Tiina Wilén-Jäppinen, Imatra’s city council chair, was killed along with two journalists that wrote for the local Uutisvahti newspaper in Imatra late Saturday evening in what was apparently a random shooting. According to Yle News, Social Democratic Party Chair Antti Rinne has posted his condolences about the senseless shooting deaths of three women in Imatra. A press release from Prime Minister and Centre Party Chair Juha Sipilä also expressed his condolences to the victims’ families and loved ones. Sipilä said while Finland is still one of the safest countries in the world, acts like the Imatra killings are still possible. Interior Minister Paula Risikko of the National Coalition Party also promised a thorough examination, but said that at the moment, it seems as if the fatal crime was not politically motivated. And she mentions mental health problems (by the way, the mental health system in Finland has been reduced in the last 15 years in particular because the national Coalition Party wanted cuts in the public expenses…)
How nice of them, but very hypocritical!
The international press is not explaining that the murderer’s mental health problems are the main cause. They stress that Finland is a country with an easy access to firearms and that its inhabitants are among the biggest rifle owners in the world. According to the Small Arms Survey of the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, its civilians are the fourth most armed in the world behind the Americans, Yemenis and Swiss.
Other shootings, with young men being also the perpetrators, have already demonstrated in recent years the problem of easy access to guns in Finland:
- In 2007, an 18-year-old high school student bought a semi-automatic pistol to kill eight people at his school in Jokela (south). He then committed suicide.
- In 2008, a 22-year-old student who had also acquired a semi-automatic pistol had killed ten people in his class, including a professor, in Kauhajoki (southwest), before being killed.
- Finally in 2012 in Hyvinkää (south), an 18-year-old man perched on the roof of a building to open fire at lunchtime towards two restaurants full of high school students, with weapons stolen from a close relative. He is responsible of two death and of seven suffering from different injuries. He is serving a life sentence.
So the probability that a crazy guy, or of an unhappy drunk, has an easy access to guns is quite high in Finland. Then you walk out of a restaurant, and you are killed. Or you go to school, and you are killed. Or you walk in the street, and you are killed.
Then Juha Sipilä is totally wrong when he says that Finland is still one of the safest countries in the world. The statistics for intentional (successful) homicides are not really good here, and you have more chances to be murdered in Finland than in other EU countries (except Belgium and Estonia): the rate of homicides per 100 000 inhabitants in Finland is 50% higher than in France, even with the terrorism, 80 % higher than in Germany, 100 % higher than in Italy, 140 % higher than in Spain, Slovenia, Netherlands, and 300 % higher than in Switzerland, etc.
So, Finnish politicians, stop saying that Finland is safe, stop blaming the mental health in this country, and take your responsibilities. Learn from the firearms control in other countries (Switzerland for example, France, Germany, Italy…), man up and put an end to these unnecessary deaths. It is your responsibility to stop sending your condolences, to apologize for not doing anything after the previous killings, and take action!