The United States has seen its share of senseless violence this in places meant for education and even houses of worship. Unfortunately, we are not alone in the Western Hemisphere. A tragic incident has swept Sweden with grief.
A 21 year old man came onto the grounds of a Swedish school in Trollhatan. He was carrying a sword, dressed in all black, and wearing a black mask. He did not speak. According to one witness, he was playing morose music. Students thought that it must be some kind of prank, meant for Halloween. In fact, the attacker posed with two students for a picture, whose wordlessness they assumed was part of the act. The attack began when he stabbed the teacher who asked him to leave after seeing the students with him.
He roamed the halls knocking on doors and slashing at whomever answered. A teacher was left dead and three others were seriously injured. One student died of his wounds.
When police arrived they gunned down the assailant. He died later at the hospital.
The area has a large immigrant population and in a statement officials released that evidence found at the man’s home and on his social media profiles showed the attack could have been based on that fact. Authorities are reluctant to suggest that it was a hate crime, but there is a lot of information leaning that direction. Thord Haraldsson, a police investigator, told reporters that racist intentions were “part of the picture”. All investigative parties are choosing to release as little detail as possible, including the attacker’s identity.
Concerns about the public’s access to the school through a cafe in its lobby were raised as recently as that morning.
Sweden has strict gun laws, but those did not protect them from this young man’s determination to do harm.
The country may be small, only 10 million people, but it has very few instances of violence each year. In 2013 there were just 87 homicides reported in the entire country.
Prime Minister, Stefan Lofven, said about the sad occurrence, “This is a black day for Sweden,”
We couldn’t agree more.