Thursday, September 25, 2008

Panic Sweeps Finland and Sweden

The cult of Columbine is being realized anew. I've been getting media calls from Finland, Netherlands, Belgium, and other European countries asking whether I see any overlaps between this week's shooting in Finland and other school shootings. Of course, I do.

The previous Finland school shooter exhibited several ties to Columbine and other recent incidents. The Jokela school shooting occurred on November 7, 2007 at Jokela High School (Finnish: Jokelan koulukeskus), a public secondary school in the town of Jokela, Tuusula municipality, Finland. The gunman was 18-year-old Pekka-Eric Auvinen.

Pekka-Eric Auvinen uploaded a home-made movie entitled "Jokela High School Massacre - 11/7/2007" to YouTube announcing the "massacre" hours prior to the shooting. KMFDM's "Stray Bullet" was used as background music. The KMFDM track used in his video, "Stray Bullet", was also used on the website of Columbine shooter Eric Harris.

Several hours after the 2007 event, YouTube suspended some videos belonging to the username Sturmgeist89 due to relations with the shootings. Sturmgeist means "Stormspirit" in German. This appears to have been a reference to KMFDM, as Sturm had been a member of the band. Dylan Klebold, and Eric Harris (Columbine's shooters, were also KMFDM fans and Eric wore a KMFDM hat during the shooting) was idolized by Auvinen. His previous YouTube account name was "naturalselector89", which he used from March 2007 until it was suspended in October 2007. Many of Auvinen's videos were about other shootings and violent incidents, including the Columbine High School massacre, the Waco Siege, the Tokyo sarin gas attack, and bombing during the Iraq invasion.

Spokesman for the cyber crime department of Helsinki police has stated that "it's highly probable that there was some form of contact between Pekka-Eric Auvinen and Dillon Cossey." The 14-year-old Cossey was arrested in October 2007 on suspicion of planning an attack on his school in a suburb of Philadelphia.

There is developing information that Auvinen and this week's Finnish school shooter Matti Saari may have been in contact too. Certainly it is now known that they both bought their guns at the same place in Jokela.

Before the 2007 incident, another school shooting occurred in 1989 at the Raumanmeri school in Rauma, Finland, when a 14-year-old fatally shot two fellow students.

Now the latest....

Panic spread among students in Finland on Thursday (September 25, 2008) as threatening text messages and Internet postings raised fears of new attacks mimicking a deadly school rampage.

Worried children and parents jammed telephone help lines and scores of children stayed away from class after threats popped up against schools and students, noted Associated Press writer Marius Turula from Kauhajoki, Finland.

While most appeared to be hoaxes, police were taking every threat seriously to avoid a repeat of Tuesday's shooting (September 23, 2008), in which a 22-year-old gunman killed 10 people and himself at a vocational school in this town in western Finland.

It was the second school shooting in the country in less than a year. Last November 2007, an 18-year-old man fatally shot eight people and himself at a high school in southern Finland.

"It's clear that the more you talk about these incidents, the more chances there are of copycats," National Police Commissioner Mikko Paatero told reporters in Helsinki. "After we've witnessed two such incidents, the threat is real."

Both gunmen posed with or fired guns in YouTube clips posted before the rampages. The similarities between the attacks — including reports that they bought their guns at the same place — prompted police to probe potential links between them.

"The cases were similar. They were the same type of person, so it could be possible," investigation leader Jari Neulaniemi told The Associated Press. "They had the same style of hair, same kind of clothing, same interests and ideals — and their deeds were the same."

The jitters spread to neighboring Sweden, where one school was evacuated. Police arrested a 16-year-old boy after viewing a suspicious YouTube clip in which he posed with weapons. He was released after police said the video was just a prank.

Police in both countries stepped up their surveillance of YouTube and other Web sites to monitor for signs of possible attack plans.

"We'd be looking to see if we can, by careful analysis, weed out some who would pose a potential threat," said Tero Kuremaa, from the National Bureau of Investigation.

In Finland, police held two young men for questioning about threatening Internet postings, evacuated at least one school and detained a 15-year-old for allegedly sending threats to another school.

Meanwhile, investigators struggled to find the origin of the text messages that sparked fear among students.

"The text messages are threatening in nature and are causing fear and hysteria among young people, and we must stop them," said Urpo Lintula, a spokesman for the regional police department that covers Kauhajoki.

He added that Finland saw a similar wave of threats after the November 2007 shooting.

Police, psychiatrists and social workers set up dozens of crisis help lines nationwide to deal with reported threats, calls for help and to provide counseling. The Finnish Red Cross closed down a chat line after 350 callers jammed switchboards.

