Finland not on the map in comparison to America it seems
- Charlene Small
Did you know that Finland has the third highest rate of gun ownership in the world? Did you know that anyone in Finland aged 15 and above can apply for a gun licence if they are able to offer a valid reason? Did you know that in Finland membership to a gun club means that you can legally possess a firearm? Did you know that on 7th November of this year ago a Finnish teen shot dead 6 pupils, a nurse and the principal of a school, before shooting himself?
If you didn’t know any of these facts, don’t worry. How could you? It didn’t happen in America.
18 year old Pekka Evic Auvinen opened fire on the students and staff of Jokela High School (thirty miles from Finnish capital Helsinki) on the 7th of November 2007. When his killing spree was finally ended by local police he had killed 8 people, dying later in hospital himself.
The most inexplicable factor surrounding this tragedy is not his motive, which no one has yet identified. Rather, it’s the fact that there has been so little coverage of this atrocity in the press. In the wake of the Virginia Tech Massacre in April of this year, news coverage was dominated for weeks by second-guesses regarding the killer’s motive.
Is there a reason why the media is so much more concerned about American massacres than those that occur on our own continent? Are the deaths of Americans inherently a greater tragedy than those of innocent Finns? Or, is there some kind of sadistic pleasure derived from looking down upon the actions of America?
Prior to the shooting the Finnish assassin posted a video on YouTube, seemingly foreshadowing the killing spree he was to embark upon. The video, which has since been removed, possesses a strong resemblance to the actions of Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, the two teenagers who orchestrated the Columbine massacre. Interestingly, one news station reported that the gunman in the summer of last year actually spoke to an American teen on the internet about Columbine. That teen was subsequently interviewed by American police.
Therein lies the crux of this matter. In the wake of nine deaths, caused by a Finnish person, in a Finnish school, blame is being brought back and heaped upon America. It is perhaps sad to see that almost a decade on, we are still referring back to Columbine as the benchmark of teen violence. We cannot rationalise why Auvinen embarked upon this mass murder, but if we take the harsh view of ‘attention-seeking’, it is cruelly ironic to see that his brutal actions are going practically unnoticed in comparison with his American counterparts.
Maybe if the media took a little bit more interest in this story we could try and understand just why nine people had to die. Maybe if we had seen the headline: ‘Nine Finns Die, It’s All America’s Fault’ we would have been interested.