Little Bits of History

September 23

Posted in History by patriciahysell on September 23, 2017

2008: Finland suffers the second school shooting in less than a year. Matti Juhanni Saari was a 22 year old studying at the Seinäjoki University of Applied Sciences. The university is spread out over six municipalities of Southern Ostrobothnia and has a total student population of around 4,800 and a staff of 380. The shootings took place at the Kauhajoki School of Hospitality where Saari was enrolled. The University and the Seinäjoki Vocational Education Centre – Sedu shared the campus and facilities.

Saari was born in 1986 and was a second year student working in hospitality management. He had joined the Finnish Army in 2006 and was thrown out after only a month after firing his weapon during a woodland exercise, against orders. He was said to have been bullied in high school and had dropped out for that reason and a friend reported that Saari had been seeing a psychologist in the months leading up to the shooting as he was obsessed with guns and violence.

He entered the building via the basement at 10.40 AM local time. There were about 200 students in the building at that time. He was armed with a Walther P22 Target semi-automatic pistol and had homemade Molotov cocktails with him. He was dressed in dark clothing and wearing a ski mask. He was said to be very prepared and calm as he carried out these atrocities. He entered a room where students were taking an exam. According to a student who escaped, there were about 20 students in the room. Saari approached each victim individually and then shot them. There was little resistance and Saari was said to have been enjoying the proceedings.

After he shot as many people as he wanted, he doused the room in what is believed to be gasoline and lit it on fire. Before 11 AM, Saari ran down a hall and threw a Molotov cocktail into another classroom. He then shot out the windows in the main hallway. As police arrived, he shot at them. Many of the students escaped through broken windows and were injured in their attempts to flee. Saari started several more fires throughout the building. In all, 11 people were killed and another 11 were injured. Eight of the victims were female students and there was one male student, said to be a friend of Saari’s, as well. All students were in their 20s. One teacher, a male in his 50s, was also killed. Another woman was shot in the head, but survived. Most of the other injuries were minor. Students were hampered in their escape due to a river running close to the building, but there were some boats available which helped students get away from the fires. At 11.53, Saari called out and reported he had killed ten people and then shot himself. He was found still alive and taken to the hospital where he died later that evening.

Saari left notes saying he had a hatred for mankind, for the whole of the human race, and that he had been thinking about what he was going to do for years. The notes show he was very troubled and he hated everything. – police spokesperson referring to note left behind

Anybody can become angry – that is easy, but to be angry with the right person and to the right degree and at the right time and for the right purpose, and in the right way – that is not within everybody’s power and is not easy. – Aristotle

Speak when you are angry – and you’ll make the best speech you’ll ever regret. – Laurence J. Peter

When angry, count to four; when very angry, swear. – Mark Twain