"There's a lot of uncertainty in the air and there's a lot of fear," said Tero Hintsa, a Red Cross worker in Kauhajoki. Scores of children stayed away from class Wednesday (Sept. 24, 2008) and Thursday (Sept. 25), he said.

A 500-student school in the southern town of Keuruu was evacuated after suspicious text messages and Internet postings. A 15-year-old boy was arrested in the west coast city of Turku for allegedly sending threatening messages to a school, STT news agency reported.

Police in the central town of Kajaani detained two men aged 18 and 23 for menacing messages they had posted on the Internet.

"They were fairly vague but they mentioned shootings in schools and bomb explosions," Kajaani police spokesman Arto Lumikari said, adding the men were not believed to be planning any attacks.

On Tuesday, September 23, 2008, Matti Saari killed eight female students, one male teacher and one male student, and torched their bodies. A 21-year-old woman whom Saari shot in the head was still hospitalized after having two operations.

Sanna Orpana, 17, told AP Television News that she was in the classroom next door when the shooting began at the school.

"We started to hear shooting and a kind of a rumble like tables falling down. We thought someone is playing around, fooling with toy guns," she said, adding that a few students went to look in the other room. "The guy was there with a gun, and tried to shoot them."


Associated Press writers Matti Huuhtanen and Jari Tanner in Helsinki and Karl Ritter in Stockholm, Sweden, contributed to this report.

Also thanks to Todd Campbell.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Da Vinci Code Attack

Rosemary's baby, 666, The Da Vinci Code, and the Last Supper? Fiction is turning into fact and the latest from Rome gives haunting pause to all Hell breaking loose across the landscape during a time of killings at a school in Finland to a language school in London just this week.

Reuters today is reporting that a 25-year-old man who tried to kill a priest by stabbing him in a Rome church has told police that he did so after the watching the film The Da Vinci Code and believing himself to be the anti-Christ.

The priest, Rev. Caino Calitri, 68, was in critical condition in a Rome hospital after he was stabbed repeatedly in the neck Tuesday, September 23, 2008, by Marco Luzi, according to Italian media reports, including the Catholic paper Avvenire.

The attack took place at the Santa Marcella church in Rome and left two other worshippers needing treatment.

Police officer Luca Gori, 41, who disarmed Luzi, suffered knife wounds to his stomach as he struggled with him on the floor of the church. Witnesses said Luzi had burst in armed with two knives, and carrying a set of rosary beads. Gori is said to have shouted that he was the ''Antichrist'' as well as talking about The Da Vinci Code.

Police found a note in one of Luzi's pockets reading "this is just the beginning, 666."

The number 666 is known as "the number of the beast" in the "Book of Revelation" in the Bible.

Luzi, who stabbed three other people who had tried to help the priest, told police after his arrest that he had watched The Da Vinci Code on television the night before, September 22.

At his flat nearby, where he lived with his mother Paola, investigators found material on the Apocalypse and the anti-Christ, and the telephone number of L'Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper.

There was also a large reproduction of Leonardo da Vinci's The Last Supper, which is at the heart of the mystery in The Da Vinci Code, with a note pointing to one of the disciples reading: "This is the hand in which a knife is hidden".

Police also found a box on which was written "In here are the keys to the Sixth and Seventh Seals, closed by order of Satan and Jesus Christ. Give all these things to the Pope."

A rambling note read: "Between my death and my return many grave events will take place, years will pass, perhaps centuries. Christianity will be reviewed in the light of the new alliance between Jesus and the Madonna". Other notes referred to Islam, Satanism and robots.

Luzi told police: "I am the anti-Christ”, and said he had heard voices telling him to attack the priest, adding: "I have carried out my mission". In his pockets investigators found a rosary and a note reading "This is just the beginning: 666", the mystical number said to refer to Satan.

Neighbours said that Luzi was "a loner, a solitary introvert who sometimes quarrelled violently with his mother". Doctors said Father Canistri was in intensive care, while the pensioner who went to his aid at the church, Antonio Farrace, 78, a retired policeman, was also "in serious condition".

The Peruvian nanny, Rosemary Sotero Rivera, 37, was attacked by Luzi as he ran through a park after fleeing from the church. Witnesses said she threw herself on the three year old girl in her charge to protect her, and was stabbed in the shoulder. (What was the name of "Rosemary's baby" in this event? Very curious.)

The police found various references to the novel by Dan Brown in Luzi's apartment, including a print of the The Last Supper fresco by Leonardo Da Vinci.

One note read "I, the anti-Christ."

The theme of the anti-Christ and Leonardo's fresco figure prominently in the best-selling book and its film adaptation, both of which have been condemned by the Vatican.

