An irresponsible impromptu on Utøya

The scale of Breivik’s macabre achievement is likely to dwarf any political dimension it may turn out to have


The intelligentsia spent Friday afternoon spinning madly like the Fates, weaving a tapestry of anticipated political repercussions from the emerging factual matter of Norwegian terrorism. But the continued unravelling of events has left their handiwork in tatters. The almost comforting familiarity of a conventional terrorist attack in a European city has been superseded by a nightmarish cadenza: the most effective peacetime spree killing in human history—perpetrated by a lone individual on a microscopic resort island owned by a young socialists’ organization.

According to the information available at this hour, the killer appears to be some sort of right-wing Muslim-hating Freemason who set off a bomb in Oslo and then travelled quickly, in police garb, to the isle of Utøya. There, he claimed to be conducting a “security check” and was able to round up young attendees at a political summer camp. He opened fire, killing 84 to go with the estimated seven dead in the capital. Norwegian police indicate that Anders Behring Breivik had an automatic weapon, but he does not appear to have detonated any explosives; students of the morbid will recall that the acknowledged dean of spree killers, South Korean policeman Woo Bum-Kon, used grenades in the 1982 all-night murder-bender that killed 57.

The scale of Breivik’s macabre achievement, a Beamonesque leap beyond the known limits of mayhem possible to a lone armed person, is likely to dwarf any political dimension it may turn out to have. There is nothing remarkable in itself about a Norwegian killing Norwegians for articulable political reasons, even if Europe’s endless argument over Islam is somehow implicated. We have all learned the ironclad rule: in liberal democracies, Islamic terror leads to little more than creeping incremental change in any policy concerning Muslims—but it produces massive instant growth in the security apparatus of the state, and in the low-level panic that nourishes it.

From this point of view, intelligent terrorists who display careful premeditation and tactical sophistication have a legitimately greater impact on history than improvisational nutjobs. Breivik has created a lot of problems for those who must anticipate and deflect copycats. He was not the usual despondent psychotic for whom the death toll was tangential to his private pain; his surprising survival of the attack proves this, as does his apparent care in delivering coups de grace to his victims. (He will undoubtedly present a laceratingly sharp edge case to the famously cuddly Norwegian corrections system—much as Napoleon did to the international law of his time, or as Osama bin Laden would have, had he been taken alive. A Norwegian cannot technically even be sentenced to life in prison.)

Breivik employed the Palestinian logic, hitherto almost unknown amongst Western-style spree killers (though implemented at Columbine), of the delayed second attack that specifically takes advantage of the chaos of the first. Indeed, he seems to have contemplated a third attack by leaving a bomb behind on Utøya. He is the first spree killer I am aware of to use an island as a trap. We may expect that having fun on an island in any kind of mass, congregational setting—a concert, an arts festival—is practically proscribed for the foreseeable future.

One can predict, too, the effects that Breivik’s use of a police disguise will have. He probably wore nothing very elaborate; as streetwear for cops has gotten increasingly “practical” and comfortable, dispensing with touches like epaulettes and braided lanyards and Sam Browne belts, it has become easier to mimic the police using nothing more than ordinary clothing catalogues and perhaps a little screenprinting equipment. Since police everywhere are supreme exponents of the “easier for us” principle, we can probably expect them to organize bans on certain colours and styles of casual clothing, rather than themselves returning to a more formal costuming style that resists counterfeiting.

Perhaps I am wrong, and this is merely an irresponsible musing on an inappropriate occasion. I’m willing to bet that it holds up better, at any rate, than the half-day of speculation about “Islamism” that we have just been through. For a few hours I was as willing as anyone to believe that the terrorist responsible for the dual attack in Norway was Just Another Middle-Eastern Wacko. But even before the spotlight shifted to a B-movie blond beast, I found myself wondering: what difference does it make? Since 9/11 we have witnessed outrages by Muslims and outrages by non-Muslims, with hardly a difference in the effects. Indeed, in venues like airports, subways, and bus stations, the suffering is distributed to the citizenry with explicit randomness. The simple rule is that the terrorists win every time.


