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November 08, 2007

Finland School Massacre

The Finland school massacre was very like that in Columbine, like that at Virginia Tech. A loner, a social outcast, gets hold of guns and ammunition and goes on the rampage.

The chilling home-made video shows a young man staring out of a blood-red screen, pointing a gun and declaring: “I, as a natural selector, will eliminate all who I see unfit.”

Hours after posting his “massacre manifesto” on the YouTube website, a gunman presumed to be Pekka-Eric Auvinen, 18, walked into Jokela High School in southern Finland and shot dead five boys, two girls and the headmistress with a .22 calibre handgun. About a dozen more were wounded.

The shooting marked the arrival in peaceful small-town Finland of US-style high-school massacres, a phenomenon spurred by the internet and the isolation of a troubled teenager.

As he posed online with his murder weapon, the killer struck an eerie echo of Cho Seung Hui, who made recordings of himself that he posted to the NBC American television network before killing 32 students at Virginia Tech university, in Blacksburg, last April.

Yes, guns are easily available in Finland, about as easily available as they are in the US.

However, a little word of caution about attribution, about the reasoning used to describe such things. We know that the Columbine massacre was, at least in part, ascribed to the gross inequalities in America, to a society "riven by inequality".

Finland is not an unequal society. Indeed, measured by the Gini Index (0.26 to the US  0.40 or so) it is one of the most equal societies in the world.

The cause might be the availability of guns, it might be that there are mentally unstable people, but inequality seems not to be one of the reasons.

November 8, 2007 in Current Affairs | Permalink


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