24 September 2008


I don't like to write about killers. In my opinion they don't deserve publicity and are getting already too much as it is, especially from the sensationalist tabloid papers and certain private TV stations.

And this is not about the 22-year-old Finnish man who ran amok yesterday in the local vocational college of Kauhajoki (photo left), about 330 km north-west of Helsinki. (As it happens, I know the place from a visit there, many years ago. And I would never have thought that it would ever make headlines in the world's media. But these days no place, no matter how remote it is, seems to be safe any more...)

No, this is about gun control. We all know how appalling the system of free guns for all is in the USA and how often we hear of massacres from there. Nevertheless a significant part of the American people still cannot see sense and insists on universal gun ownership as a principle right.

Well, I am not an American and don't live in the USA. And I even refuse to set foot on US soil since the coup d'etat that brought George W. Bush to power in 2001. So I am not really concerned with the USA as such, except that it concerns me how their policies have an ever growing influence on the rest of the world.

Here in Europe more and more people have an American lifestyle and misbehave in the same way as they see it done by Americans in films and on TV. But fortunately we have very strict gun-control laws, which means that few people are allowed to own guns and massacres carried out by mad people are very rare.

Finland, being a large country with a small population, has strict gun laws as well. But since it is very densely forested and many people live in rural and rather wild areas, the policy of allowing gun ownership (especially for hunting rifles) is somehow more relaxed than in other European countries.
However, yesterday's massacre, which was carried out with a handgun, has woken up the Finnish people and started a discussion about the matter. And that is a good thing in the wake of a very bad and tragic day.

Finland's President Tarja Halonen (photo right) called the incident "shocking and sad", and one can expect changes to the country's gun laws in due course.
"We have to have very serious discussions and studies on what to do," she told a news conference on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, which she currently attends.

"Among the topics for discussion will be general gun control and the differences between hunting rifles and handguns," said Finland's Foreign Minister Alexander Stubb.

So it is not unlikely that liberal gun ownership in Finland might end soon, and the idea that anyone can run around toting a loaded gun - as it is still the case in the USA - is finished for good.

The Emerald Islander


Chris said...

When guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns.

Gun control is only effective with a compliant and complacent populace. Criminals, having no compunction to obey the law, will scoff as guns are "banned".


Well, it all is a question of general attitude, education, the law and its enforcement.

There are plenty of countries where criminals are punished a lot more severely when they commit a crime with an illegal gun. It does work, as long as the laws are there, the police has enough power and the people in general are peaceful and positive.

As Finland is such a country, I am sure it will work there and we will not hear of many more cases like the one that happened yesterday.

The USA, in contrast, are a very violent and greedy country, and have been so throughout her entire history. That is a much bigger and more serious problem, and I cannot see an easy solution for the USA in the foreseeable future.

Private gun ownership in the USA will become a real threat for the whole nation if there is another civil war (which I expect and have already predicted).

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