Tuesday, September 23, 2008

This is Finnish... but not the end

Sometimes even school massacres have something amusing about them. Okay, what happened today in Finland was not funny, but it caused my favourite site to cause another funny mistake. It's especially funny because I could not possibly have known it was a mistake, but somehow figured it out.
Here is the story: A 22 year old guy went amok and killed 9 people (death toll might be increasing), then shot himself and got severely injured. In this t-online news report, he is called "Herra S." by the author.

So far, so bad. I was interested to know more, so I checked the english Wikipedia page, where an article about the massacre had already been put up. Strangely, the name of the murderer was completely different there. He was called "Matti Juhani Saari". Okay, the "S." is correct then, because his last name starts with an "S". But what about the rest? Well, I checked again because I thought that probably "Herra" would be the wrong first name because the other name sounded like a complete Finnish name. And I already had a suspicion that became true. Take a look what "Herra" really means. One tip: There is a German word that sounds not too different.

Wow. So yeah... who do you think ever calls their son "Mister" as a first name? I can't imagine that's common, even in such a strange country. You know, I think the story went like this:

T-online reporter (now called T) and Finnish policeman (P) have a conversation:

T: Hello, do you speak English?


T:Who was the name of the killer?

P (feeling confused, turning around to a colleague): Um... question? Not understand.

T:The name... killer... shoot shoot. Name. How called?

P: His name... we not tell, just say Herra S. is privacy... understand?

T: Yay! I have to write an article totally quickly anyway, gotta go, must write quickly and I make so many spelling mistakes anyway. Thanks.

P: What... ever....

EDIT: The number of victims has increased to 10, the killer has died and t-online.de has changed its version to the more common one that had been on wikipedia before. But the mistakes never end: The news channel of my Nintendo Wii says the killer was 20 years old, as opposed to all other sources who say he was 22 years old. I guess journalism is a very difficult job. At least it's allowed to make mistakes because nobody cares except for nerds like me.

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