Finns don’t understand how a child could shoot. The journalist describes sadness and shock


Finland was rocked by the shooting at the Viertola school in the city of Vantaa, north of Helsinki. After the attack, one student died and two others were seriously injured. The police arrested the suspect, who was also supposed to be a student at the school.

Shooting attacks are unusual in Finland, and previous similar incidents have led to stricter gun laws. Even so, it is a country where civilians have one of the highest numbers of weapons per capita in Europe.

“It is important to emphasize that a large part of these weapons are used for hunting. In an urban environment, let alone in Helsinki, it is really unusual to have weapons in the home, but at the same time it is not completely impossible,” explains Finnish journalist Matti Posio, who works in the management of the Lännen Media group, which unites regional newspapers, in an interview for Seznam Zprávy.

What do we know so far about the Vantaa school shooting?

The first information that appeared around ten-thirty was purely about the shooting at a school in the city of Vantaa, which is located near Helsinki. Now we know more. The alleged shooter and his victims are the same age, all just 12 years old and in the sixth grade.

We spoke to some parents on site. One of them, who also has a 12-year-old son, told us that his child sent him a text message at 10:30 saying that there was a shooting at school and that he was afraid for his life. But because it was April Fools’ Day yesterday, he found it unbelievable, for a moment he thought it must be a joke. But in the end he wrote to him to hide.

School shooting in Finland

One dead and two injured in a school shooting in Vantaa, Finland. According to the police, the mastermind of the attack is a 12-year-old student who is not criminally responsible due to his age.

The police announced what happened at the scene after noon. A 12-year-old suspect was arrested, his attack had three victims, with one of the children not surviving. The other two are in serious condition in hospital.

Although we do not yet know what kind of weapon it was exactly, we do know that it should have been obtained in a legal way. The shooter should have gotten to her through a family member or someone close to her.

How does Finnish society and politicians react to the tragedy?

One can mainly feel shock and sadness in society. This time, however, the shock comes mainly from the fact that the attacker was a child.

Immediately after the police announcement, political leaders held a press conference where they mainly mentioned their shock and condolences to the bereaved. It’s a big school, so all the parents must have felt terrible fear and helplessness as they waited outside to see if their child would come out of the building too. At the time, there were supposed to be several hundred children and about 90 employees at the school.

It is not the first time that similar events have occurred in Finland. School shootings also happened in 2007 and 2008. But the attackers were not children, they were young men aged 18 and 22. In addition, the course of events was also a little different in that the shooters walked around the school and attacked everyone they saw.

Viertola School in Vantaa, Finland

  • the school is attended by about 800 pupils between the ages of 7 and 16, the shooting took place in a building where pupils between the ages of 9 and 13 attend
  • Vantaa is the fourth most populous city in Finland by population, with almost a quarter of a million people living there
  • the city is part of the Helsinki agglomeration, on its territory there is, for example, the most important international airport in Finland

At the time it was something unimaginable, but today politicians and journalists react much better to the situation, so to speak. They don’t publish photos from the scene, they don’t give voice to the attacker or his thoughts.

What about gun ownership in Finland? How easy is it to get one?

If you look at the pure statistics, Finland is among the countries with the highest number of legally owned guns per individual. Here, however, it is important to emphasize that a large part of these weapons are used for hunting. In an urban environment, let alone in Helsinki, having weapons in the home is really unusual, but at the same time it is not completely impossible.

Data from the Ministry of the Interior say that there are more than 1.5 million legally owned weapons in the country, and there are supposed to be about 430,000 of them. These are mainly people who use them for hunting. This is a very common activity in rural areas that also lie in the wilderness, whether it is a source of income or entertainment.

But in order to get a permit to keep a gun, you have to go through a strict check in Finland. You must be over 20 years of age and must pass a proficiency test to purchase your first gun.

But unfortunately, as we can see in this case, there is no way to prevent even a legally held gun from getting to someone it shouldn’t. But as I pointed out, we still know very little about the weapon.

Can we expect gun legislation to change in any way after the events? Or at least there will be debates about it?

I assume this debate will be on the table again, as it was after the shootings a few years ago. This kind of discussion also happens in every country after similar events, but I don’t think it will be as hot a topic as it is in the United States, where it is about whether or not to have guns everywhere. In Finland it’s different and most of those weapons, as I mentioned, are mainly used for practical reasons, not for any self-defense.

Of course, it will also depend on what news about the events will come. Now it’s mostly about sadness and tragedy.

In addition, you cannot prosecute a twelve-year-old child in Finland. The case is still being investigated as a murder, and the suspect is now in juvenile detention, but he cannot go to jail under Finnish law.

The article is in Czech

Tags: Finns dont understand child shoot journalist describes sadness shock


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