I feel that I should begin by expressing how safe I felt while I was in Beijing. I felt safer in every part of Beijing than I do in downtown Minneapolis. The news outlets don't really say that enough while sharing this bit of news. Actual physical attacks on foreigners are very unusual in Beijing. Like any large city, crimes of opportunity are common, but confrontational attacks against foreigners are incredibly rare.
Todd Bachman, his wife Barbara, and their Chinese guide -- who's name has not been reported, as far as I can find -- were attacked and stabbed at the historic Beijing Drum Tower on 9 Aug, 2008 at 12:20 pm Beijing time. Todd Bachman died of his injuries. Barbara Bachman underwent emergency surgery, and is said to be in serious, but stable, condition.
To most of the world, as the China Daily reports, he was an American tourist, and family member to a US Olympic coach.
To the rest of the country, as reported by the New York Times, Todd was the Father-in-law to current Olympic US Men's Volleyball team coach, Hugh McCutcheon. Or, as the LA Times reports, the father of Elisabeth "Wiz" Bachman, former Olympic Women's Volleyball player for the 2004 US team at the Athens Olympics.
Of all the stories though, I prefer the one about the man, and not about who he is related to.
As many of you know, I live in Minnesota. Todd and Barbara Bachman also live here. Where I live, the local paper, the Star Tribune, reports that Todd Bachman is the CEO of a local and successful chain of Florist and gardening stores, called "Bachman's". By successful, I mean that that the business has survived for more than 120 years. As a point of perspective, I mention that this year marks the 150th year of Minnesota statehood. There wasn't much of a Minneapolis 120 years ago when they opened.
Extensive reporting on the assailant is available, his name, work-history, where he was born, and who his family is. He jumped from the Drum Tower's second level (where the attack occurred), and died instantly upon impacting the ground.
However, it bothers me that we know nothing at all about the third victim of this crime. Even in the China Daily report, she is known only as "a Chinese tour guide". I only hope her injuries are less severe than the other two, and that reporting on her is unimportant because she is now starting a new day of being a tour guide. I hope this, especially considering the injuries to the other victims. The only indication of her well-being, from China Daily, "The two injured women are in stable condition at a hospital," does not suggest she is back at work today.
Todd and Barbara's daughter, who was present, but not injured, has even been reported on. As a former Olympiad, I suppose that's natural, but that only makes me more bothered at the fact that nobody reports any details about the tour guide. She is also a victim of this tragic crime. I'm sure I'm not the only person who wonders about such things.