Finland School Shootings: Why?
A young native Finn explains some of the reasons behind the recent school shootings in Finland which have killed scores of innocent individuals.
In recent times many foreigners have shown interest to know reasons behind the Finnish school shootings. These acts have often been considered as an American phenomenon. What does it mean that such a phenomenon has come into a country which has traditionally been considered as a somewhat safe place for everyone who wishes to have a normal, ordinary life?
First of all, when tragedy strikes there is usually more than just one reason. We need several reasons to be able cause a disaster. In a country like Finland events like this are a major disaster.
School violence in Finland has been very little compared to many other countries. We don’t usually have police officers, metal-detactors or security guards to keep things in order. From my own experience (I quit school in 2005), all students and teachers knew each other very well. Due to small number of population school sizes are not gigantic. You can actually get to know almost every students – of course not necessarily in universities!
(False?) sense of security is one factor
It is easy to blame video and pc games for spreading violence. For an actual incident to happen, you need more than that. In normal hands a player of violent video games does not turn into a blood-thirsty psychopath. From this we can draw conclusion that mental problems of the youths is one key factor.
How are mental issues handled in Finland?
It should be noted that in Finland we have several possible risk factors which can cause mental disorders. Foreigners might believe it’s all because of the long, cold winter – but that is hardly so. More like, lack of social activities, lack of a social network is a major problem. It is easy to log online and get in touch with radical youths.
From websites offering ideologies is possible to find a “role”, “meaning” for a separated, individual existence. Feeding the idea of martyrdom. Also, many western muslim terrorists (yes, who were born and spent their whole lives in western countries) have been seperated from the society and lacking social networks which every youth needs.
Many parents have no idea what is going on in the online world. They have NO idea what kind of websites their kids are viewing. I can tell this also from my own experience. Parents are busy with work, paying their bills, getting food on the table. Is easy to forget sometimes to focus on the bigger issues.
It is easy to blame capitalism, but truth is that still few decades ago young people here communicated more with parents, grand-parents and relatives, families were more united, even marriages more lasting. Parents didn’t spend much time outside of their homes. Meals were eaten together. Existed true and real communication. This is one key word here – communication. In a rarely populated country-like Finland-social network becomes highly important. People to talk with, share feelings with, to draw support from-yes, even receive much needed intimacy. We need girlfriends and boyfriends for everyone who needs such! Ones that will stick loyally to their mates, not just for the reason of FUN.
Young people need counsel, direction, identity – a purpose of living and a place in this world. Religion used to give such answers but has lost credibility, especially in Europe and countries like Finland, since the times of Darwin.
The role of authorities and health-care officials
In every school we have health-care officials. But how actively they are searching for individuals with risk behaviour? They are not. I could visit my school nurse once in a week, if I had a need – and there was no one else taking her time. That is passive. Person with problems must ACTIVELY seek for help. This is a problem, because it is not automatic at all.
What happens if or when someone seeks help?
In my town it takes 1-2 years for a person to get psychological treatment. So many patients are on the queue and not enough personel and resources to take care of their needs. We can blame the politicians and authorities for neglecting the citizen’s needs. Of course, they consider themselves “innocent” in front of insane violence. But when thinking carefully enough, is easy to feel somewhat differently on this defense.
Health-care does cost – both for the patient and the community. And the community is not providing enough for this. Why it is so?
Still in the 1990s Finnish health-care was, undoubtebly, one of the best in the world. Effective, cheap and satisfactory – at least for the most patients. Really, what else could have been needed?
Sadly enough, Finland suffered a heavy economical suppression in 1990-1993. This was, in fact, the worst in any western European country after the Second World War. This was caused by the fall of the Soviet Union – back then the country’s biggest trade partner. The Finnish people paid a heavy price for these financial mistakes of the ruling financial experts. Unemployment rate rose from 3.5% to 18%. Social-Economic structures changed for good.
For the Government it seemed “wise” to cut expenses – one easy way to do so was the health-care. Easiest was to cut expenses in the field of mental health and elderly people – people with not much “visible”, physical wounds. Short thinking, really.
In addition, as Finland joined the European Union in 1995, taxation has been cut from around 49% to 37%. This, too, means cuts. At the moment Finnish state has a debt of some 50 billion euros. Compared to many other western countries – like Italy or Belgium – this is till not much, but for our politicians it is a shame. “We must cut our foreign debts”. And this has been done, in a slow pace.
In reality, the situation in health-care is still far from perfect. Results we see in every day life. Unfortunately, sometimes even in such a radical form as the late school shootings. A tragedy.
Perhaps after one incident it could be considered merely as a coincidence, but after TWO incidents the messages starts to be clear: “Politicians, wake up!”
The Finnish nation needs politicians and authorities that TRULY, deeply care for the needs of the nation. That is the only true solution.