Death has been in the killing business for many years (some say at least 50, possibly even more). But the thing is, when you do something for a really long time, you tend to fall into boring old habits and patterns, which is why Death is so predictable nowadays. You go swimming in Australia, you get attacked by chainsaw jellyfish. You get food-truck seafood in a landlocked state, your diarrhea lifts you off the toilet and causes you to smack your head on the ceiling. SNORE.
Occasionally, though, Death will bring out its sexy, lace scythe to spice things up in the deadroom. That’s how a few places across the world/history have managed to kill people in some of the most surprising ways imaginable.
4. There’s A Surprising Number Of Sword Attacks In Japan
If you were to ask a group of people what they think the most common murder weapons in Japan are, it would probably stop them from inviting you to any more christenings. Also, you’d probably get two kinds of answers: “I don’t know ... poison? Blunt objects? Maybe a gun?” and “KATANAS! SHURIKEN! BATTLE MECHS!”
Undoubtedly, when you picture someone screaming that second statement, your racism alarm lights up the inside of your skull. But in this one case, they are sort of right. A surprising number of people in Japan really do get attacked and/or murdered with katanas and other kinds of swords every year.
If the moon didn't want stabbed, it shouldn't talk all that smack.
In December 2017, a disturbed man killed his sister with a samurai sword (and a hunting knife) at the Tomioka Hachimangu, a Tokyo shrine dedicated to ... the god of war. The man later fatally slashed his wife before killing himself. Again, with a sword. Now, this happened only about a month after three robbers injured a car dealer in Chofu with a samurai sword, which itself came right on the heels of an incident in Osaka where a man slashed his friend with a katana. Well, ex-friend now, probably.
You see, it turns out that Japan has one of the strictest gun control laws on the planet. The government would rather grant you access to a toilet cam installed in the Prime Minister’s house than a gun license. That naturally makes swords and knives the most popular murder weapons over there, even among criminals.
In 2015, an outlaw biker slashed the face of a rival gang member in Shinjuku’s red-light district of Kabukicho, though to be fair, he did use a Chinese sword at the time, which would never happen with the yakuza because those guys consider themselves patriots. So when the police arrested a high-ranking member of the Sumiyoshi-kai yakuza group in late 2017 for attacking a fellow gangster, you can bet they recovered a short, blood-stained Japanese sword at the crime scene. Just as they did from a 2017 street brawl in Takamatsu between a few yakuza and two Filipinos.
All of that is, of course, scary. But what’s even scarier is that if the weaboos were right about Japan’s murder-katanas (murdanas?), what else were they right about? Is it possible that Pokémon porn isn’t the sign of society’s downfall?
3. Texas Is The Punch-Murder Capital Of The World
Before you get to the end of this sentence, a new gun store will have opened in Texas. If it was possible, the state’s official anthem would consist of a series of gunshots, followed by the long sizzle of a grilled steak. What we’re getting at is that Texas really likes their point-and-shooty pew-pew sticks.
In some parts, this is referred to as "seasoning".
And yet, surprisingly, firearms account only for 65% of Texas’ overall homicide rate. Per 100,000 people, the state only ranks 32nd in firearm deaths in the whole U.S. But it does lead the pack in another kind of death. See, if you’re in Texas, you are more likely to get punched and kicked to death than anywhere else in the country.
According to a 2013 FBI report, which takes into account crime statistics from over 18,000 city, county, and state agencies, Texas is THE place in the United States for getting killed by “hands, fists and feet.” 2nd place went to California, but they weren’t even close to Texas' numbers, probably because you get better gains from eating steak than kale. In conclusion, it turns out that Walker, Texas Ranger (where Chuck Norris gives criminals vigorous internal organ massages) was actually somewhat of a documentary.
