Joensuu, Tuusula massacre

Joensuu, Tuusula massacre
Originally uploaded by FransBadger

I am today and tomorrow visiting Joensuu university on the Chancing Views in Technology seminar; pictured is the early morning in Joensuu market square. – Yesterday the news of Tuusula school shootings caught me in the airport. The entire day was spent in deepening feelings of sadness and shock. Today there are already news being published how the Internet is responsible for the massacre, or the shooter games (the school shooter was a fan of shooter games as well as real guns, and übermench style of extreme philosophies). I cannot but just repeat what I have said many times: please care of people in the real life, and they are also better capable of making positive use of the virtual worlds. If the society and people near to a mentally sick person abandon him, there is not much a virtual reality can do to him.

Author: frans

Professor of Information Studies and Interactive Media, esp. Digital Culture and Game Studies in the University of Tampere, Finland.

4 thoughts on “Joensuu, Tuusula massacre”

  1. My phone has been ringing today, and all breaks from the Changing Views seminar have been spent discussing with colleagues, representatives of media and the Finnish Parliament on what to think about games’ role in the Tuusula events. Mostly I have been trying to convey the message that something like this was likely to happen, considering how troubled socially and psychologically the Finnish youth and children are according to most statistics, and how much sense of power and significance is associated with media visibility in current Western societies. Rather than just being suicidal, there are now also cultural models available of turning self-destructive depression, fear and hatred back on society, and making a media spectacle out of one’s death by staging a shooting rampage. Games are actually in a sort of a side role here, they just happen to be a key social and cultural environment where important parts of young people’s empowerment are being acted out today, and also an area of their life which the “adult society” is unwilling to take seriously or even enter. Considering the neglect, or this apparent “digital games divide”, I would call for a national games strategy or some similar serious governmental action to be taken right now, in addition to every possible form of grassroots social, games and media education activism. If parents spend all their time working to death in uncertain, project based jobs, and the young are left alone to express their feeling of alienation in Internet and games worlds, then I think it is high time to find ways in how we can make everyone to talk to each other more, and maybe even to play together more. Play is interaction, free and voluntary togetherness, and that is exactly what our fragmenting families and communities need. But I would not be surprised to see rather calls for more surveillance, control and restrictions set around young people’s access to Internet and games. It is so much easier to attack the symptom rather than to look for the underlying origins of our growing social malaise or to start searching for long term cures for that. Thus, when children are dying because of their lack of fundamental security and trust in people and society around them, the most likely response such a society is going to offer them, is to provide them with even less trust, and with even more alienating surveillance measures. And that is a thought which just makes me so angry. Angry and sad.

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