Shootout

Well, as you may or may not know, there has been a serious case of school-shootout in Finland. There's not much to say about the tragedy itself, since words would be pretty pointless.

What I can talk about is the reaction of the media and people to the event. "Disappointed" doesn't even begin to describe my feelings. Where to begin...

First of all, media is telling how "we may never know the reasons for his crime". Well, apart from the lengthy manifesto he posted on the internet? Now, his motives are obviously screwed up, but they are nevertheless his motives. So we do know. We do not agree with them, we might not understand them, but we know what they are.

Second, we get the usual comments in the media that "did he practice the killing in videogames?". Um, no. Aiming with the mouse and clicking the mouse-button does not in any shape or form prepare you to fire an actual handgun on a living, breathing human being. And even further: the dude specificly said that games, movies, music, his parents or his friends are not the reason for his actions.

Third: we get bunch of people telling how we should "ban handgun". Well, banning handguns would not change the fact that this person was homicidial psycho. The gun was just a tool, not the reason. Had he not had a gun, he could have used a knife (like the killer in Japan did in 2001), or pipe-bombs, or Molotov cocktails instead. Guns are very rarely used for killing others in Finland, even though we are one of the most heavily-armed nations in the world. Usually people use knives or something similar.

What I find lacking is real discussion to the reasons for this tragedy. What could have been done to prevent it? What could we do to prevent future cases? What we DO get is pointless discussion about videogames and banning guns. Since knives kill a lot more people than guns do, why isn't anyone insisting that we should ban knives while we are at it? Instead of intelligent discussion, we have a moral panic, where people talk about the easy things: guns. Guns are easy to blame. But they are not the reason, they are merely a tool. They are easy to blame, but they are the wrong thing to blame. What they do not talk about are the hard things we should be talking about instead: why?

2 comments:

dr witmol said...

The massacre aftermath period regularly misses the point that social context often has the biggest role to play in a killer's motivations.

I remember the hype after the 1996 Port Arthur massacre in Tasmania (gunman Martin Bryant killed 36 people). They went to his house to blame violent movies and all they could find was a video cassette of the musical 'Carousel'. So much for that.

Janne said...

Yeah. Back when we had the Myyrmanni Bombing (in 2002) there was no easy scapegoat, since the perpetrator used a home-made bomb, not a gun. And he wasn't really that interested in games or movies either, he was just a regular kid. So the media and others had a real problem: What could we blame this on? They had no easy answers. Everyone knows that the reasons for these kinds of things are complex, yet we like to blame the easy target. This time there is one, back in 2002 there wasn't. And the sad thing is that this whole discussion we are having in the media betrays the victims of this horrible thing. We are doing nothing to prevent this from happening again. We are talking about the tool he used, instead of talking about what drove him in to hating others and society so deeply. But it seems like people are willing to live with bunch of people who absolutely hate the society and people in it, as long as they don't have guns. Of course they could use some other tool instead (knife, bomb, poison etc.) but obviously that's not as important as taking guns away from them. But in the end, the dead do not care that were they stabbed or shot, they are still dead.

It's like thinking that having metal-detectors at school solves the problem of guns in schools (which, in the end, is not a problem here). How about thinking about why people bring guns to schools and trying to fix that, instead of simply installing metal-detectors?

I have been talking about this thing around the net recently, and it seems to me that this is a case where someone points at the moon, and everyone stares the finger he's pointing with...