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The Jokela High School is to be found in the municipality of Tuusula in Finland, some thirty miles north of the Finnish capital Helsinki. It was at around eleven o'clock (Finnish time) on the morning of Wednesday, 7th November that Pekka-Erik Auvinen, an eighteen year old pupil at the school, walked into the Jokela High School building armed with a .22 calibre handgun shouting "Revolution. Smash everything" and began shooting at random targets as they presented themselves.

Police responded to a call made at 11.44 that morning and arrived at the school eleven minutes later. Having made contact with the gunman, the police called on him to surrender, but his response was to open fire at them. As the situation was one of complete chaos when the police arrived, with pupils jumping out of windows, they concentrated on organising the evacuation of the building. By the time that armed police later secured the building they found that Auvinen had shot himself in the head. He later died from his wounds at Toolo Hospital in Helsinki, having shot dead another seven pupils together with the school's headmistress.

A video had earlier been posted on YouTube the previous day under the title of 'Jokela high school massacre 11/7/2007' by a user named Sturmgeist89. 'Sturmgeist', which means storm spirit in German was simply an alias for Auvinen himself and led many British media outlets such as The Sun and the Daily Mirror to immediately brand him as the YouTube Killer. The video featured a still photograph of Jokela High School which gradually dissolved into another photograph of a man pointing a handgun at the camera. During the video Auvinen claimed that he was a "social Darwinist" who would "eliminate all who I see unfit", whilst the song Stray Bullet by the industrial rock band KMFDM played in the background. (The choice of song being significant since the lyrics of Stray Bullet were once posted on a website maintained by Eric Harris of Columbine High School massacre fame.)

According to The Times there were eighty-nine videos in Auvinen’s YouTube account, and included such things as a video titled "Just testing my gun" which showed him firing at pieces of fruit in the forest, another which featured clips from Schindler's List showing Jews being tortured and killed, as well as various 'tributes' to the Columbine killers Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, as well as Jeffrey Dahmer and the Unabomber.

This material formed what Auvinen referred to as the "Manifesto of a Natural Selector", in which he claimed that he had "evolved a step higher" than the "miserable, arrogant and selfish human race". He therefore intended to conduct his own one-man war "against humanity, governments and weak-minded masses of the world", asserting that "I, as a natural selector, will eliminate all who I see unfit, disgraces of human race and failures of natural selection", whilst he also expressed a preference for the "death of the entire human race" on the basis that "It would solve every problem". He seems to have made no secret of his intended target and was at pains to point out that his motives for the attack were "political and much much deeper" and that he didn't want people simply calling it a "school shooting". All his videos have since been removed by YouTube, although some news media such as the BBC have published stills from the video which show Auvinen wearing his 'Humanity is Overrated' T-shirt whilst pointing a gun at the camera.


Finland has the third highest level of per capita gun ownership in the world (behind the USA and Yemen), and 56 per cent of the population own a weapon of some kind, giving the country the most heavily armed civilian population in Europe. Since Pekka-Erik Auvinen was a member of a local gun club and had no criminal record he was perfectly legally entitled to possess the firearm that he purchased on the 19th October, nor would anyone have thought it the slightest bit strange that he had purchased such a weapon.

Thursday 8th November 2007 has been declared a National Day of Mourning in Finland.


SOURCES

Taken from various news reports from such sources as BBC News, The Times, The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph, The Independent, The Sun and The Daily Mirror.

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