Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Another School Shooting - Kauhajoki Finland

For once we can discuss a school shooting that did not occur in the USA. Yahoo News reports on the incident that took place today in Kauhajoki, 180 miles northwest of Helsinki. Nine people are reported dead and an undetermined number wounded. The gunman shot and killed himself. (Big hat tip to Il Principe)

The shootings happened almost a year after another gunman killed eight people and himself at a school in southern Finland, an attack that triggered a fierce debate about gun laws in this Nordic nation with deep-rooted traditions of hunting in the sub-Arctic wilderness.

With 1.6 million firearms in private hands, Finland is an anomaly in Europe, lagging behind only the United States and Yemen in civilian gun ownership, studies show.

Last year's shooter was named Pekka-Eric Auvinen, described as a bullied 18-year-old outcast. He opened fire at his high school in southern Finland on Nov. 7th, killing six students, a school nurse and the principal before ending his own life with a gunshot to the head.

Proponents of gun ownership naturally are reluctant to accept that proliferation of guns and their availability seem to go hand in hand with gun violence. Media coverage probably precludes the possibility of confirming if Yemen suffers from the same ills as Finland and the US, but I'll bet they do.

After Auvinen's rampage, the government said it would raise the minimum age for buying guns from 15 to 18, but insisted there was no need for sweeping changes to Finland's gun laws.

No need for sweeping changes, heaven forbid.

Here's the CNN take on it.

What's your opinion? What do you make of the Youtube connection? What about the bullying factor?

Here's the CNN update.


  1. the bullying factor is the big deal to me. so long as children and juveniles can be made total outcasts by and from their peers, with no recourse from adults whose silence is assent, they're going to keep eventually snapping and resorting to violence.

    well, unless their peer groups would be deemphasized to no longer be by far and away their most important social circle. but that would require either abolishing, or dramatically restructuring, the schooling systems. that isn't going to happen, and would be harder than making bullying unacceptable in any event.

    as for what tools these juveniles go for when they finally snap and resort to violence, i don't give a wet fart. the tragedy here is that bullying and ostracism was allowed to go on until an 18-year-old resorted to multiple murder-suicide because he saw nothing better to do with himself. that should be the outrage, Mike, not the gun.

    (by the way, guess which social role i played back in high school? yeah, i shred then burn the reunion invitations, and piss on the ashes. fuck those goddamn bastards, every last one.)

  2. nomen nescio
    Bully has been the norm for thousands of years.
    The problem isn't outcasts...it's outcasts with guns that fire multiple rounds within the space of a few seconds.
    An outcast bent on destruction won't choose a knife or a baseball bat. He'll always look for the most easily accessible efficient killing weapon...the gun.

    Sooner or later countries like Findland and the United States will realize that some form of gun control will need to be enacted to prevent crazy people from getting semi automatic weapons and killing innocent people.
    Unfortunately it will probably come later than sooner
    Meanwhile more people will die at the hands of crazy people with guns.
    You can't carry a loaded weapon onto an airplane.
    Why should you be allowed to walk around a school with one.

  3. oh, you mean the problem isn't that kids are torturing other kids up to and past the point of insanity while adults stand by doing nothing; rather, the problem is that those slimy icky outcast kids might possibly find a way to fight back, right hamster? you don't mind kids abusing other kids, so long as it's the right kids getting to have the fun and the wrong kids know their place is to lie down and take it?

    go fuck yourself, rodent.

  4. Hamster,

    Meanwhile more people will die at the hands of crazy people with guns.

    So is it okay for people to die at the hands of crazy people with knives, baseball bats, tire irons, or even the hands and feet of crazy people?

    Is it more nobler to be killed with something other then a firearm?

    What is magical about a firearm? I can kill more people with bombs or jet fuel then with a hand gun. Oklahoma City and the Twin Towers proved that, didn't they?

    Is there something inherently principled about disarming people so they can't fight back?

    You talked about not being able to walk around in school with a gun, but this person did just that. The signs on the door, the laws, the social prohibition DID NOT STOP HIM.

    As Mike has posted here, there is a school district that allows their teachers and staff to carry concealed weapons on campus. Do you think if the people in Finland had been allowed to exercise their rights, the shooting might have been stopped sooner?
    Note, I did not say prevented, that is a very remote chance but definitely the number of deaths might have been reduced.

    Nothing the various government levels did protected those people in the school. Nothing, shouldn't the people have a right to protect themselves?

    By the way, gun bans don't work. England proves that, Australia proves that. Firearm crime has not been stopped in England despite literally centuries of efforts.

  5. I live in TEXAS and every single person I know is armed. Where's our school shootings?

  6. Hamster, I'm with you, pal. There's nothing wrong with paying more attention to the problem of bullying, but I see the connection between easy access to guns and the shooting incident that happened today in Finland. Although I find the arguments of the commenters compelling, especially the idea that they are good responsible people who actually increase safety, at least individually in their own circles, I can't get over what to me seems obvious, that there's a connection between the availability of guns and the deadly incidents with guns.

