Turku attack, and memorial
Yesterday there was a terrible knife attack in downtown Turku. The first call to police came at 16.02, and the attacker was neutralized (shot by police in the leg) at 16.05. Still, two people died and six were injured. Terrorism connections are being investigated - the suspect is an 18-year-old man of Moroccan origin - and if confirmed, it will be the first murder-by-terrorism in Finland, according to the Prime Minister.
We are often downtown in the market square area, though not yesterday. It is a scary thing to have your phone suddenly go crazy with notifications as your friends, local and abroad, contact you to see if you're ok, and tell you that they are ok, as my phone did yesterday afternoon. At first it was very difficult to even get a news site to load on my phone, which made it even scarier. What has happened that is so horrible that my friends and family in the US found out about it first? Some helpful friends sent screenshots of news reports, and then I finally found out what was going on.
Jeremy and I went downtown this evening to see the impromptu memorial that has been set up where the victims died. It was so good to see Turkuians showing their faces and making a point to be out and about after something so awful. That said, there was a bit more wariness in the air than usual. In moments of fleeting eye contact with passers by as we walked to the square, everyone seemed to be saying: "you know what happened, and I know what happened, and I thought we all had a deal that something like that would never happen in a place like this, yet here we are, you and me, having this silent conversation."
There are heart-warming stories that have come out of this incident - market square vendors, including a 70-year-old man, grabbing bats and even a table (a table!) to chase down the attacker and protect others. And this story of a man who stayed with victims even when the attacker made another run at them (try Google Translate on that post).
Well, let's hope this is the one bad thing that happens in Finland, and in Turku.