September 21-27, 2008
I'm Trench Reynolds.
I blog about crime.
This is DBKP's This Week in Crime for September 21-September 27th, 2008.
Yes, I took the week off last week. That's a good thing. When I take the week off that means there wasn't anything earth-shattering to report in my world of crime. This week, unfortunately, is not the case.
As I'm sure most of you know there was a school shooting last week in Finland in which ten people were killed. It's the second school shooting Finland has had in the past year. Most blogs posted the initial crime and posted very little follow up about it. As for me I just can't let go of stories like this.
22-year-old gunman Matti Saari stormed the Kauhajoki School of Hospitality armed with a gun and incendiary devices. Saari attended the school and attacked the room where his classmates were taking a cooking exam. Sarri was supposed to have taken that exam the same day as he was studying to be a chef. Witnesses said that Saari looked like he was having 'fun' while opening fire on the unsuspecting crowd. Saari also actually phoned a friend of his to tell him that he's killed people and called to say goodbye. Saari used his incendiary devices to set fire to the classroom and to the bodies of those he shot. The victims had to be taken to Helsinki to be identified.
Saari did fire on police who did not fire back. They didn't have to. Like most school shooters Saari turned the gun on himself. He initially survived but died later at the hospital.
When the smoke cleared a chilling portrait of the shooter had been cast and as usual in these situations the red flags were many. Now I'm going to offer my sobering dose of reality that go along with many myths of school shooters.
In a note left by Saari he said that he was planning a school shooting for six years. That would mean that he was 16 and in high school when he started plotting. According to some of his high school friends he was bullied and an outcast in high school. A lot of these shooters are nothing more than copycats of the Columbine shooting. A lot of them think that the Columbine shooters, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold were bullied. In my opinion they were not. In this day of instant information I have yet to see any proof that they were actually bullied. This Slate article by journalist Dave Cullen lends credence to that theory. Not to mention that is no excuse to kill 10 people that had nothing to do with his alleged bullying.
Saari was bullied while he was in the Finnish Army as well. This should come as no shock considering he was discharged from the army for firing off his weapon when he was not ordered to. That terrified the other recruits.
Saari was also a 'fan' of school shooters including the Columbine killers and Cho Seung Hui, the gunman at Virginia Tech but more on that later. When these bullying claims come out it makes me wonder if the bullying started before they became school shooting fans or after.
Also as someone who was bullied every day for 12 years I know how painful bullying can be but I never thought of taking up arms. For those of you in high school who think that it's all hopeless just bide your time. Once you reach my age you'll realize how insignificant high school was in the grand timeline of your life. Once you graduate more than likely your bullies will either end up in jail or in some dead end life.
The first thing most people did was make the comparison in similarities that happened at the Jokela School 10 moths prior. To say the similarities were eerie is a gross understatement.
Prior to the Jokela shooting gunman Pekka-Eric Auvinen posted videos on YouTube that were in a threatening manner against Jokela High School. Saari posted threatening videos as well except his did not indicate a specific target. Both were fans of other school shootings. Both had bought their guns at the same gun shop in Jokela. As it turned out these were not mere coincidences.
Saari and Auvinen were online buddies both brought together for their admiration of school shooters. Over at TheTrenchcoat Chronicles I refer to these types of people as 'mutants'. Not the X-Men kid of mutants but more like CHUDs. They played online games together. They exchanged YouTube videos of previous school shootings. They boasted about their plans to each other. To extend the six degrees of separation of school shooters even further, before his shooting spree and suicide Auvinen also had contact with Pennsylvania student Dillon Cossey. Cossy was arrested last year for plotting an attack against Plymouth-Whitemarsh High School outside of Philadelphia. While this school shooting 'network' if you will may come as a shock to some it does not come as a shock to me.
These school shooting groupies congregate online in places like LiveJournal, MySpace, and various message boards. If you go back to every shooting that has happened since Columbine I can almost guarantee that most of them, either shooters or would be shooters, were fans of Columbine. It's not just kids and teens either. The really scary part is that there are adults who were even adults when Columbine happened that are fans of the mass murderers.
So when people ask where will the next school shooter come from my answer will always be the same. They come from the darkest corners of the internet.
by Trench Reynolds
image: Trench Network