The Da Vinci Code outraged the Vatican and some Catholics because of its storyline that Jesus married Mary Magdalene and had children, creating a royal blood line that Church officials kept secret for centuries.

(Thanks to Todd Campbell at Through The Looking Glass for the tip on this one.)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Canadian HS Held Hostage

On Tuesday, September 23, 2008, an expelled 16-year-old student entered a private Christian high school in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada, during chapel, and put a pellet gun to the pastor's head before the principal grabbed the gun. Police arrested the student, officials said.

Principal Mark Anderson said he kept talking with the youth, who was forcing the pastor to read a letter.

Anderson said he got close enough to see the weapon was not a firearm, then grappled with the teen and held him until police arrived and arrested him. Police said they recovered a pellet pistol.

"He just felt like we had to listen to his story, that people were working against him and that everything is a big conspiracy," Anderson told The Associated Press.

Anderson said he was expelled him because of incidents from last school year.

Alex McNair, a student at the Luther College high school, said the gunman forced the pastor to read a letter about his expulsion. He said the letter was about how the gunman had been bullied.

"He seemed completely unstable," McNair said in a message to the AP via the Internet social networking site Facebook.

According to student Tasha Niedzielski, “He had a gun in his hand and everyone started screaming,” said the story. “He basically told everyone to shut up and listen and he told Pastor (Larry) Fry to read.

“He read the speech and people exited carefully but then he’d point the gun at them and tell them to stop. He did it several times. They got all the Grade 9s out and then after probably half an hour or 45 minutes Mr. Anderson [school principal Mark Anderson] grabbed him and grabbed the gun and then a bunch of cops came in after him.”

Almost all the school's 450 staff and students were in the chapel for daily prayer when the suspect walked in and ignored a vice principal's request to stop, Anderson said.

Teachers were helping students to leave quietly as Anderson negotiated with the suspect to let students leave.
Police said there were no reports of any injuries to staff, students or the suspect.

The arrest came on the same day as a deadly school shooting in Finland. In that case, a masked gunman killed 11 people at a trade school and burned some of their bodies before shooting himself in the head.

Phantom Of The Opera Attack

An east London woman killed by a knifeman wearing a Phantom Of The Opera-style mask has been named by Scotland Yard. A spokesman said Sehrish Waqar Sheikh was aged 23 and from Dagenham.

A 29-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of murder. The suspect wore a Phantom of the Opera-style mask and wig when stabbing and killing his alleged ex-girlfriend whom he was stalking, then injured her best friend and turned his knife on himself in a gruesome attack in East London on Monday, September 22, 2008.

Waqar, of Pakistani origin, died at the scene in an office belonging to St George’s College in Plaistow. She was found partially clothed with stab wounds to the chest and neck, Scotland Yard said. She was a receptionist at the private college for international students.

Her friend, college manager Kiran Asghar, was also hurt but managed to escape and raise the alarm.

According to witnesses, Asghar ran out of the building screaming: “He’s killing her.”

Friends told how Waqar was preparing for a January wedding in Dubai.

Mohammed Noorani, landlord to Asghar and her husband Irfan Sheikh - who owns the small language and business school based in a first-floor office above shops - said: "She was engaged to a man in Dubai. She was very much looking forward to getting married."

When police and ambulance services arrived at the scene just after 6pm yesterday, the knifeman tried to kill himself.
A police source described the incident as a “frenzied attack”.

“First of all he launched himself at the dead girl’s best friend and stabbed her. Then he turned his attention to his ex-girlfriend, stabbed her and killed her.

“Police and the ambulance were called and arrived straight away. He panicked and tried to kill himself by stabbing himself in the neck.”

Malik Ijaz, 40, who runs a builders merchants underneath the college, said that the knifeman continued stabbing his ex-girlfriend even after she was unconscious.

“It was the worst thing I have ever seen in my life,” he said. “I saw something so brutal and something I can’t explain.

“One girl came down screaming that she had been stabbed. I went up there and saw a man in a mask stabbing a girl. I don’t know how many times he stabbed her, but she had already passed out and he was still stabbing her.”

The Metropolitan Police confirmed today that they had arrested a 29-year-old man. He remains under police guard in hospital, where he is believed to be in a stable condition.

"At this early stage no-one else is sought in connection with the incident," Scotland Yard said in a statement.

A murder inquiry has been launched, led by Detective Chief Inspector Bob Mahoney.

Mr Mahoney said: “A man wearing a mask and a wig has was seen prior to the incident. It was a black curly wig and a white mask in a Phantom of the Opera style.”

