Wednesday, 24 September 2008

What's the problem?

In Finland another young man has gone on the rampage with a gun, killing nine people. He had previously posted video of himself firing a gun on YouTube, been questioned by the police and let go. Is the internet at fault, police incompetence or Finland's toleration of widespread gun ownership?

The Times reports that Finland is going to review its gun laws following the incident
There are 1.6 million registered arms in Finland, a country of about 5 million people. The gun ownership rates are among the highest in the world, but crime rates in general are low.
In an earlier story describing the killer's YouTube posts, the Times reported:

The images show a young man, dressed in black, firing his automatic pistol and delivering the chilling warning: “You will die next.”

The video posted on YouTube alerted police, who detained the student chef on Monday. But he walked free only to carry out his threat.


Anne Holmlund, the Finnish Interior Minister, told reporters that police had questioned the man after being tipped off by the public about his YouTube videos in which he was seen firing a Walther P22 handgun but had no legal reason to detain him and decided not to withdraw his gun permit.
You have to wonder about a situation where this can happen. But what about YouTube? Last week it banned the posting on UK sites of footage showing weapons being used to intimidate people. Does allowing violent people to promote themselves encourage them and others?

In the Guardian, Marcel Berlins takes up the concerns of the internet's inventor Tim Berners-Lee that it may for example allow dangerous cults to spread. Berlins asks whether the net's tendency to encourage lies and deceit itself may mean that it ends up doing more harm than good.

No comments: