Wednesday, May 21, 2008

I am a super-person

‘I want this to be remembered forever. Maybe I'll even have a follower; after all, I am a super-person, almost God.’ This is one of many disturbing diary entries made by Pekka-Eric Auvinen, a Finnish student, in the run-up to his shooting of eight people and himself at Jokela High School in November 2007. Information about the diaries has recently come to light thanks to publication of a final report by the Finnish Bureau of Investigation.

The shooting was one of the worst such incidents ever reported, and certainly the most terrible in Finland. At the time, the Finnish Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen called it a ‘great tragedy’ and said the shooting had ‘deeply undermined the sense of security in society’, according to BBC News. The facts are carefully explained in an excellent Wikipedia entry.

There are many extraordinary and indeed disturbing aspects of this tragedy, not least that Auvinen was on SSRI antidepressants (which, it is now thought, can lead to suicidal tendencies in teenagers), and that his murderous shooting spree happened just three weeks after getting a gun licence.

But also disturbing is the extent to which Auvinen’s obsession was publicly visible on the internet for a long time prior to the tragedy. The Wikipedia article gives details of a video posted to YouTube, hours before the shooting, announcing the massacre, and of other videos, posted earlier, showing an unhealthy interest in violent incidents, such as the Columbine High School massacre, the Waco Siege, and the Tokyo sarin gas attack. Auvenin even left a media package explaining his actions and his motives for the shooting. The Odd Culture website carries much of Auvinen’s own material, while The Trenchcoat Chronicals, which is fairly obsessed in its own way, has much to say about the Jokela tragedy and other school shootings.

It has now been revealed - thanks to a final report from the Finnish National Bureau of Investigation - that Auvenin also kept a diary. It shows, a Bureau press release states, that ‘Auvinen had started to plan the school shooting in March 2007 and given it the name ‘Main Strike’. The diary entries display the will and the plans of the perpetrator and their realisation as well as the possibility that the perpetrator himself could die in the incident. No traces were found in the investigation that an outsider would have read the diary.’

I don’t think the text of the diaries has been made public (at least not in English), but various extracts have made their way into news reports. Mister-info has these:
- ‘In the best case, this (attack) would create massive destruction and chaos, or even a revolution’;
- ‘In any case, I want this to be remembered forever. Maybe I'll even have a follower; after all, I am a super-person, almost God’;
- ‘kill as many of you bastards as possible’.

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