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This is shooting Finland This is shooting Finland
by Thanos Kalamidas
2012-08-31 09:28:38
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I have been waiting for a week to read something. Even a small line in the news. Absolutely nothing. But let me explain what I’ve been waiting for. It was in the news with the headline, firearms accidents kill two children. A five-year old boy was killed by shots from a firearm and according to the police, two children were playing with the weapon in a private home when the firearm discharged, fatally wounding the boy in the head. The father of the family was said to have several licensed firearms.

In a separate incident an eleven-year-old boy out on a hunting trip with his father suffered fatal injuries from a small-bore rifle. He died later in hospital from his wounds. According again to police reports, the pair was in a boat and had two licensed firearms for a duck hunting trip—a shotgun and a small-bore rifle. The boy had reportedly used the smaller firearm when they beached the boat and replaced it in the bottom of the vessel. On re-boarding the boat, the boy apparently touched the weapon, which discharged, leading to his death.

Now in the one case the police was investigating whether the weapons were stored according to regulations and in the other officers were investigating the case as careless handling and causing bodily injury. Nobody seems to investigate how the hell a five year-old found with a loaded and unsecure weapon and how a nine year-old had his own weapon accompanying his father to a hunting trip. And how the hell can you call these two incidents, accidents.

By the end of 2006 there were more than 1.6 million licensed firearms in averaged among Finland's population of 5.3 million it comes to 30.5 per 100 people. And that while The Small Arms Survey 2007 by Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva Switzerland claims there are some 3 million firearms in Finland, or 56 per 100 civilians. The most popular excuse for years has been strong hunting traditions!

The two independent cases raise similar questions. How the weapons found their way to a three year-old hands, a five year-old hands and an eleven year-old hands. And if in the case of the three year-old and the five year-old is criminal neglect from the parents, in the case of the eleven year-old what is it? You don’t need to be inspector Clouseau to understand that the boy had used the gun before; he was trained from the father and was familiar with weapons. I would not actually been surprised if the boy had also used daddy’s shotgun. Just for the fun of it, to be a man! Because hunting as a tradition is usually the excuse but the truth is that it is a macho ritual. Actually a bloody – literally bloody - macho ritual in a nation that macho identifies contemporary generations.

And an eleven year-old is growing up identifying his existence with a weapon to ...turn into what? A culinary student who killed nine fellow students and a teacher before shooting himself at a vocational school in the western town of Kauhajoki in 2008? A year earlier, the 18-year-old who killed six fellow students, a nurse and the principal at a high school in Tuusula, southern Finland or the 23-year-old gunman wounded the father of his former girlfriend in an office building before firing several shots through a classroom door in southern Finland.

Something must happen with these weapons and this something must happen quickly. Since the 2008 incident there is a lot of talk about further control increase the age limits or make it harder to get the licence, more security. But it has remained talk. In the meantime an eleven year-old and a three year-old are the victims of those very same weapons. The police investigate whether the weapons were stored according to regulations and officers investigate the case as careless handling and causing bodily injury. But who can fight traditions!!! And I still wait to see what happened with the investigation!


      
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