Satire: Death metal band takes responsibility for shooting

By Poppius McGee, Red Pulse Contributor

A young man named Matti Juhani Saari shot and killed ten of his classmates Tuesday at a vocational school in Kauhajoki, a small town in western Finland. Public outrage and disbelief were immediate nationwide, but a more sober and troubling question lurked beneath the surface: what could have driven an otherwise well-adjusted young adult to turn a weapon on his classmates?

This same question is, of course, familiar to Americans who remember the Columbine aftermath: a frantic search for something that might have provoked the two teens to their murderous spree. Blame was cast variously on gun culture, violent video games, movies, television and poor parenting. There was no clear consensus then, and it is unlikely that a consensus will be reached now. But that might not be necessary, as a group has already stepped forward and claimed responsibility.

Stabulate, a Norwegian death-metal band, sent a homemade video manifesto to Scandinavian news organizations Wednesday, detailing their involvement in and responsibility for the massacre.

“We wrote violent lyrics about killing scores of people in brutal ways. We made this happen,” said lead singer Hendrik Vakkonen, in his living room where the video was filmed.

In other parts of the video, he acknowledges that “My line of work, playing music, is 100 percent about slipping the worst ideas possible into people’s heads and turning them aggressive so that they act on “em.”

In other parts of the hour-long video, various members of the band take time to detail exactly how they hide malicious and violent sentiments in otherwise innocuous music. The guitarist, Lars Blomberg, explains which chords produce which kinds of behavior, and the drummer explains how his rhythms prepare people to “have the right muscle memory for shooting people in the head with pistols at point-blank range.”

The video was reminiscent of those produced by the Islamic Jihad and Al-Qaeda to take responsibility for terrorist acts, and was played on Finnish television shortly after it was discovered. As a result, Stabulate was placed under arrest by Norwegian police. Members of the band are being considered as accessories to the murders committed by Juhani Saari.

Although what caused the shooting might be obvious for some (Saari was a fan of Stabulate, and several records of theirs were found in the car he took to his school), there are a few who remain unconvinced that the music is the only or even one of the causes of this horrible event. “It’s totally absurd,” said Aaro Ohquist, communication professor for the University of Helsinki. “The idea that music has some sort of mind-altering effect that persists in this manner is totally unscientific. These musicians overestimate their own power over their fans. The young man probably lacked intimacy with other people, felt alone and worthless. Music was, if anything, a means of escape.”

Ohquist’s point of view is not common in Finnish society at large, however. President Tarja Halonen condemned the band and music of its type for “poisoning the minds of our youth” at a press conference Wednesday. Finnish talk radio and media has been swamped with calls for justice and new, stricter rules governing the kinds of art that can be distributed.

Those in Kauhajoki are adamant that the new restrictions take effect. A candidate in the upcoming mayoral election has said, “The people that listen to this kind of music, have these kinds of thoughts … should not be allowed to participate in civil society and place those around them in danger. Either we get rid of the music or we face facts8212;we’re going to have to isolate these people from good folk like ourselves.”

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Editor’s Note8212;This column is intended to be satirical and should in no way be taken seriously.