  7. you keep saying it's obvious, Mike, but you keep not pointing out how. if it really were obvious, you should have no problem pointing out just what the connection is.

  8. Mike,

    If you were in this school armed, would you try to stop the killer?

    If you were a armed cop nearby, would you try to stop the killer?

    Is really the availability of firearms or the ready use of them by criminals? The killer plotted his attack (crime), carried firearms onto school property (crime), committed attempted murder (crime), murder(crime) also attempted suicide (crime?).
    So given all that, people still think if a firearm hadn't been handy he would have gone on to be full of sunshine and cheer??
    Or is it likely that a few minutes search on the internet would have provide information on how to create poison or explosives?

    Finland, with it's high rate of firearm ownership, is actually lower then England for firearm murders. (see Nationmaster.com.

    So, how do you explain the easy availability of firearms producing such a low rate of murders with firearms?

  9. I can't get over what to me seems obvious, that there's a connection between the availability of guns and the deadly incidents with guns.

    I can't get over the connection between the easy availability of bathtubs and the number of bath induced deaths...feel free to substitute bicycles, mopeds, stairs, heart attack inducing foods, kitchen knives, automobiles, rat poison, hatchets...You GET the point, one would hope.

    No offense, but you're shooting blanks on that tangent.

  10. Some of you guys keep asking me why I find an "obvious" connection between the availability and the tragedies. Well, the article quoted in this post points out that Finland is alone in Europe in the gun availability department and that Finland has had two very extreme situations over the last year. Don't you see that as an "obvious" connection? I certainly do.

    The claims about the UK contradicting all this have been denied by a UK resident and lawyer, namely Mr. White Rabbit. So for me the jury's out on that one.

  11. Mike,

    The obvious connection isn't obvious once you get past "feeling" there is a connection. Sorry friend, but where is the evidence that the connection is there?

    I know you don't like statistics but here is a link to Nationmaster. Nationmaster collects stats and compiles them. On the firearm murder rate, Finland doesn't even make the top 32!!
    Mexico which has very strict firearm laws is actually higher then then USA.

    Another point, Finland isn't the only country
    Switzerland, a country of 7.5 million people with an estimated 2 million or more guns in circulation...
    So, given those two countries high firearm ownership; wouldn't murder be very high there? Constant shootings?
    Do you see any of that anecdotal evidence of high firearm ownership contributing to the crime rates?

    In America, over half the "firearm deaths" are suicides. People desperate enough to use a firearm would find another way regardless. Out of the remaining, 80% or more of the firearm murders are related to the drug business.

    With all respect to Mr. Rabbit, that is one person's views and thoughts. If you want to make a case, show us the evidence?

  12. I just read this morning that he was also using Molotov Cocktails as well as a .22 Pistol (From the Youtube video it appears to be a Walther P22 or a Sig Mosquito...both guns well known for being unrealible)

    Why is the gun getting so much play when it seems that many of the vitims were burned to death with home-made bombs of readily avialble household componants?

  13. Because stupid people are AFRAID OF GUNS, weer'd. They don't like to get rational thought in the way of their fears.

  14. Mike, no, i don't see that as an obvious connection. please explain to me how that connection works. since it's obvious to you, this should not be hard for you.

  15. Mike,

    I would like to help you out since it seems we can't get the "obvious connection". Please tell me if I don't understand your position.

    Premise: If there were no guns, there would be no gun crimes

    Premise: Countries with more guns have more opportunity for gun crime to happen.

    Conclusion: If there were fewer guns, there would be fewer gun crimes.

    Now, I hope that I've accurately conveyed the logic behind the gun ban. Let's break it down.

    Premise - no guns - no gun crime
    Problem - other crimes rise in greater proportion then firearm crimes - no net reduction in crime.
    Problem - gun bans don't work. Name a single ban anywhere in time that actually prevented the banned item from being used - Alcohol in USA in 1920s? Gun Bans in England modern day? New York City has had a gun ban for a decade longer then England and still has 5 times the murder rate.
    Problem, no guns mean no means of self defense for many - cops included.

    Premise - countries with more guns have higher opportunity for gun crime. True, the opportunity is there but the facts don't show it.
    This link shows that America with more guns per capita then any other country in the world only 8th on the list of Murders with Firearms. Shouldn't it be #1?

    Let me know if I accurately portrayed the case.

  16. "Because stupid people are AFRAID OF GUNS, weer'd. They don't like to get rational thought in the way of their fears."

    Yeah, I always laugh when I have to flash my permit to buy a keg of powder for reloads....but I drive right across the street to the gas station where I fill up my truck with 10% Ethanol Gas by swiping my credit card at the pump, I never have to see a living human being.

    If that's not a societal phobia I don't know what is!

