Another Finnish School Shooting


For the second time in less than a year, a gunman has open-fired on a classroom in Finland, killing 11 students and himself. The (London) Times has details:

The student, identified as Matti Saari, a 22-year-old trainee chef, walked into the catering and tourism college in the remote western town of Kauhajoki at about 11am (0800GMT) and started firing at both fellow students and staff.

Some 90 minutes later he turned the gun on himself, but survived and died of his injuries five hours later in a hospital bed. The initial death toll was put at nine, but police later updated it to 10 [Note: The tally in the Finnish press is now at 11], not counting the killer.

It was Finland's second school massacre in under a year and left the country in a state of shock. The YouTube connection—Saari posted a number of handgun videos on the site—bore disturbing echoes of the tragedy last November when an 18-year-old high school student killed eight people after posting a "massacre manifesto" on the video-sharing site.

The Finnish newswire STT/FNB reports that Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen "says that it is clear that the school massacre in Kauhajoku will provoke reform in [Finland's] gun laws," and that "reform of gun laws became a more pressing issue after the EU Commission released a new firearm directive in July." According to the Finnish daily HBL, police officials are also adamant "that a more effective surveillance of the Internet is needed." "We perform a certain level of the surveillance," police commissioner Tero Haapala told the paper, "but our resources are limited in trying to find all of the threats before they are carried out." After viewing YouTube videos of the gunman on a shooting range and making oblique threats ("You're next"), local police questioned the gunman on Monday but "saw no reason to suspend his temporary gun license," according to HBL.

Various reason writers on previous school shootings.