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Finland, a nation united in grief

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Finland, a nation united in grief


Finns from the president down have gathered in Helsinki to remember the victims of yesterday’s school murders. The main commemoration was in the capital, but others were taking place all over the country. Students caught up in the tragedy have been offered counselling, while their wounded friends recover from their injuries in hospital.

Six students, five boys and a girl, their headmistress and the school nurse, died at Jokela School. It has traumatised the nation, and sparked a debate over the country’s relatively-lenient gun laws. Hunting is a popular sport in Finland, and 56 out of every 100 Finns owns a weapon. Even so, violence in schools is extremely rare.

Pekka-Eric Auvinen was a legal gun-owner: he had a licence, having joined a shooting club recently. He had also posted chilling videos on the internet, warning of what was to happen. There are calls for more resources to help disturbed children in schools, and demands for tougher policing of the internet.

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