Finland mourns dead students, rethinks law

Image: A teenager looks at candles at dawn at the Kauhajoki vocational high school in Kauhajoki, southwestern Finland
A teenager looks at candles at dawn at the Kauhajoki vocational high school in southwestern Finland, on Wednesday, a day after a student killed 10 people before shooting himself in the head.Olivier Morin / AFP - Getty Images
/ Source: news services

Finland mourned the dead of its second school shooting in less than a year Wednesday, and questioned whether it was time to clamp down hard on private gun ownership.

Meantime, police said the victims of the massacre at a vocational school in Kauhajoki, in the west of the country, were eight women and two men, plus the gunman.

The National Bureau of Investigation said all the women were students, while one of the men was a teacher and the other was a student.

The 22-year-old gunman, Matti Saari, also wounded an additional female student before shooting himself in the head. He died later in Tampere University Hospital.

Investigators said the gunman set fires in the school that seriously burned the victims of Tuesday's massacre.

On Wednesday, the main national daily Helsingin Sanomat replaced its usual front-page advertisement with a large picture of a woman adding a candle to a memorial in front of the school. The text above a picture of Saari read "Why?"

"The Web cannot be held responsible for this, but you can certainly ask how much the Web feeds the dark side of human nature," the paper said in an editorial.

Saari carried out the attack days after drawing police attention with online videos of himself at a gun range.

Finnish media focused heavily on how police, alerted to Saari's videos, could question him Monday but not confiscate the gun, why Saari could get a gun in the first place, and how to tighten Finland's gun law.

** FILE ** This is an undated aerial view of the Kauhajoen palvelualojen oppilaitos school where a shooting took place in Kauhajoki, Finland, Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2008. Finnish police say they've disarmed a gunman at a school in western Finland after he opened fire on students. Superintendent Jussi Muotio of the Kauhajoki police saysCity Of Kauhajoki / Lehtikuva

Tuesday Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen said Finland should consider banning private handguns altogether.

Gun ownership in Finland is among the highest in the world, but crime rates are low.

"The Kauhajoki shooter had a new gun permit for a small-caliber gun. Those calibers were enough, however, to end the lives of many young people and spread senseless pain and destruction widely," Helsingin Sanomat said.

'So scared'
The Nordic nation has only started to recover from last November's school shooting, when 18-year-old Pekka-Eric Auvinen killed eight people, and then himself.

Finnish media focused on the similarities between the two shootings, including the use of boastful YouTube videos and the same caliber handgun.

"I am so scared and don't know what to do ... I thought this is a safe area. I've been living here for all my life. It's a small town and safe but I don't know if it's safe anymore," said 17-year old Sanna Orpana, who was in Kauhajoki school during the shooting.