• El Cerrito, California

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Regarding Michael Hoffman’s Nov. 7 Bilingual page article, “Occupy Tokyo lacks focus but still demands change“: I am a 21-year-old African American who has watched and participated in the Occupy Wall Street movement of Oakland, California. I am happy to hear that the movement supporting the future of young middle-class people has spread to Japan.

In my three years of legal adulthood, my country has turned on its head. Our armed forces are stationed in almost every allied country in the world. My brother, a munitions officer, was to be sent to Okinawa last month — before President Barack Obama informed us that the war in Iraq would end in December.

The week before last, as I was leaving a show in downtown Oakland, I was shot with tear gas and rubber bullets by an Oakland police officer, for no apparent reason. Although 50 out of 52 days of Occupy Oakland have been peaceful, it is the two days of violence that will be featured on Japanese news stations, if anything at all.

Ninety-nine percent of Americans are not violent. It is only when protecting our freedoms that Americans feel the need to take up arms. The problem is that nobody around here seems to know what true freedom is anymore. Our stereotypes of eagles, flags, apple pie and consumerism are fading. As America finally opens its eyes, I’m so glad that Japan- which, in my opinion, is far more advanced in culture and wisdom than ours — is following in our footsteps.

Good luck on your journey to a just and peaceful society. We stand in solidarity with you. … Incidentally, I’ve heard that there’s a stereotype in Japan that says everyone in America carries a gun. This is not true. I carry a Taser.

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

aubrie johnson

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