A worker in a nearby kebab shop said today that he knew the 23-year-old victim: “She would come in here every lunchtime. She was so bubbly, such a nice, pretty girl. She had been a receptionist at the college for about a year.”

(Thanks to Benjamin Singleton and Todd Campbell for bringing this event to my attention.)

(BTW, a language arts teacher is mentioned in my posting on the Olympic Peninsula rampage of Saturday, September 20, 2008. Also, I note the strange name game link that incident has to the Kip Kinkel school shooting, ten years ago, where Kinkel killed his Spanish teacher parents before going to school to murder two classmates.)

Eleven Dead In Finnish College Shooting

Tuesday's shootings in Kauhajoki, began just before 1100 local time (0800 GMT). At least eleven people have been killed and two others wounded in a shooting spree at a college in the small town in western Finland, some 330km (205 miles) north of the capital, Helsinki.

Police said the gunman, thought to be a student in his early 20s, then shot himself. His condition is unclear. (He died later.)

The gunmen apparently posted a YouTube video of himself on the internet last week firing a gun. As a result, police interviewed him on Monday but did not revoke his licence, the interior minister said.

Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen said this was a "tragic day" for Finland, said BBC News.

An estimated 200 students were thought to be in the college buildings at the time.

A BBC correspondent in Finland said a gunman dressed in black was seen at the school, apparently carrying an automatic weapon. A man with a ski mask was seen entering the building with a large bag, national broadcaster YLE reported. Shots were fired soon afterwards, and reports emerged that several people were seriously wounded.

School caretaker Jukka Forsberg told Finnish TV: "Within a short space of time I heard several dozen rounds of shots, in other words it was an automatic pistol. I saw some female students who were wailing and moaning and one managed to escape out of the back door."

Police ordered an evacuation and called for reinforcements as fires blazed in the building.

The gunman remained at large within the college grounds for some time.

Mr Vanhanen confirmed the gunman had shot himself but gave no details of his condition.

Media reports said the gunman was being treated for a bullet wound to the head at Tampere University Hospital.
Mr Vanhanen expressed condolences to the families of the victims and declared Wednesday a day of national mourning.
Interior Minister Anne Holmlund said police questioned the man about the YouTube video, which showed him shooting at a firing range.

"Police were aware of this and spoke to him on Monday, September 22," she said.

"However, the police officer on duty decided there was no need to terminate his gun licence."

The gunman was given a "temporary licence" for a .22-calibre firearm this year, Ms Holmlund said.

In November 2007, eight people died in another school attack in Finland.

In that incident, the gunman, Pekka-Eric Auvinen, posted a video on YouTube as a preview of his attack, pledging to "eliminate" those he saw as "unfit".

In the wake of that attack, Finland's government pledged to raise the minimum age for buying guns.

But the country has a long tradition of hunting and weapons-bearing, with about 1.6 million firearms in private hands.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Another Canadian Bus Stabbing

A young man was stabbed Sunday, September 21, 2008, aboard a Winnipeg-bound Greyhound bus travelling near the town of White River, about 300 kilometres north of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, according to reporter Marcus Grundt of Canadian Press.

Police are investigating a stabbing aboard the Greyhound bus eerily on its way Winnipeg, during an incident in which a young man was attacked by another passenger as the vehicle travelled through northern Ontario. It appears to mirror another recent Greyhound bus involving Winnipeg.

The man who was stabbed is believed to be in his 20s. He was taken to hospital Sunday afternoon with minor injuries, the Sault Star newspaper reported.

Police arrested a 28-year-old man near the town of White River, shortly after the bus driver let him get off at the side of the highway.

“I can confirm that an incident did occur aboard one of our buses,” said Greyhound spokesperson Abby Wambaugh, speaking from Dallas, Texas.

“The incident occurred 10 miles [16 kilometres] east of White River,” she said. “The bus originated in Toronto and was headed for its final destination of Winnipeg.”

Wambaugh said the company is “co-operating fully” with Ontario Provincial Police in the investigation.

Another bus was provided for the 13 remaining passengers to continue on their trip.

Update: Police in Ontario admitted they put a mentally troubled convict on a Winnipeg-bound Greyhound bus Sunday afternoon but don't know how he managed to sneak a knife on board which was later used to stab a sleeping passenger.

Monday's revelation has sparked multiple investigations and left critics howling in protest, saying the case further underscores how dangerous public bus transportation is in Canada.

"It's absolutely astounding," said Winnipeg defence lawyer Jay Prober, who recently filed a lawsuit against the RCMP and Greyhound following the July murder and beheading of Winnipeg resident Tim McLean on board a Greyhound near Portage la Prairie.

"This latest incident is just a vindication of the lawsuit, not that we needed it. What's it going to take for Greyhound to do something to protect their passengers? Are they waiting for someone else to get killed?"

