A masked man storms into a school in Trollhättan, western Sweden
, and attacks several people in class with a sword. A teacher is killed, and a number of the pupils are seriously injured. The attacker was shot in his chest by police soon after the intrusion, and at this point in time it seems that both he, a second teacher and a boy aged 11 have been taken to hospital in very serious condition.
This is shocking stuff, but it was a menace waiting to happen. There have never been any fully-fledged school shootings or school massacres in Sweden, not with fatalities or hostages; this sadly looks like the first of its kind and it's been feeling increasingly likely to happen over the last couple of years. And just like in Oregon a few weeks back, it happened in a part of the country where you really wouldn't have expected it, not in a big city but in a fairly rural region with few acts of violence.Update
: the attacker (who is said to have been caucasian, and dressed up as a Jedi) and the boy have both died at the hospital.
The same day, almost at the same time, a few cabinet ministers in Stockholm hold the latest in a series of press briefings and all but admit that the government is losing control over the response of this country to the migrants and refugees crisis. Projected costs for handling immigration, asylum seekers and refugees (and assisting their needs once they've been admitted) are rocketing. people are pouring in to the tune of 2,000 or more a day - in a country of barely ten million people - many of them without any passports or real identity documents, and no one has any serious plan for how to house these people or begin to find jobs for them in a country that's...very different from the places they came from. Both jobs and affordable housing are in short supply around here - earlier this month it was announced that military-style tent camps would be used "as a last resort" - in the current situation, that's going to mean serious, widespread use of tent camps all over the country for several months, with people who have no experience at all of a Nordic winter. This is ridiculous
and irresponsible. Discussions with the opposition parties about how to handle immigration policies and what to do about it are trailing and don't seem to be getting anywhere. At the press briefing those ministers said they would take up loans abroad equal to several billion dollars to finance a more or less open-ended commitment to "do what it takes" while most of the rest of Europe are much more cautious or frankly, sitting on their hands. In the end they'll have to raise some taxes too, and that won't be the end of it.
I am very divided about this. As noble as their objectives are (I completely support aiding refugees and people fleeing war or famine) , it's irresponsible to just take this big a piece of the cake without making sure that one has the money and the means to do it. Nobody's going to be fooled by promises that "we can borrow the money" - sure, for some time, but before long it's going to hurt both the economy of the country and some basic services of government - defence, education, old age pensions, health care. Plus the risk of heavy violence, in more ways than one likes to think of...