The tragic school attack in Sweden fits an American pattern

Writing in the Guardian, and trying to make sense of yesterday’s events in Sweden, Andrew brown suggests the murderer seems to have been more of a loner rather than ideologically driven.

…It’s a story I find particularly horrible since I know the country there well. My son was born in that hospital. In those days such a crime would have been unimaginable. What has gone wrong?

The most obvious answer is “immigrants” but I believe that this is insufficient. The Swedish media are extremely careful about reporting racial details but it’s already clear that the murderer was white and probable that his victims were not. Trollhättan has a large immigrant population. The girl who took the photograph has five siblings, which suggests that her parents may not be native Swedes. The school itself is in a deprived part of town. Certainly, tensions are running very high in Sweden at the moment about multiculturalism, and the nationalist Sweden Democrat party is hovering around 20% in the polls.

Yet the murderer seems not to have been ideologically crazy in the sense that Anders Breivik was. He is reported to have had extreme rightwing views, but also to fit a much more American pattern of the quiet loner who needs to be famous: the mask he wore was out of Star Wars, and his weapon was a sword, as if he were a Jedi.

The culture of rural Sweden is fixated on an imagined America of the 60s: American cars and American music are everywhere. When all is known, I think this school attack will be more American than fascist, and no less tragic for that…

More at: The tragic school attack in Sweden fits an American pattern


Thankfully these incidents are extremely rare, but they do happen, whatever the warped reasoning behind them. In America they are carried out with guns, and in Europe with blades. 

So are we reaching a stage when we need to think seriously about having metal detectors on all school entrances, or would that be a disproportionate reaction?

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  1. peterabarnard

    SchoolsImprove How we create these loners is a product of the school system in part especially in USA. Easily designed out of course…

  2. spawneedave

    I think we need to put a little context into this. There has only been one other similar incident in Sweden in the last 20 years. Sadly this sort of attack happens all too frequently in the USA but usually involves guns, which can do much greater damage. I don’t think it is useful to compare Sweden with the USA in this regard

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