Eleven die in shooting bloodbath
Jokela tragedy repeated in Kauhajoki
Culinary arts student Matti Juhani Saari, 22, is suspected of having killed ten people on Tuesday morning at a vocational college in the centre of the town of Kauhajoki in Western Finland.
The killer shot some of the victims with a Walther P22 pistol, and others apparently died from asphyxiation and carbon monoxide poisoning as a result of the fire started by Saari, who was also carrying some incendiary devices.
By no means all of the badly charred bodies could be identified on Tuesday.
Eventually Saari shot himself in the head, and he died some hours later in hospital.
The horrific events in Kauhajoki progressed in much the same way as those at the Jokela High School last November.
For the second time in less than 12 months, the events of Tuesday have thrown Finland into deep shock and grief and have prompted an outpouring of questions - about the role of the authorities, the Internet, the availability of handguns, and not least the mind-set of Finland's young people.
Why are these awful things happening here?
What can be done to stem the bloodshed?
Helsingin Sanomat does not have one-size-fits-all answers to hand, but at least we shall try to explain what happened and touch on some of the possible whys and wherefores.
Matti Saari, 22, the man believed to be responsible for Tuesday morning's volley of shots, is described by those who knew him as a normal and socially-outgoing young man. On the Internet he described his world outlook as one of misanthropy and he apparently admired past perpetrators of school shootings. Messages were found from Saari's home that may point towards a motive for his actions.
Police did not confiscate Saari's Walther P22 pistol, the murder weapon, although Saari was brought in for questioning on Monday, the day before the shootings, over videos he had posted on the Internet. Police had received word about the videos last week. The .22 calibre pistol was Saari's first gun, and he had a temporary firearms licence for it, given by police in August.
As with previous school shootings, Saari left behind a trail of threatening videos and other images on Youtube and other websites. He uploaded the first shooting videos to YouTube around three weeks ago. He added materisal to his pages on the IRC-Galleria social networking site a matter of an hour or so before he went to the vocational college on Tuesday morning. The material was found on the Net within a few minutes of when the shooting started.
Gunshots in a Finnish school put Finland at the top of the world's headlines for the second time in less than a year. International media sources had no trouble looking behind the events in Kauhajoki for similarities with Jokela and at the high level of gunownership in the country and the apparent malaise of its youth, the endemic level of violence in Finland, or issues with funding for mental health.
Previously in HS International Edition:
School shooting in Kauhajoki - Eleven dead, many injured (23.9.2008)