Tag Archives: School shooting

Dealing With Finnish School Shooting After Effects

Shootings in schools attract enormous attention in the world press and frequently give the illusion that such events are common in schools. Despite the rarity of such events, they are traumatic to children, to educators and to the community in which they occur. People assume a school is a safe area and children are protected in them against the evils of society. Last September, Matti Juhani Saari, a Finnish boy, entered a vocational high school and killed nine students and a teacher as well as himself. The Kauhajoki Project has been established to work with teachers, students and the community as emotional feelings continue to impact individuals. The project emphasizes, as part of a three year effort to assist the community a focus on students and the families of dead children. A budget of one million Euros has been allocated to provide trained professionals to work with those in need of emotional support.

This is an intelligent approach. It is all too often for communities to go through shock and pain and then attempt to put the event away. We lack these approaches to systematic study of what happens in a community in the aftermath of a school shooting.

Finland Reflects On Second School Shooting

The Finnish population, the media, and government are still recovering from the shock of a second brutal shooting in a school within a year. The initial question dealt with the identity and reasoning of the person who committed the shooting, and as a more complete picture emerged questions shifted to how the young man gained access to a weapon and how so leisurely wandered into a school. There are now concerns about whether Finland needs stricter gun control laws or should it follow the path of many American schools which have metal detectors. The latest poll reveals most Finns believe they are a peaceful people, but 80% now want restrictions imposed on gun ownership.

A major issue is stems from revelations the shooter was boasting on the Internet and YouTube about his desires to do something. There are reports the police who interviewed him the day before the shooting were ordered to take away his gun, but, for some unknown reason this was not done. Psychologists are discussing ways to identify future killers, but, this appears wishful thinking and not stemming from any grasp of reality.

School bullying is something schools can address. Identifying children who are loners can be done. There is need for more community building within schools in order to develop bonds of relationships between those in the school.

Mystery Of Matti Juhani Saari’s Killing Spree

Those who knew Matti Juhani Saari were shocked at the news he had killed ten students in a school shooting spree. Schoolmates and teachers describe him as sociable and an ordinary student in school. A former classmate who knew him from the beginning of the seventh grade said he was “perhaps quiet but not the solitary type.” There was some indication of a few bullying encounters between Saari and other boys but, for the most part, he had friends and got along in school. Another classmate said “in the ninth grade he started mixing with some rather heavier circles, but I would still have never believed that something like this could happen.”

Teachers report he interacted in class and work well with other students. One said: “he was an average student, whose grades varied from to to five(on a 0 to 5 scale). I thought he was quite a sympathetic type of guy.”

However, he did take part in online chats that discussed American school shootings and Pekka-Eric Auvinen who killed eight Finnish students last year. Investigators found messages in his home that he hated humankind and had been planning the shooting since 2002. His hobbies included computers, the drums, sex, beer, and target practice with his Walther 22 pistol.

Police officials now say they received information last Friday about a possible shooting and they talked with the boy the day before the shooting but no attempt was made to take away his weapon.

The question, as always in these cases, is what was the final reason why he decided to kill. We probably will never know the answer to that question.

Finnish Student Kills At Least Nine

At least eight people were killed in a shooting at a school in Kokela, north of Helsinki. Five boys and two girls were killed along with the school’s head teacher. The shooter, an eighteen year old pupil entered the school armed with a shotgun and after his killing spree, shot himself in the head. Tuomas Hulkkonen, a member of the graduating class knew the shooter since boyhood and claimed the boy in recent days was behaving in a strange manner. He drew many pictures of firearms and when asked about them, insisted he was only joking. Ateacher at the school described the boy as a militant radical who was interested in both extreme left and extreme right wing ideas and had a deep interest in history and philosophy.

There were references on Internet over the past few days about an impending school attack and in one package there is a photograph of a hand gun wearing a tee-shirt with the slogan, “Humanity is Overrated.” There was also an information packet which included a text of about 1,000 words under the title, “Manifesto of a Natural Selector”
“I cannot say that I am of the same race as this miserable, arrogant and selfish human race. No! I have evolved a step higher.” The text ends with: “To each and what they deserve.”

The pattern continues. A loner, an isolate, wandering through school ignored by those in authority and delving into radical forms of thinking. No one is to blame and yet we bear some responsibility for creating schools in which test score rankings are much more important to political leaders than an emphasis on individual attention to children.