And now Finland

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by Gillette, Nov 8, 2007.

  1. Gillette

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    By Terhi Kinnunen


    TUUSULA, Finland (Reuters) - Flags flew at half-mast across Finland on Thursday in mourning for eight people killed by an 18-year-old gunman at a school hours after he posted a video on YouTube predicting a massacre there.

    Six pupils of Jokela High School, along with the school's principal and its nurse, were killed when student Pekka-Eric Auvinen opened fire with a .22 caliber handgun in the middle of the school day. He then shot himself in the head.

    The gunman, who had a keen interest in war history and extremist movements, died late on Wednesday in hospital.

    Police said on Thursday that one of the dead was the nurse at the school in Tuusula municipality, a town of 35,000 some 60 km (40 miles) from Helsinki. Initially, they had believed seven students and one staff member had been killed.

    Merja Launonen, a mother of a 14-year-old who had been at the school during the shooting, said she would not make her daughter go back. "She is afraid of that school. I cannot force her to go there," Launonen said.

    Many children hid in classrooms for hours after the shooting, fearing the gunman could still threaten them.

    Such a tragedy in the normally peaceful Nordic nation should make Finland reconsider its campaign against European Union plans to tighten gun ownership laws for youngsters, a senior cabinet member told Reuters.

    "In my opinion we should reconsider this very seriously," Trade Minister Mauri Pekkarinen said. "I believe we have to critically think over Finland's position one more time. I am ready to take this up in the government."

    Although the country has the world's third-highest per capita gun ownership, deadly shootings are rare.

    Auvinen, who only last month obtained the permit for the gun he used in the shooting, walked "systematically" through the school's corridors, firing into classroom after classroom, according to a teacher at the school.

    The YouTube video by Auvinen, set to a hard-driving song called "Stray Bullet," shows a still photo of what appears to be Jokela High School. The photo breaks apart to reveal a red-tinted picture of a man pointing a handgun at the camera.

    The clip, which police said was made by the gunman, is entitled "Jokela High School Massacre - 11/7/2007."

    PHONE MESSAGES

    Across Finland, flags flew at half-mast and many churches planned services to remember the victims.

    "People are feeling down and are quiet. It's crazy that this kid copied what has been done in the U.S.," said Pekka Tuominen of Tuusula.

    Tech-savvy Finns set up mobile telephone text message chains to organize memorials for the victims.

    "In the evening at 6 p.m., we are lighting a candle in the kitchen window to remember the victims of school killings. I hope you will join us to remember young pupils and the teacher, who only on Wednesday morning believed in the future," the message read.
    The last major attack in Finland occurred in 2002 when a man killed himself and six others in a bomb blast at a shopping mall in Helsinki. In 1989 a 14-year-old pupil shot dead two middle-school children in Rauma, western Finland.
    "Maybe we were living in a bubble until now and this is a wake-up call. Our country is no more perfect than any other one ...we can't pretend it is," Helsinki resident Mikko Pyysalo said.
    Source


    This is distressing.
     
  2. B_cigarbabe

    B_cigarbabe New Member

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    This is incredibly sad.I cannot even imagine, how scared and terrified those poor children were,knowing somebody,a classmate is trying to kill you.
    What posesses these children,young adults to do this?
    Surely not, just a garden variety depression? Of course what he did makes it extraordinary,by definition, not just a "garden variety depression".
    Then what?
    cigarbabe:saevil;
     
  3. SpoiledPrincess

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    It's very very sad, this is happening more and more frequently, someone in another thread said it wasn't that it's just publicised more but I defy anyone to find anything like this happening in the 60's and 70's. We already expect a lot of our teachers but maybe they're in the best position to identify kids who are in danger of doing this sort of thing, they alert the authorities when they feel a child is being abused in any way, I know it's asking a lot of them but perhaps it's time they were asked to alert the authorities when they felt a child was suffering psychological problems that might lead to this sort of thing.
     
  4. Principessa

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    He posted a warning on youtube.com before he did it. What kind of nonsense is that? There have been allegations he was copying what he had seen in US schools. :frown1: I hope that was not the impetus for this tragedy. I love my country but we are in crisis, I can't imagine anyone wanting to copy us right now. I feel so sorry for the family and friends of those who were killed. School is supposed to be a safe place!

    SpoiledPrincess is correct other than Kent State I have no recollection of this type of thing happening in the US in the 1970's. This random violence is newish and frightening. I honestly do not comprehend it.