David Wayne Roberts, 28, of Manitouwadge, Ontario, has been charged with aggravated assault and breach of probation. He will appear in a Sault Ste. Marie courtroom Tuesday morning. (As has been noted by various researchers, for some strange reason many violent criminals share the middle name "Wayne.")

The 20-year-old victim suffered non life-threatening injuries after passengers say he was stabbed in the chest while sitting on the bus around 4:15 p.m. (EDT) Sunday. He remains in hospital but is expected to be released later this week. His name and hometown haven't been released.

Winnipeg author Anita Daher (upcoming book in 2009, On the Trail of the Bushman, set in the Yukon) was on the bus and witnessed the attack. She told the Winnipeg Free Press on Sunday night the attack was unprovoked and happened shortly after police brought the man on board.

OPP and municipal police confirmed her story Monday, saying there was no apparent history between the victim and the accused and no motive has been established.

Police said Roberts boarded the bus in Wawa, Ontario, armed with a ticket that had been paid for with social-assistance funds supplied to him by the Wawa municipal police earlier in the day. The OPP confirmed they were asked to assist in getting Roberts on his way. Wawa Sgt. Larry Ross told CBC they first dealt with Roberts early Sunday morning when they charged him with causing a public disturbance. Roberts has a previous criminal history and is currently on probation for unspecified convictions. Ross said they briefly detained Roberts but released him later in the morning.

Roberts then returned to the police station a few hours later, seeking to be taken to hospital for what Ross called "psychological reasons." Roberts was examined by a doctor but then released after they found no reason to hold him under the Mental Health Act.

Police then stepped in to help get Roberts on his way back home, which they said is a common practice. Ross told CBC they searched him immediately after his arrest and before going to the hospital but not before he boarded the bus because there was no valid, lawful reason to do so.

Ross and other members of the Wawa detachment did not return several Free Press calls seeking comment Monday.

Manitoba RCMP Sgt. Line Karpish told the Free Press it's not unusual to assist transients and hitchhikers with transportation - especially when the weather turns colder in the fall and winter. She said the expenses are usually covered by the town or municipality but police may be asked to assist with arrangements.

"We wouldn't just leave someone out there in the middle of nowhere," said Karpish. She said a person who is clearly intoxicated would be detained until they sobered up, while a person exhibiting obvious signs of mental illness would be examined.

"A mentally deranged person would not just be turned loose on a bus," she said.

The RCMP occasionally transport criminals on commercial flights but never use buses or trains, said Karpish.

"Obviously public safety is first and foremost. We have a two-to-one ratio of officers (to prisoner) and they are always handcuffed and shackled. We have to notify the airlines and ultimately it's the pilot that has the last say as to whether we board or not," said Karpish.

"We do it very discreetly, usually first in, last out. And all prisoners would be searched multiple times," she said.

The incident comes less than two months after a Greyhound passenger beheaded Tim McLean, a 22-year-old man from Winnipeg, sparking questions about security on buses.

Vince Weiguang Li, 40, is charged with second-degree murder and is undergoing a psychiatric evaluation to see whether he is fit to stand trial. He’s scheduled to appear in court October 6, 2008.

(Thanks to K. McGillis and S. Lewis for media input.)

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Olympic Shootings Have Links To School Gun Incident

A school gun incident two years ago appears to have been a prelude to the Olympic Peninsula shooting that left three dead over the weekend.

The shooting also comes not long after a 28-year-old Washington man was charged with killing six people and injuring four in a shooting rampage that started about 70 miles north of Seattle. According to court documents, Isaac Zamora told police that God had instructed him to "kill evil."

A U.S. Forest Service officer was fatally shot on Saturday, September 20, 2008, while making a traffic stop of a man who investigators suspect had also killed the owner of the pickup truck he was driving when captured, the Washington State Patrol said. The suspect died later in a shootout with sheriff's deputies. But in 2006, his estranged wife warned officials of his violent nature, but had to resign from her teaching job when she decided to protect herself.

The FBI was investigating the shooting of Officer Kristine Fairbanks, 51, a canine officer with 15 years in the forest service, state Trooper Krista D. Hedstrom told The Associated Press early Sunday.

Shawn M. Roe, 36, the suspected shooter, had three handguns and fired at least one shot at the deputies who confronted him at a convenience store, Hedstrom said.

Roe was a convicted felon with "an active criminal history" and was supposed to be under state Corrections Department supervision, she added. He apparently was not being sought on any warrant, she said. He was wanted on an arrest warrant from Mason County.

The third shooting victim was described only as a man in his 60s.