  17. All right, a few things I'd like to say. I'm not afraid of guns and I never said anything about gun control laws. I'm against the government almost as much as Thomas is. Everything I've been saying is in an attempt to explore the connections, the one between the number of guns at large and the violent acts, the one between the attitude of arming the good guys and the violent acts, the one between violence as a solution and violence as the problem.

    Bob says I'm suffering from "feelings" which are interfering with my reasoning. I don't think so. Based on the facts in the story I posted, it's a fair conclusion that more guns means more gun violence. If however, what you said about Mexico and Switzerland is right, and I tend to think it is, then we're back to square one.

    Is there a connection between more guns and more violence? Is there a connection between the attitude of bigger violence is the answer to smaller violence? And so on.

  18. Mike,

    You never said you were for gun control laws, you just repeatedly talked about getting rid of all firearms something that gun control advocates do, so guilt by association in my mind.

    Exploring the associations about violence is a good thing. I would bet if you talked to any number of gun bloggers or folks like Thomas, Beard, etc; you would find people very knowledgeable about those associations. In order to defend our right to firearms, we've had to learn about it.

    I've mentioned before that one of the biggest contributor to gun violence is drugs.

    Here are a couple of quotes from a research paper I found this morning: (Here is the link to the research paper)

    Between 1988 and 1991, the homicide rate in Washington, D.C. increased by 32 percent -- from 369 to 489. A significant portion of those homicides during those years -- varying between 30 and 50 percent -- related to the drug trade.25 Many homicides were likely committed with firearms.

    Note a couple of things about this: first, it's in Washington D.C. which has had a gun ban since 1976. Hmm, sounds like it really deterred those drug dealers. The study notes that most of the violence associated with the drug trade:
    There is clear and substantial evidence that firearms are an essential tool for regulating the illegal trade in drugs, including protecting shipments of drugs, enforcing debts, resolving disputes, eliminating competition, killing or injuring informants and defending against enforcement personnel. Some stories and reports that speak of violence flowing from the drug trade do not explicitly mention the use of firearms, but it is clear from the context of the stories that much of the violence is carried out with firearms.

    Do away with the illegal drug trade and you do away with a considerable about of "gun violence".

    I think this quote best illustrates what I've been talking about: the culture that finds violence acceptable to solve problems:
    Preliminary survey results found that a sizeable fraction of those participating in drug markets are armed, that drugs, gang membership, and firearms are linked in significant ways, and that many juvenile arrestees indicated that they had access to, and had used, guns. Perhaps most disturbingly, many arrestees (juvenile and adult) indicated that guns and violence were acceptable methods for garnering respect, protecting oneself, and seeking revenge.33

    There is a great discussion on how the drug trade is affecting even those not in it: as role models in problem resolution
    I believe that an awful lot of homicides that we’re seeing -- particularly by young people with guns -- are, in an indirect sense, drug-related. The guns are out there as a direct consequence of the drug markets, which use violence as a means of dispute resolution. That approach gets picked up and is amplified by gangs, some of which are in the drug trade, and some of which are not. So, there’s an escalation of the willingness to engage in violence, which results, in part, from the mores of the drug trade


    In such an environment, the “senseless” shootings that have become an urban commonplace should come as no surprise. These kids are armed, edgy, and believe that they cannot be insulted or walk away from a fight without irretrievably losing face and thereby risking additional victimization. They are surrounded by violence, leading them to feel that they have few alternatives. They cannot get out of Dodge, nor is anybody making them check their guns at the edge of town. It is more surprising, perhaps, that there is not even more gun violence.

    That is one major aspect of it, much like Prohibition in the 20s, the drug trade glamorizes violence and firearms as a way of solving problems. Take away the firearms and the violence would still be there.
    Remove the illegal drug trade and the culture that accepts violence as a solution you remove the gun crime that we are concerned about.

    I'll leave the role of governmental welfare in that culture for another post. I'll wrap up by saying if you look at the ideas I've stated, not one of them involve gun control or gun bans, but the violence is reduced.

  19. Posted today by good old Mike on a different forum, though prescient:

    Sheep may bleat, decrying the existence of teeth, sir, but this in no way prevents them from being eaten by wolves. Sheepdogs, on the other hand, know from experience that wolves are not deterred by anything less than the threat of other teeth used in self defense.

    Sheep such as yourselves continue to exist only so long as they stay close to a sheepdog dedicated to the common security of the flock.

    You are entitled to be a sheep, sir. It is your right. But kindly do not cast aspersions upon those of us who accept the responsibility of sheepdog. By calling us names and seeking to have our canines pulled, we may one day lose patience and nip you in the hindquarters for your ingratitude. Or, worse for you, we may decide to just wander out of earshot of your insults, and let you get eaten by the wolves who are always circling.

    Good luck with your sheep existence. As for me, I’m a sheepdog.

    – Mike Vanderboegh
    Pinson, AL