Admirers of school killers exchange views on Internet
Those combing the Internet searching for possible future school killers face a big problem: how to distinguish truly dangerous individuals from those who just want to make a noise.
"I love this day! I love it!" declared one person who had known about Matti Juhani Saari on his YouTube page a few hours after the shootings.
The person in question said that he did not know Saari personally, but knew of him.
“I have no actual inside information about his plans, thoughts, or private life”, the online acquaintance wrote.
On his own website, he paraphrases Pekka-Eric Auvinen (the perpetrator of the Jokela school massacre last November), declaring that humans are overrated, and proclaiming support for natural selection.
He also professes an interest in guns and shooting. After the Kauhajoki killings his pages were removed from YouTube, but he has since created a new pseudonym.
Matti Saari was part of a loose network formed around YouTube and the Irc-galleria social networking website. The members of the community are united by a fascination for school shootings.
Message board threads can be found on the Internet, where Pekka-Eric Auvinen comments on a video. Later an online acquaintance of Matti Saari comments on the same thread.
Members of the network in Finland, Germany, and the United States publish and recommend videos related to school shootings.
The shootings at Columbine High School in the United States and the Jokela case are of special interest. Videos have been uploaded either as tributes to the gunmen, or as calls for their rehabilitation.
“He was intelligent. He was beautiful”, says one video of Pekka-Eric Auvinen.
“They all had much courage – if we want our community to change, we need to hear their ideas."
Some even try to make money from school shootings. Already on Tuesday, a website in the United States was selling T-shirts featuring a picture of Matti Saari. The same site maintains a list in which school killers are placed in a “ranking order” based on the number of people they have killed.
The two shooters at Columbine, Jokela’s Auvinen, and most recently, Matti Saari have an iconic status on certain websites, similar to that of serial killers depicted in horror films.
The videos taken by Matti Saari and placed on the Internet are similar to those put by Auvinen from Jokela.
Both of them depict a set of pictures from the Columbine killings.
Typical features include posing with weapons, shouting at the camera, shouting at the camera, firing into the ground, and television footage broadcast after the massacre.
One of Saari’s online acquaintances says that he had an online community linked with the Columbine massacre, and that he was very interested in the Jokela shootings.
The acquaintance says that his Irc-galleria account has been closed because of the publication of a Columbine-related documentary.
“It did not praise it in any way. It was a film linked with real events”, he says in his defence.
He knew Saari, and had discussed Saari's school bullying experience with him online.
Previously in HS International Edition:
A seemingly ordinary young man who reported in his online messages that he hated people (24.9.2008)