"We're just hoping that nobody else shows up" dead or injured, Hedstrom said.

The shootings occurred on the northern Olympic Peninsula about 50 miles west of Seattle.

Fairbanks called the state patrol at 2:22 p.m. and said she had stopped Roe in an old Dodge van without license plates near the Dungeness Forks campground in Olympic National Park, noted reporter Tim Klass.

When a dispatcher tried to contact Fairbanks with information on Roe, there was no response and troopers and a sheriff's deputy were dispatched. The deputy arrived first, at 3:10 p.m., and found Fairbanks dead. Her police dog was unharmed in her vehicle.

Authorities found the van about 6:30 p.m., abandoned not far away in a densely wooded area. Posters and flyers warning people to be on the lookout for Roe were distributed in the area.

A security guard at a convenience store near the Seven Cedars Casino on U.S. Highway 101 alerted sheriff's deputies at about 9:30 p.m. that a man matching Roe's description was in the store, Hedstrom said.

Two deputies arrived and told him to put up his hands as he came out of the store, but he drew a handgun and fired at least once before both deputies opened fire, Hedstrom said. Neither deputy was hit. Roe died at the scene.

Roe was found to be carrying two modern handguns and an older six-shooter, she said.

Investigators checked the registration of a white pickup he was seen driving when he arrived at the store, went to the house of the registered owner, and found the body of a man who had been shot, Hedstrom said.

Shawn Roe had been, indirectly, in the news before.

According to the October 24, 2006, issue of the Mason County Daily News, a North Thurston School District teacher from Shelton, Washinton, was accused of bringing a gun onto school grounds and had to resign. The North Thurston School Board accepted the resignation of Mary Catherine Roe, a language arts teacher at Nisqually Middle School.

The Thurston County Sheriff's Office said Roe brought the handgun inside the school building in early September 2006. Roe told deputies she had the gun because she was afraid of her estranged husband, Shawn Roe. At the time, Mary Roe was being investigated for unlawfully carrying a firearm on school grounds, which is a gross misdemeanor. Under state law, guns can be brought to schools "only in certain instances."

North Thurston High School, located in the North Thurston Public Schools District in Olympia, Washington, is a comprehensive high school which first opened in 1955. North Thurston serves a portion of Lacey in Mason County, and part of northeast Thurston County, Washington State.

North Thurston High School is not to be confused with the Thurston High School shooting of Springfield, Oregon. On May 20, 1998, student Kipland "Kip" Kinkel killed his parents, William and Faith, both Spanish teachers at local high schools. On May 21, 1998, he arrived at class at Thurston and murdered two classmates, Ben Walker and Mikael Nickolauson, and injured 25. Kinkel was subdued by fellow students, at least one of whom had himself been shot.

Kinkel had brought three weapons to the high school, a .22 caliber rifle, a .22 caliber handgun, and a 9mm Glock semi-automatic pistol. His case was a precusor to the Columbine High School massacre of April 20, 1999.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

666 Stabbing Spree

The "when" seems less important than the graphic details to the media, but here are the latest mass stabbings and beheadings, this time, from Eurasia, 155 miles (250 kilometers) northeast of Moscow, Russia.

An alleged gang of Satanists, accused of stabbing four teenagers 666 times and eating their body parts, were carrying out an initiation ritual during one of the murders, according to Russian police.

Police said that during the murders of the two teenage girls, the Satanists carried out a ritualistic initiation ceremony for a new recruit to their cult.

As part of the initiation, the blood of the dead girls was poured over the near-naked body of 18-year-old Ksenia Kuznetsova, while they prayed to the Devil.

They carried out the murders and induction at the same time, the UK's Sun quoted a source, as saying.

The victims, aged between 15 and 16 described by police as "Goths" were stabbed 666 times before being roasted on a bonfire and eaten. They had apparently been singled out by the Satanists because they were fans of "Goth" music and fashion. One of the girls was said to have had a document titled "101 rules of Satanism" among her belongings. Kuznetsova was the ninth member to join the group all of whom had the nicknames Dead, Corpse, Hitler, Fang, The Count, Doctor, Dark and Goth. Kuznetsova — known as Kara, meaning punishment — and three of the youths have been quizzed by cops over the killing spree.

(Of course, critical thinking would call for us to ask, how can the authorities prove that someone was stabbed 666 times if their body parts have been eaten? Why should the word of the murderers be taken as fact versus attention-seeking sensationalized testimony?)