    Student Kills 8, and Himself, at Finnish High School
    By REUTERS
    TUUSULA, Finland, Nov. 7 (Reuters) — Seven children and a principal were killed Wednesday when an 18-year-old student opened fire at a school here, hours after he posted a video on YouTube foreshadowing the massacre.
    The student walked through the corridors of Jokela High School firing into classroom after classroom with a .22-caliber handgun. He died in a hospital after shooting himself in the head, doctors said.

    The police identified the shooter as Pekka-Eric Auvinen, Agence-France Presse reported.

    Two girls, five boys and a woman who was the principal of the school in this southern Finland town were killed in the shootings, the police said.

    A teacher, Kim Kiuru, said the gunman had been keenly interested in war history and extremist movements.

    “He was moving systematically through the school hallways, knocking on the doors and shooting through the doors,” said Mr. Kiuru, who was teaching an eighth-grade class when the gunfire started.

    “It felt unreal,” he added. “A pupil I have taught myself was running toward me, screaming, a pistol in his hand.”

    The weapon used in the massacre was held legally, and the gunman had obtained a permit for it just three weeks ago through a gun club, the police said. The YouTube video, titled “Jokela High School Massacre — 11/7/2007,” was posted Tuesday by a user called Sturmgeist89.

    Set to a song called “Stray Bullet” by the industrial rock band KMFDM, the video shows a photo of a building that appears to be Jokela High School. The photo breaks apart to reveal a red-tinted picture of a man pointing a handgun at the camera.

    “I am prepared to fight and die for my cause,” read a posting by a user of the same name. “I, as a natural selector, will eliminate all who I see unfit, disgraces of human race and failures of natural selection.” WTF!?! Who made him judge and jury?:mad:

    Hours after the massacre, the user’s account was suspended.

    Lyrics to various songs by KMFDM, including “Stray Bullet,” were also posted on a Web site maintained by Eric Harris, one of the two gunmen in the 1999 massacre at Columbine High School in Colorado.

    In a statement, the band’s record company, Metropolis Records, said it was “extremely saddened” by the shootings.

    Jokela High School serves about 500 middle and high school students.
    “When police arrived there was complete chaos, pupils were jumping out of the building through the windows,” said Timo Leppala, a police inspector.
    Despite Finland’s having the world’s third highest per capita gun ownership after the United States and Yemen, violent incidents are rare at Finnish schools.

    According to Finnish news media, there have been four stabbings at schools since 1999. None of these were fatal.

    Hannu Joensivu, the mayor of Tuusula, described the town as “a peaceful place” where “nothing like this has happened and nothing like this is to be expected either.”
     
  5. SpoiledPrincess

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    Some kids are so distanced from people and their emotions they're able to kill them because they view themselves as different from them.
     
  6. jumbo747jet

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    What has happened is indees very tragic. Not only for the victims and their friends and families, but also for society as a whole.

    Why it happened we may never fully know, but the fact that Finland is the country in the world where owning weapons is most common, behind only the USA and Yemen certainly raises many questions.
     
  7. jason_els

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    Yet shootings such as these are rare and this sort of event is unheard of in Finland. Should the millions of other Finns who responsibly own handguns be deprived of their right to handgun ownership because of a mentally ill student who abused that right? Do you think he wouldn't have just chosen a rifle or shotgun instead?

    Blame the kid all you want. The fact is his school and his parents and the health care system failed him with tragic consequences. The nordic countries have the highest rates of major depression and alcoholism in the world. Teachers, parents, friends, and health care providers must be constantly vigilant in looking for signs of it. Kids who do this sort of thing are usually the outsiders, teased mercilessly by their peers and frequently treated badly by school faculty because their anger manifests itself as reactionary in the face of authority. Unwritten school policies of punish-or-give-up cannot be options. Being distant and uninvolved in the lives of your children is not an option. Failing to test for depression in kids who do not fit-in is not an option. Schools have had outsider kids since schools came into being. It is long passed time that we, as civil societies, work to help integrate these kids into society or face consequences like these later.

    How does removing the gun remove the desire to commit such an act? It doesn't. Address the cause, not the method. Honestly, it's like fighting terrorism. You cannot fight terrorism with guns. You must remove the desire in people who feel so extremely disenfranchised that they become terrorists.

    I don't think this is an isolated problem in Finland. When I first saw the Hard Rock Hallelujah video by Lordi, which I urge you to watch (great song by the way and congratulations to Finland for winning Eurovision!), I saw the same kind of violent vindication of the outsiders. We're fools if we think these things won't happen again until we address our own problems.
     
