“Yet despite the common features with other massacres, the shoot-up in Tuusula was a very Finnish affair.

Finland is a land of wide open spaces, between 16-17 people per square kilometre. Lakes often separate neighbouring farmsteads. At this time of year it is sunk in almost permanent half-light and Finnish families count the days to their winter holidays when they can flee to the bright sunlight of south-east Asian resorts.

Clinical depression is high, the suicide rate too. But above all the Nordic winter isolates the young in the small towns: they arrive at school in the dark and leave it in the dark, travelling long distances to their homes. Friendship in the traditional sense is often a summer luxury.”

From “Similarities to Other Massacres, but This was a Very Finnish Affair,” by Roger Boyes, in Times Online, November 8, 2007.