Two more victims, a boy and a girl, were killed and dismembered the next day by the gang in a rural area of Russia. The four teenagers slain in Russia were Varya Kurmina, Olga Pukhova, Andrei Sorokin and Anya Gorokhova. The remains of a 16-year-old boy and three girls aged 16 and 17 were discovered in a pit near the home of the alleged ringleader Nikolai Ogolobyak in the Yaroslavl region. The remains of a rat tied to an upturned cross marked the spot where they had been executed.

(It should be pointed out that in Yaroslavl, one of the most prominent churches in the important Russian mafia Perekop section of town is the Church of Saint John the Baptist, celebrating the beheaded saint. Yaroslavl is located at the confluence of the Volga and the Kotorosl Rivers. It was preceded here by the Viking site Timerevo from the 8th or 9th centuries.)

Russia has a history of gruesome killings. The so-called "chessboard killer" Alexander Pichushkin was convicted of 48 murders and three attempted murders last October after he told a court that he had wanted to kill enough people to fill all 64 squares on a chessboard.

He claimed to have murdered 63 people in a bid to overtake the country's worst serial killer, the notorious "Rostov ripper" Andrei Chikatilo, who was executed by firing squad in 1994 for the deaths of 52 women and children.

(Of course, my question is "when" did this occur? Why no specific date in conjunction with the high-level of graphic details?)

Sources: Sun, Times, ANI, & Todd Campbell's Through The Looking Glass.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Weekend Asian Stabbing Sprees Leave 3 Dead

Two so-called "stabbing rampages" have taken place in Asia over the weekend, one in Japan and the second in China, both related to Autumn Festivals.

On Saturday, September 13, 2008, one person was killed and six others injured when a man went on a stabbing rampage in central Japan -- the latest in a series of such sprees in the country in the last few months.

The attacks occurred during a festival (attended by people having late-night celebrations to welcome the onset of fall). At a shrine in Ishikawa Prefecture, a man was seen indiscriminately slashing people with a sickle, the Kyodo news agency reported.

Police arrested a 42-year-old vendor, Toshiaki Arai, and charged him with killing a 30-year-old man and wounding six others, Kyodo said. He was arrested at Kuwashima Jinja, a shrine in Hakusan in Ishikawa state.

The Associated Press reported that Arai told police he was angry that customers had made fun of him.

Police say Yohei Okada died from severe blood loss shortly after the stabbing. Among the six other men injured, two remain hospitalized Sunday afternoon, AP said.

In June, a man ran over a group of people with his truck and then stabbed 18, killing at least 7, in a video game district of downtown Tokyo. Twelve others were wounded, police said.

The following month, a woman stabbed seven men at a train station outside Tokyo after trying to slit her wrist in an attempt to kill herself.

As often happens in such situations when an international story on such a rampage occurs, after the Japanese public stabbing, a private domestic outburst, a copycat takes place.

A man in southern China’s Guangdong Province killed himself after stabbing his mother-in-law to death and seriously injuring his wife who had refused to go back home with him. A taxi driver was also injured in the stabbing spree in Gaozhou City in Guangdong at midday on Sunday, September 14, 2008, the local Guangzhou Daily reported today.

The wife, surnamed Cheng, is in a critical condition in hospital though the taxi driver is recovering.

The man, whose name was not revealed, had taken a taxi to his mother-in-law’s home and demanded that his wife, Cheng, return home with him for the Mid-Autumn festival. Cheng had been staying at her mother’s house after an earlier fight with her husband.

The angry man told his wife he would stab her if she refused but this threat angered the mother-in-law so much that she said if he dared to he should kill her first, a neighbor reported.

Enraged the man then attacked the mother-in-law and then his wife. His ill father-in-law could only watch the brutal assaults. The man fled to a nearby mountain after attacking the taxi driver. Police rushed to the mountain but found the man dead there.

Neighbors said the man had never got on with his in-laws and that he and his wife were constantly fighting.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

SA School's Beheading Bloodbath: Clown Masks, Slipknot & Joker

A technical high school rampage, the voice of the Joker, near beheadings, curved-bladed samurai swords, macabre clown masks, and Slipknot lead singer's Heath Ledger tattoo all merely seem to be incredibly coincidental cultural icons crashing together in one incident. Happenstance? Or enemy action?

On Monday, September 1, 2008, in Johannesburg, Morné Harmse, an 18-year-old matric pupil (one who is in the final year of high school in South Africa) allegedly killed a fellow student with a sword. Harmse apparently had envisioned a widespread bloodbath in his school.

The teenage attacker staged his deadly assault just before school assembly on Monday morning. He had left home dressed in his school uniform, including a red matric jersey and carrying four masks and three Samurai swords.

The teenager's masks were fashioned after those worn by members of the band Slipknot. One looked like a clown mask, one like a gas mask, one was red with black dreadlocks, and another was black.

