STURMGEIST Mainman Comments On Finnish High School Massacre

STURMGEIST mainman Cornelius von Jackhelln (also of SOLEFALD) has released the following statement (via Season of Mist, STURMGEIST's record company):

"Today [Wednesday, November 7] an 18-year old man shot seven people in a high school massacre in Tuusula, Finland. The killer referred to himself as 'Sturmgeist89' on YouTube. 'Sturmgeist' is not only the name of my band, but also of a character in the video game 'Medal of Honor'. As of yet, it is not established wherefrom the murderer took the name. Understandably, journalists keep calling me, eager to prove a link between my band and the massacre. However, as an artist, I can neither control the actions of my fans nor be held responsible for them.

"It is my firm conviction that if somebody wishes to go down as the cause of a massacre like that in Tuusula, explanations beyond music must be sought. In an interview with the Oslo-based newspaper Dagbladet today I argue that although extreme metal as a genre deals with topics such as isolation, misanthropy and despair, blaming the musicians is both wrong and unfair. It is people that kill people. Not music.

"Extreme metal has a potential both for social comment and personal katharsis, given its dealing with problems ordinarily shunned by mainstream society: suicide, madness, pollution, violence, warfare and drug abuse all occur regularly in extreme metal lyrics, mostly subject to critical scrutiny.

"I do recall how lonely and isolated I felt as a teenager, how strong an impact music had on my life. Extreme metal helped me channel my aggression in a constructive way; where SLAYER's album 'Seasons in the Abyss' described the psychology of a mass murderer, CANNIBAL CORPSE's 'The Bleeding' gave graphic accounts of extreme violence. Even though I adored both albums, I did not go out and kill people.

"Knowing the boundary between fiction and reality was always a prerequisite for dealing with dark matters in music, literature, film and video games. It seems obvious that the Tuusula murderer was ignorant about this boundary.

"The lyrics of STURMGEIST do contain topics both sinister and martial. Topics such as WWI & WWII ('Triumph', 'Enigma'), the war in Iraq ('Shock & Awe', 'Iron Hammer'), Viking battle ('Army of Odin'), a victim exerting revenge on his tormentor ('Ruger'). I readily admit it. Saying anything else would not only be a blatant lie; worse, it would be betraying the music I love and believe in.

"I am most shocked by the tragic event in Finland, and mourn the victims of the crime. I believe that the victims could have been alive today, if youngsters on the edge were given more attention by the proper instances. I extend my compassion and my condolences to the families of the deceased."

According to CNN.com, police identified the gunman as 18-year-old Pekka-Eric Auvinen, a senior at the Jokela High School in Tuusula, Finland, about 30 miles north of Helsinki, according to a reporter at Finnish station MTV.

Auvinen died at a Helsinki hospital late Wednesday night of apparent self-inflicted wounds.

Auvinen apparently left hints about his plans and clues about his motive in a series of videos posted on YouTube, the online video-sharing site. YouTube took down the site within hours of the shooting.

Just hours before the shooting, a video titled "Jokela High School Massacre --11/7/2007" was posted on the YouTube site of a person with the user name Sturmgeist 89 who identified himself as Pekka-Eric Auvinen, an 18-year-old Finnish male. He said he chose the name "Sturmgeist" because it means "storm spirit" in German.

In rambling text posted on the site two weeks before the shooting, Auvinen said that he is "a cynical existentialist, anti-human humanist, anti-social social-Darwinist, realistic idealist and god-like atheist."

"I am prepared to fight and die for my cause," he wrote. "I, as a natural selector, will eliminate all who I see unfit, disgraces of human race and failures of natural selection."

The Jokela High School clip was one of about 80 videos posted on the site. The video showed a picture of the school which then disintegrated to reveal an image of a man resembling Auvinen against a red background, pointing a gun at the screen.

The clip is accompanied by the track "Stray Bullet" by rock band KMFDM, whose lyrics were also quoted by Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, the students behind the Columbine High School massacre of 1999 in the United States.

Another clip showed a montage of still pictures of the same young man, apparently Auvinen, holding a gun and wearing a black T-shirt with the words: "HUMANITY IS OVERRATED."

Another short video clip, called "Just Testing My Gun," showed the same young man loading and cocking a handgun, then firing it at an apple in a wooded area. The camera then showed a close-up of the destroyed fruit, and then a full-screen shot of him again. He waved at the camera and walked out of view. [View said clip below.]

The YouTube site indicated that the youth appeared to be fascinated with killing. It included video footage of the Columbine school shootings and the 1993 Waco siege in the United States, the 1995 sarin gas attack in Tokyo, and bombs falling on Baghdad during the 2003 invasion.

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