Tuesday, September 23, 2008

"We only question. No answers...."

(Autumn colours and APCs in Kauhajoki NYT/AP)

...and "the world has changed, I can say it." said Mayor Anti Rantokokko of Kauhajoki.

I was a bit late leaving work and rode home as the sun was setting. I rode mainly through the central park, and listening to my iPod could ignore the traffic noise in the distance and just enjoy what was around. The perfect autumnal evening. The sycamores are going bright yellow, the birch and aspen trees golden and red. There is a particular plant I don't know the name of, used by many as a garden hedge, which turns a comically lurid pink; it's as if it has to go punk to out do the glorious displays of the trees above. As I head further north through the suburbs the smell of apples and wood smoke arrive. Many gardens have apple trees and this year has been a bumper crop, the tree are laden and many rot on the ground releasing their rich, pungent smell. And wood smoke: the smell of winter now, and of my childhood - homely and warm. The sky is blue above and orange to the west, the air cool but not cold. Ignore or be at peace with the city's traffic noise in background, and it is perfect.

The European Security Strategy, that was under discussion at the conference I attended last week, opens with the words "Europe has never been so prosperous, so secure nor so free. The violence of the first half of the 20th Century has given way to a period of peace and stability unprecedented in European history". But nobody seems to think that, instead some say:
"Whole life is war and whole life is pain
And you will fight alone in your personal war"
Then they go and shoot people who had done them no harm.

A colleague said to me today as we watched the breaking news "something is going wrong with society". Not really - we just think something is going wrong with society and then it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy. But for the majority of the first world, and even for increasing numbers in the developing world, we have never before been so prosperous, so secure nor so free. My wife said that earlier she had been discussing with the neighbours, before it was announced that Saari had died - that they hoped he lived so that people could find out why? But the mayor was right straight away: there would have been no answers beyond what occasionally happens when mentally unstable people have easy access to firearms.


KGS said...

I believe that the ideologies behind these cold blooded killers, needs to be explored in more detail. What is exactly known about their (Auvinen and Saari)political affiliations?

Someone must know something about that, these types cannot keep such a thing to themselves. It was a long road they traveled until they came to their own cross roads.

Placing it all under the label of a "mental illness" is easy and comforting, but what if it's due to a slow political-ideological transformation of the human species into something less than an animal, making it that much more easy to kill?

I don't have the answers, but hand guns in Finland have been available for decades, why is it that Finland is now experiencing mindless slaughter and not way back then?

I wonder if it has more to do with the society's drift in traditional values and morals, which leaves the potential candidate with nothing to fall back on when everything in his or her life goes south.

Sounds more like short circuting of a tradtional nihilist, than someone who was simply "unbalanced or dememnted".

Toby - Northern Light Blog said...

An 18 and 22 year old aren't likely to have much beyond posturings - but you can read Auvinen's natural selector manifesto - he even helpfully wrote it in English. Some badly understood Dawkins, a dash of Nietzche but all more wikipedia than university honours class.

I think most Finns agree with you though. Society has moved from social democratic communalism of the 60s and 70s, and after the end of the cold war to neoliberal individualism of the 90s and 00s. We have more stuff of our own but have lost out on a sense of "us". Personally I don't find that very convincing though.

Although I haven't checked, I don't think murder rates have actually increased year by year. In the 'good ole days' people killed their immediate families more often maybe, but even still there were horrible things like the Bodom murders in the 60s was it?

KGS said...

Perhaps it's due to the fermenting of the ideologies represented in the 60's and 70's, that have given birth to the new breed of nihilism.

Individualism doesn't breed contempt for the indivifual, on the contrary, its' socialism that does. Socialist thought breeds discontent/disgust for the very masses it pretends to care about.

What else could explain Socialist Greens wanting to stifle human development for the sake of the spotted owl?

Toby - Northern Light Blog said...

I don't want to get in to another fruitless ideological discussion attached to this very sad issue. I know you have very strong views on this and you know that I fundamentally disagree with you. Lets let the families bury their dead before we start blaming it on socialism, greens or indeed spotted owls.