He covered his face and neck in black paint and tried to convince his close friends to join him.

He carried out his attack before school started, slashing Pretorius across the neck.

"It looked like he beheaded him. I just ran when I saw him fall," said Pretorius's friend JC Welman.

One of Harmse's friends, Shaun Collins, 17, a grade-12 pupil at Nic Diederichs Technical High School in Krugersdorp, spoke with the media on Tuesday about how the schoolboy had told him and other friends what he planned to do.

"He wanted to wait until the children assembled in the hall and then kill them. He used the word 'massacre'; I understood he meant a bloodbath."

Minutes before the assembly began, Harmse put on a mask, pulled out a samurai sword and slashed open 16-year-old Jacques Pretorius's carotid artery. Some there reported that the victim was nearly beheaded by the act.

Harmse then walked around the school and apparently injured three other people - two workers Sam Namamela, 43, Joseph Kodisang, 26, and a grade-11 pupil Stephan Bouwer, 18. All were injured in the head.

Shaun told on Tuesday evening how he and his group of friends had seen the teenager "losing it". Shortly after Shaun arrived at school at about 07:10 am, three of his friends came to him and said Harmse's "head isn't right".

When Shaun and the others got to Harmse, he was already wearing his mask - similar to the one worn by Corey Taylor, the lead singer of the heavy metal band Slipknot.

Harmse was rearranging three swords, including a smallish Katana and a Sekizo Ninja sword, in his belt, and putting on gloves. He had apparently made the mask about three weeks before the attack.

"At first we thought he was joking but then we saw a bomb in his right hand," said schoolmate Shaun Collins.

It is believed he had been making bombs since last year.

"We kept our distance the whole time because we were really scared of him. I told him to put down the bomb but he refused. I took the bomb from his hand and threw it away. It didn't do anything. The whole time he was speaking with a weird voice, almost like the Joker's voice in Batman," Collins mentioned.

(Slipknot's Taylor has his own name tattooed in Russian on the right side of his body as well as a tattoo of Michael Jackson, Johnny Depp and Heath Ledger.)

"He also kept saying things like, 'Today I'm going to do it. Today is the massacre.'" Shaun said the boy then insisted that Max Brechlin, 18, also put on a mask.

The next moment he turned to Shaun and said, "Do you want to see something cool?"

He then pulled out his sword and Jacques - who happened to be walking past with a group of pupils - was hacked to death. "That sword was as blunt as a butter knife. I couldn't believe the force with which he struck. It was a very deep wound," Shaun said.

The pupils of his eyes apparently looked "smaller than usual". Shaun said he had noticed earlier that the pupil had two other masks in his school bag: a gas mask and a clown mask, similar to those worn by other members of Slipknot. Shaun and his friends also made similar masks and wore them at school on two occasions.

"I was very interested in Slipknot. The drummer is amazing; I would like to be able to play like him one day. But after I saw my friend? It's as if the music had changed him. I think about it very differently now," Shaun said.

The suspect will appear in Krugersdorp Magistrate's Court on Wednesday on a charge of murder and three charges of attempted murder. He will appear on charges of conspiracy to murder and possession of a dangerous weapon.

The lead singer of US metal band Slipknot thinks the Krugersdorp schoolboy who allegedly killed a fellow pupil and injured three others is ‘‘f****d up’’.

Yesterday, Corey Taylor finally broke the band’s silence on Monday’s schoolground slaying by speaking exclusively to the US music magazine Blender.
Earlier this week, the band’s label company, Roadrunner Records, refused to comment, but admitted they were aware of the incident.

MornĂ© Harmse, 18, appeared in the Krugersdorp Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday in connection with charges of murder and attempted murder following the samurai sword attack.

Harmse apparently had an obsession with the Grammy award-winning band, who are perhaps best known for the macabre masks they wear during shows.

The 18-year-old wore a similar mask when he allegedly attacked his fellow students, and had three more masks in a bag, together with three samurai swords.

In the magazine interview posted online, Taylor said Slipknot could not be blamed for people who are “f****d up and lost”.

He said he was ‘‘obviously’’ disturbed by the incident, but added the band could not take responsibility for what happened.

He was quoted as saying: “As far as my responsibility for that goes, it stops there, because I know our message is positive.”

He said that when the band was linked to violence in the past, such as the murder of a young man in California in 2003, he used to “sweat it really hard”.

‘‘But the thing I have to realise is the fact that I’m not encouraging anybody to kill anybody .”

South African radio presenter Barney Simon also said he did not believe the band could be blamed. "A disturbed youngster went on a violent rampage not because of Slipknot’s music, but because of other demons inside him," he told The Times in South Africa.