Helsinki Cathedral has led Finland’s mourning for the Jokela school victims. Similar services were held across the country, as Finland struggled to accept that such violence could happen to them. President Tarja Halonen was in the congregation; she has sent her sympathies to the victims’ families.
Finland’s deep alarm is reflected in its newspaper headlines. Despite high levels of gun ownership, violent crime is rare. Police released photographs of the aftermath of the shootings at Jokela High School. The gunman had some 500 bullets on him, and had fired in all directions.
Pekka-Eric Auvinen was described as a clever student, but also a depressive; he was the one people picked on at school. Friends said he was keen on guns, but had also become obsessed with philosophy, psychology and Hitler. Police said a suicide note revealed his hatred of society.
Children caught up in the tragedy are being offered counselling. Some said Auvinen had rampaged through the school screaming “This is the Revolution, this is Hell.”