The attack, which took place Thursday morning, was as gruesome as it was inexplicable. An armed man wearing a mask and dressed entirely in black walked into a school building and inflicted mayhem. By the time the smoke had cleared, one teacher lay dead, as did the attacker, who was felled by two police bullets, and two students were being treated for their injuries at a local hospital.
So why isn’t this story being widely circulated? Two reasons: First, it took place in a suburb of Gothenburg, Sweden. Second, the masked man was armed not with a gun but with “several knife-like objects,” among them a long sword.
According to The Local, an English-language Swedish news site, the incident occurred in the town of Trollhättan. The suspect, whose name has not been released, is described only as a 21-year-old.
Police said they were alerted to the violence at the school at around 10.10am and arrived within five minutes of being called.
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They explained that there had been a threat against another school in the area (Stavreskolan) on Wednesday but said that nothing had come of this.
Some of the schoolchildren, the article notes, initially thought it was a prank:
“When we first saw him, we thought it was a joke. He was wearing a mask and black clothes and [carrying] a long sword. Some students warned to take their picture with him and feel the sword,” one unidentified pupil told TT.
But soon, word of the intruder’s murderous intent spread. One student tells of the horrific ordeal he endured:
I was in a classroom with my class when one of my classmates’ sisters called her to warn her that there was a murderer at the school. So we locked the door to the classroom, but our teacher was still outside in the corridor.
We wanted to warn him, so a few of us went outside and then I saw the murderer, he was wearing a mask and had a sword. Our teacher got stabbed.
The murderer started chasing me, I ran into another classroom. If I had not run, I would have been murdered. I’m feeling really scared. Everyone’s scared here.
So what, if anything, can be deduced from this story? For one thing, the argument advanced by Barack Obama after the Roseburg shooting — that (and I quote) “mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries” — is pure fiction. The U.S. does not have a monopoly on crazy people who take out their frustrations in a destructive manner.
Second, the notion that restrictive gun legislation is the key to shutting out adversity is naïve. Where there is a will to carry out acts of malice, there will always (regrettably) be a way.
*UPDATE* Since this story was first reported, a second victim, an 11-year-old, is said to have died of his wounds. It has also been reported that the killer was wearing a Darth Vader mask and agreed to pose for a picture with two students after he had slashed his initial victim. A photograph in which the students’ faces have been obscured appears below:
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