This almost apocryphal number of calls underscores the fact that there was something profoundly pathological motivating each call. After all, the 911 prank call is almost an American rite of passage for any 9 year-old kid. It all begins with the need to know “What actually happens when people dial 911?” and sometimes ends with an officer showing up at your house and explaining the sanctity of the emergency line—an ultimately meaningless experience were it not for the gun strapped to his waist. 28,000 calls is not a prank, but an act of aggression toward the police. It’s like laying siege to a police department with one’s insanity, or like water torture via electronics.
And so, although he was finally arrested, Teruo Nozaki used his compulsion to conduct a sort of backwards social experiment: now we know that it takes tens of thousands of prank calls before the Tokyo police is finally compelled to make an arrest.