German media roundup: Could Winnenden have been prevented?

Could the Winnenden massacre have been prevented? With the nation still in shock, German newspapers in The Local’s media roundup engage in some soul-searching following the bloody school rampage in Baden-Württemberg.

German media roundup: Could Winnenden have been prevented?
Photo: DPA

A day after 17-year-old Tim Kretschmer killed 15 people on Wednesday, Germany is grappling with the causes and consequences. The authorities say the teen had been in psychiatric care and he had announced his intentions on the internet before the bloodbath. But the country’s main papers on Thursday can’t agree on the best way to prevent such school rampages in the future.

Click here for a photo gallery of the incident.

The centre-left Süddeutsche Zeitung argues that stricter gun laws wouldn’t prevent similar tragedies, but better checks on people already possessing a firearm would be a step into the right direction.

“Even owning a weapon is tied to several obligations,” the paper points out. “The father of the deadly shooter did not fulfill these and therefore he’ll have to be held accountatble.”

Conservative daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung instead focuses on the fact that the current tragedy is almost certain to animate others to copy it.

“The images of the rampage encourage politicians to voice their outrage, shock and how dumbfounded they are. It encourages the police to fine tune their video simulations and role-playing for such massacres,” the paper argues. “Why shouldn’t the images of these massacres encourage all kinds of people but not the next person set to cause another massacre?”

Berlin-based daily Der Tagesspiegel sees the shooter as a product of his environment and German society, which failed to offer him help to escape his inner aggressions.

“The school, his friends and his parents, didn’t offer him this chance, which is every child’s right. Now, as the culprit will have calculated, he is taken seriously. The price to pay for a failure like this is unacceptable,” the paper writes.

The right-wing paper Die Welt, on the other hand, argues Germany much look at what motivated the teen gunman in order to keep it from happening again. “Prevention focused on perpetrators must be broadly expanded so as to see early warning signals,” the daily writes, adding that security must also be increase at the nation’s schools. “At every airport and at many companies we are subject to search, but anyone can enter a German classroom unchecked.”


German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

A 50-year-old German man was jailed for life Tuesday for shooting dead a petrol station cashier because he was angry about being told to wear a mask while buying beer.

German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

The September 2021 murder in the western town of Idar-Oberstein shocked Germany, which saw a vocal anti-mask and anti-vaccine movement emerge in response to the government’s coronavirus restrictions.

The row started when 20-year-old student worker Alex W. asked the man to put on a mask inside the shop, as required in all German stores at the time.

After a brief argument, the man left.

The perpetrator – identified only as Mario N. – returned about an hour and a half later, this time wearing a mask. But as he bought his six-pack of beer to the till, he took off his mask and another argument ensued.

He then pulled out a revolver and shot the cashier in the head point-blank.

On Tuesday, the district court in Bad-Kreuznach convicted Mario N. of murder and unlawful possession of a firearm, and handed him a life sentence.

READ ALSO: Shock in Germany after cashier shot dead in Covid mask row

Under German law, people given a life sentence can usually seek parole after 15 years. His defence team had sought a sentence of manslaughter, rather than murder.

At the start of the trial, prosecutor Nicole Frohn told how Mario N. had felt increasingly angry about the measures imposed to curb the pandemic, seeing them as an infringement on his rights.

“Since he knew he couldn’t reach the politicians responsible, he decided to kill him (Alex W.),” she said.

Mario N. turned himself in to police the day after the shooting.

German has relaxed most of its coronavirus rules, although masks are still required in some settings, such as public transport.