detonated at 5:01 in the morning, a bombing rampage that lasted less than an hour. Luckily, some of his bombs were not well placed and did more property damage and less human damage than planned.
Jin quickly was identified as the prime suspect and a manhunt ensued, and after 11 days he was finally arrested. Chinese authorities had offered a $12,000 (US dollar equivalent) reward for his capture and had provided a high degree of descriptions of the bombings, contrary to their frequent downplaying of negative incidents. Jin pled guilty to the charges of murder and other related crimes and was promptly executed on April 29, 2001. No long years of appeals of the death sentence in China! Another 3 men were convicted of having illegally sold about 1300 pounds of explosives and related gear to Jin, and were also sentenced to death and executed.
As we have related in previous articles, determined mass murderers do not require firearms to accomplish their deadly task. Bombs, fire, poison, and even motor vehicles can be used to commit mass murder. Even people bitter over being infected with Herpes or AIDS/HIV have been reputed to purposely spread their disease. (Will we see anyone infected with coronavirus pull that same stunt in 2020?) Over and over again, people that seem to present an obvious threat to society are noticed, but not acted upon due to a lack of public education or official procedure to identify at risk people and have something done to mitigate the danger they may present. Perhaps it is time to stop blaming the tool of the murderer and start blaming the human using the murder weapon. Feel free to share your thoughts on the subject, even those contrary to what we just opined.
Breaking News, Japan: Japanese citizen Sathoshi Uematsu has been sentenced to death for his 2016 murderous rampage of 2016, in which he slaughtered 19 patients at the nursing home he worked at in a city West of Tokyo. Uematsu used a knife to kill 9 men and 10 women, aged 18 to 70, and injured another 26 victims before he stopped his killing and turned himself in at the local police station, bringing his bloody knife with him. CNN reported the death sentence on March 16, 2020. This mass killing again demonstrates the fact that you cannot stop mass killings merely by banning guns or certain types of guns.
Question for students (and subscribers): What can be done to prevent mass murder? Please let us know in the comments section below this article.
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For more information, please see…
Cornell, Dewey and Peter Sheras. Guidelines for Responding to Student Threats of Violence Book. Sopris West, 2006.
Madfis, Eric. How to Stop School Rampage Killing: Lessons from Averted Mass Shootings and Bombings. Palgrave Macmillan, 2020.
The featured image in this article, a map by Croquant of the location of Shijiazhuang Prefecture (yellow) within Hebei Province of China, is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license.