Invoices for nutty behaviour

It's warm in Finland. It's holiday season. People like to swim. Vartti.fi reports that when people jump to water from places like the Lapinlahti bridge to cool themselves, and to fool around, someone calls 112, and the emergency services typically deploy the full set: a rescue unit, a heavy pioneer unit with diving gear, an ordinary ambulance, a doctor ambulance, a skylift, plus possibly boat units and a helicopter. In addition, a police patrol car arrives. As this procedure costs a whole lot of money, the emergency service chief Markku Rissanen plans to send invoices to the swimmers. The sums would be tens of thousands of euros per instance.

Fine, but… on what grounds? Jumping to the sea is not forbidden. Even suicides are no longer criminal in Finland. People who go to swim from such places are engaged in an activity which may be dangerous - and bystanders are entirely justified in reporting it to 112 - but what is the legal basis for making a bridge jump verboten? What is the basis for invoicing the rescue cost? Much of the things that emergency services handle are result from extraordinary stupidity and thoughtlessness, but so far, AFAIK, no invoices matcfhing the real cost are sent for ambulances or fire extinguishing if you fall asleep when smoking in your bed.

Wouldn't it be more logical to start by invoicing the rescue costs from actual, serious criminal activities? Like, if someone murders people, she should actually pay something to the victims, and compensate the cost of ambulances, police investigation etc to the state/authorities? If you were preparing for an armed robbery of a bank, and were intercepted, you could be invoiced for the cost of the Karhu squad being alerted.

Yeah, right: planning an armed robbery is not a crime until you really step into executing the plan, and courts have kept a high threshold for determining when a plan becomes an actual attempt. But at least possessing illegal firearms is a crime, so why wouldn't we start there? And yes, sending invoices only works as a deterrent when dealing with law-abiding middle class people who have homes and other property. The criminal underclass arranges things differently, so there is no hope of collecting anything.

In the meanwhile, perhaps the emergency services really should consider how much manpower and equipment is alerted to attend to each case of nutty behaviour.

Sentences for capital crimes

There's been quite some discussion in Finland over the triple murder in Porvoo, where a person called Esa Åkerlund shot three people at a McDonald's drive-in queue. As usual, the fanatics like Pekka Sauri are advocating a ban on legal handguns when someone commits murder using an illegal one - just like with the case of Ibrahim Shkupolli half a year ago. The good thing is that the Ministry of Interior is not completely bollocks.

Many other people who have some common sense are, justifiedly, asking that how is this possible: a man is sentenced to life in prison for murdering his wife, then released and kills again so soon.

Before murdering his wife, Åkerlund was convicted of a manslaughter using a knife in a restaurant, but in the Kouvola court of appeals, the sentence was revoked. The technical evidence was compelling: it was Åkerlund's knife, and the victim's blood. But unsurprisingly, in the court of appeals there were new witnesses defending him, and the witnesses against him did not want to testify. The latter were obviously smart enough to figure out that the law offers them no protection, while a murdered can definitely reward them with death, and there is nothing that the police or courts are going to do about it before it happens.

So, 15 years after executing his wife, half a year after he was released, he has an illegal handgun duly supplied by pals, and he murders three other people over a petty argument concerning the horsepowers of a vintage American convertible car.

Why was he released? Why was he not followed up?

However, while we should be asking these questions, it seems that the sentencing in Finland is not nearly as bad as it could be. Compare it to this case in Sweden: http://www.thelocal.se/27768/20100713/

A man murders his sister's boyfriend as a so-called honour killing, using hot oil, knives and blunt instruments. And the sentence? Four years of youth detention. And no, he's not been deported back to Afghanistan.

The bad news is that as is the historical trend, we're probably heading towards the Swedish model.

But I have to type it again.

Four years of youth detention for a premiditated murder commited with hot oil, knives and blunt instruments.


Tolerating biodiversity, but NIMBY

The police in Helsinki have become very active in killing elks. In a couple of days, one elk was shot when swimming towards the Korkeasaari zoo, the other was executed in Myllypuro.

It makes sense in one way, of course. Large animals, like elks, can be rather irritating and even scary when they get too close, and dangerous if you hit them with a car or a motorbike. But isn't that rather the fault of the motorist?

I see a double standard here. People who live in Helsinki are generally very unhappy if reindeer herders in Lapland kill wolverines, or people in North Karelia shoot wolves and bears in order to protect their domestic animals (and even people). There's no end to the mocking of dumb peasants who irrationally fear animals and kill these beautiful things. Many people in Helsinki call an end to all hunting. But still: wolverines, wolves and bears are predators. They kill other animals routinely, and in rare circumstances they even might attack people.

Elks, on the other hand, are vegetarian pacifists. They don't kill people, they don't eat other animals. But whenever elks approach the central parts of Helsinki, they are exterminated on the spot. Couldn't people in Helsinki area practice the biodiversity and peaceful cohabitation also in their own turf, and not just outsource it to other people somewhere far away?

I remember there was quite a hysteria when, a few years ago, a bear passed our house in Espoo, on a lakeshore about 100-200 m away. It was tracked down in Kauniainen and shot. Not many people complained, although the bear had done no more and no less wrong than the other bears that are killed by illegitimate hunters in Karelia.

It is always more comfortable to sit in ants' nests with other people's arses. People in Helsinki area seem to be very willing to preach for biodiversity, as long as it's NIMBY.

(Note: I'm not advocating for open season for killing wolves and bears in remote areas. However, I think people should be always justified in shooting a wolf or a bear when it is on their front yard or attacks livestock.)


PS. A great fuss today about a bear in Tampere. They actually employed the country-wide emergency notification system, which changes channel in my car radio, turn volume up HUGE and then tells me that there's a bear loose. 150 km away from where I live. Elsewhere, that's supposed to be entirely normal, and people should actually feel proud of having wildlife around.


This won't make news in Finland.

There was a time of a few years, when all kinds of news from Russia were available also in the Finnish media. But interestingly, it seems that this won't make the press any more:


(Tatjana Listvjanka filed charges against a resort operated by the FSB - and faces major harassment and possibly years in jail. I'm using intentionally the Finnish style of transliteration for hew name.)

So we'll - again - have to start looking at Western media to get news of the East.


Al-Qaida Cookbook

Al-Qaeda launches an English language magazine, in the hope of radicalizing
Western citizens.

But do they realize that the most likely targets for bombs cooked in Mom's kitchen are, of course, mosques and other Islamic targets? The idiots who bomb Al-Qaida's favourite targets (like synagogues) are most of the time somewhat literate in Arabic. English instructions aren't helping them too much. The idiots who would bomb Western Muslims or their religious targets most likely are only able to read English instructions. So they will be able to use this cookbook.

Naturally, you may say that Al-Qaida is not even trying to fight for Muslims; what they want is just to escalate things and have more war of everyone against everyone. And the people who kill most Muslims are, of course, other Muslims.

Anyway, I fail to see what good this publication does to any Muslim.