2. In The ‘90s, South Africa Had A Car-Mounted Flamethrower Problem
In 1997, there were 13,000 carjackings reported across South Africa, most of them with the use of a lethal weapon. Clearly something had to be done about this problem. Not a nation-wide reform that would address the racial and economic inequality plaguing the country at the time. No, that would be crazy. The obvious solution was to simply start cooking carjackers. And so, the Blaster flamethrower was born.
Invented by Charl Fourie, the Blaster consisted of a tank (installed in the trunk) that would pump liquid gas through two nozzles, which ended right outside your car’s front doors. There, the gas would be ignited with an electric spark, turning your carjacker’s face into scumbag cracklings.
The inventor and a bunch of “experts” stressed that this would not kill the robber. Like, they spent an uncomfortable amount of time insisting that the Blaster wasn’t fatal. But let’s be honest, it’s not like they tested this hypothesis. At least, we hope to God they didn’t, because we have a feeling they would’ve probably used live test subjects for their experiments.
Fourie did admit that the Blaster would probably blind the attacker, though. And, yes, if a guy threatens you with a weapon and tries to steal your property, you should be able to defend yourself in any way possible. No argument there. Even God melted a guy's face off for just looking at his property in Raiders Of The Lost Ark.
But what if you accidentally pushed the “Cast Fireball” button when stopped at a red light? More importantly, if a carjacker suspected you had a Blaster installed, wouldn’t they just shoot you through the window from a safe distance? Those are the questions that South Africans thankfully asked themselves, which is why the flamethrower was only ever installed in a few hundred cars. Interestingly, though, it was never actually banned, which begs the question: why wasn’t it re-released in 2015 to cash in on the success of Mad Max: Fury Road? Right, right, because the world was slightly saner back then.
1. Sweden Has A Serious Love Affair With Hand Grenades
As personal weapons go, a grenade is only slightly better than a chained grizzly bear. Without proper training, chances are the only thing you’ll be killing with either of them is yourself. That’s why it’s so weird that organized crime groups in Sweden have really taken a shining to grenades in the last couple of years.
Between 2014 and 2016, the number of Swedish grenade attacks has gone from 8 a year to more than 50, almost always involving the M75. The M75 is a hand grenade that mainly saw use during the Yugoslav Wars. Not enough use, though, because there were so many left over after the conflict that Sweden was flooded with them.
For your service, we award you the "Extra Grenade We Found Lying Around".
Swedish authorities still have no idea who’s smuggling the grenades into the country, but they do know that he or she is a total dick, because they seem to sell exclusively to criminals. In their defense, there aren’t that many agricultural uses for grenades. Yet. Anyway, just like Japan, Sweden has very strict gun control laws, but the penalties for possessing a grenade actually used to be less severe than those for illegal firearms. This only changed in June of last year.
In most cases, the hand grenades were used to bomb empty buildings and cars in order to scare people, but they have also been used as murder weapons. In 2016, an 8yo boy was tragically killed when a grenade was thrown into his home. Then in January of 2018, an elderly Stockholm man picked up what he thought was a dud grenade outside a metro station, and was sadly proven wrong when the thing exploded.
The official theory is that this wasn’t planned at all. Someone probably just lost their grenade on their way to a car bombing and didn’t go back for it, because they could easily get another one. That’s how serious the grenade problem has gotten in Sweden. Criminals can afford to just throw them away without a care in the world.
Littering: Sweden style.
Maybe this will lighten the mood slightly, while still keeping us on topic: Did you know that cows are officially the deadliest large animals in all of the U.K., killing an estimated 74 people between 2000 and 2015? It usually happens after a person unknowingly wanders into the cows' grazing grounds. That is of course tragic, but it makes us wonder why more places don’t use guard cows instead of dogs. They are obviously effective, and when they die, hey, free barbeque. Can’t really do that with dogs.
Like this article? Check out "5 Ways Criminals Can Duplicate Your Keys (Without Ever Touching Them)" and "5 Ridiculous Crimes You'll Be Amazed Were Pulled Off".