  8. whatireallywant

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    One of the things I've noticed in nearly all the school shootings that I have heard of, and apparently this one is no exception, is that the perpetrator is "keenly interested in war history and extremist movements". Now, I'm not saying that everyone interested in war history is going to do this sort of thing (I'm interested in some war history myself, particularly World War II), but the students' interest in extremist movements is more telling. Often times they are white supremacists.
     
  9. jumbo747jet

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  10. odd_fish_9

    odd_fish_9 New Member

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    Even that, if true, gets you nowhere. Most white supremacists don't shoot up schools.
     
  11. jason_els

    jason_els <img border="0" src="/images/badges/gold_member.gi

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    Only in Europe would anybody say there is no reason to own a firearm. You quote that statistic for what purpose? You make no argument with it. Or are you implying that because 30% of Finns own firearms that this event happened?

    Again, he could have chosen a long gun instead. Someone bent on mass murder isn't going to worry about laws against sawing off the end of a shotgun or rifle. The previous Finn to go off the deep end used a bomb. Does that mean we should ban household chemicals?

    Had any of the teachers or security people in the school been carrying a firearm at the time, his rampage could have been cut short with more lives saved than were taken. You cannot stop someone who is bent on killing. They will find a way, as the bomber proved. You can only act to defend yourself and, in this case, the police weren't there to prevent the murders. Now if it was your son or daughter who was murdered in that massacre I have to wonder if you wouldn't think that allowing school security or faculty members to carry firearms might not have saved your child's life.

    Don't fault the gun, fault the man who fired it at the children, a social system that allows someone so ill to fall through the cracks, and the lack of security, effective police response, and inability of the children and faculty to defend themselves.
     
  12. jumbo747jet

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    Do you suggest that it would have been better if teachers and students had been armed, so that they could have defended themselves ?
     
  13. jason_els

    jason_els <img border="0" src="/images/badges/gold_member.gi

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    I think it very likely, yes. Do you deny that an armed person stands a better chance of survival against another armed person? Had the police arrived immediately and managed to enter the school would they have done any differently? You call the police precisely because they carry firearms. They can defend themselves against an armed man. Unarmed people cannot.

    Here in the US those states with easy-to-acquire concealed carry permits have lower armed crime rates than those that don't. Same with those states that have make-my-day laws. It seems that when potential criminals know that other people may well be carrying they don't feel it's so easy to attack them.

    Now that I've answered your question, perhaps you would answer the ones I have posed?
     
  14. dong20

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    Only someone in the US would use that argument as a counter argument. BTW, Finnish gun ownership is over 50%.:tongue:

    There are two threads on this now, could they be merged? It would make this much easier as I started there!
     
  15. Drifterwood

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    Well, that's three major ones this year, and I remember someone saying after the first one that the only sure thing would be that there would be another one.

    Yes it is the person not the gun, but familiarity with the gun makes the nobody somebody, then somebody no body.

    Has anyone actually ever invaded Kansas? Apart from the modern Americans of course.
     
  16. Not_Punny

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    What amazes me is that the guy was on his feet long enough to walk by/into several different classrooms.

    And nobody tackled him??
     
  17. Drifterwood

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    Maybe the Head and the Nurse tried?
     
  18. dong20

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    It did happen though it was rare, two came to mind:

    Whitman at the University of Texas in 1966 and,
    The Fullerton library massacre in 1972

    But yes, the increase in such incidents is quite recent.

    The statement about the increased media attention given to violent crimes leading to a perception that they are higher now than in the 1960s and 1970s isn't inaccurate. True, media attention is higher today and it leads to a perception that violence is more prevalant today, but contrary to popular belief, overall violent crime rates today are about the same as they were in the early/mid 70s. Since a peak in the early 90s US violent crime rates have fallen steeply.

    There's plenty of documentation around.

    For example:

    All Violent crime rates per 100,000

    1973 - 470
    1992 - 757
    2005 - 469

    Murder per 100,000

    1950 - 4.6
    1960 - 5.1
    1970 - 7.9
    1980 - 10.2
    1990 - 9.4
    2005 - 5.6

    Source, US Bureau of Justice and FBI Uniform Crime reports and others.

    Note, crime collection statistical gathering methods changed in the early 1990s so I don't know how much this may skew the figures.

    What no doubt came as a shock to those living through the sixties who saw a tripling in violent crime rates between 1963 to the mid 70s. In contrast, the period from the 1940s to the early 60s were among the most 'law abiding' in living memory.
     
  19. Drifterwood

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    Maybe the 80's and 90's generation were just better shots?
     
  20. Not_Punny

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    Or the fact that big hair made a better target.
     
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