We, 31.05.2023
Please note that the article is more than five years old and belongs to our archive. We do not update the content of the archives, so it may be necessary to consult newer sources.

Editorial: let us notice, let us listen, let us lend a helping hand

Facebook Twitter
Photo: Margus Ansu

Today, all of Estonia is in shared mourning with those close to the late teacher Ene Sarap, her colleagues and pupils at Paalalinna School in Viljandi. What a terrible tragedy for the entire nation.

Murder can’t ever be undone. Never can a murderer give back the life robbed, the good the victim may have continued to do. In hindsight, all we can do is find some likely explanations, never any justifications.

Via media, the event will echo in each home, every school all pupils in the land. Want it or not, it will be talked about. So important now for those equipped and experienced to speak out. On the one hand, it’s up to the ethics and standards in media, while also the task for those trained to see that the pages and live broadcasts aren’t filled with speculations and needless spreading of panic. Let’s work together.  

In Estonian schools and society at large, the feeling of security begs restoration. The question needs to be asked: what can be done differently so as to keep such tragedies from happening. Estonian parents need advice how to talk with kids about things of this nature. One way to help is via the media.

Let’s start by paying attention. Not right to make the murderer a martyr, while pointing an accusing finger to all those around him. Meanwhile, it is right to want to pay much more attention. In hindsight, anyone will read the writing on the shooter’s Facebook wall – clear signs of being drawn to weapons and violence. According to a specialist talking to Postimees, that’s quite a cry for help. Sure, intervention was long due. That’s the typical hindsight wisdom, though ...

Let’s not be the know-it-all to jump in the parents. What do we know of their pain? What will it help as we point our fingers?

Even so, good for us to think about why we parents fail to take an interest what the young ones do and experience over the Internet. Why don’t we bother to even glance at the content that all may see?  Who would be best motivated to watch and to help than us parents? Not just talking tragedy and extreme here – think of the ordinary young soul in despair.

No one (governmental) measure will be a panacea, to keep us from all things dark. In Estonia, this is our first such tragedy, and hopefully the last. The world has had its abundance of it. Despite the many studies, the typical school shooter description remains elusive. All kinds of sets of factors may lead to the same terrible end. Luckily, most of the youth stuck with such characteristics will never turn killers.

What we can do is make the society more supportive towards those who are younger. We can see to expert help being available. Estonia does prescribe by law that schools need to come with certain specialists, psychologists included. Still, in numerous places the state and local governments have opted to save the money. On the other hand, how will a school psychologist help a kid they are not sent to?

Facebook Twitter