An irresponsible impromptu on Utøya

  1. What a depressing way to start morning.

    I didn’t watch tv news yesterday but I was reading tweets and it was unseemly how fast people came to conclusions before we even knew identity of killer. People wanted to blame either Muslims or conservatives for outrage but no one seems to think about all those young people who were massacred. 

    I think it would be nice for society to have 24 hrs of reflection or silence after a tragedy before we start blaming one another for all ills of the world.

  2. What difference does it make?

    The website …Free Republic….Freepers….did 150 pages of anti-Muslim venom yesterday until it came out the shooter was a right-wing conservative christian fundamentalist…..just. like. them.

    Then the place went silent.

  3. Nice red herring about the “Palistinian” tactic of delayed destruction. Only yesterday I
    happened to read about a couple of incidents where the same tactic was used in
    “terrorist” fire bombings in northern states by evil-doers in a political cause.
    Confederate sympathizers infiltrating from pre-confederation Canadian border towns.
    Bet it wouldn’t take long to find any number of historical uses of the tactic.
    But why bother.

    • It was used on Criminal Minds a few years ago, I’ve seen the repeats.  Terror tactics do not belong to any ethnic group and Colby should be ashamed of himself for pretending it’s a Palestinian thing.

  4. Damn, Cosh, you always get me a thinkin’.

    Maybe, just maybe, Norway will teach us in North America, how to react calmly and rationally to a terror attack. Or rather how NOT to react? 

    I wonder if there will be telethons?

    Regardless, my thoughts and those of my family are with the victim families today. 

    • I think it is asking a lot to act calm and rational immediately following a terrorist attack

      • ‘Tis, brother, ’tis. I didn’t mean to sound so trite. Your point is very well taken.

  5. I think you could describe him as being psychotic –  maybe not a ‘despondent psychotic’

    • Call him a Christian fundamentalist terrorist; don’t soften it because he’s white with blonde hair.

      • soften? Is psychopath a ‘soft’ term?

        • Sociopath is the right term.

          • why not psychopath?

          • A psychopath loses contact with reality while commiting his/her crimes…a sociopath while still lacking a conscience, remains grounded in reality….knows exactly what he/she is doing and is not responding to a delusion or any kind of hallucination nor are they have some sort of “out of body experience.”

      • Fundamentalist how?

          • Sunday Telegraph:

            ….. In recent years, however, Norway started receiving immigration from around the world, and Islam has become the second biggest religion. Given Norway’s homogenous insularity, the impact of such different cultures has been even bigger than it was in Britain in the 1960s. 

            Casual racism is rife. Only in Norway have I heard someone order a taxi and request that the driver is white. News reports can display an unwitting racism that is shocking to British ears. 

            There is a widespread unease about the way the country is changing, which even mainstream politicians play on, with anti-immigration rhetoric more inflammatory than anything you will hear in Britain.

            Many Norwegians don’t want their idyll spoiled, by either joining the EU, or by turning multicultural – and it is this nativist side of the country that appears to have turned horrifyingly murderous.


          • But people wear a lot of hats. If a mass murderer was a member of the elks club, you wouldn’t necessarily call him an Elk Club terrorist. If you are figuring out his motives, the real question is whether his Christianity was central to his goals. My suspicion is that his hatred probably blurs religious, cultural and racial lines. 

            It is also not clear to me that he is promoting an explicitly Christian agenda (he has said he considers Jews allies, for instance). You know, and then there’s the whole thing about how Christianity doesn’t condone mass killings of innocent people. 

          • Nope. Christian texts do not advocate mass killings of innocent people  at all.

            They entered into a covenant to seek the Lord, the God of their fathers, with all their heart and soul; and everyone who would not seek the Lord, the God of Israel, was to be put to death, whether small or great, whether man or woman.  (2 Chronicles 15:12-13 NAB)

            Anyone arrogant enough to reject the verdict of the judge or of the priest who represents the LORD your God must be put to death. (Deuteronomy 17:12 NLT)
            This is what the Lord of  hosts has to say: ‘I will punish what Amalek did to Israel when he barred his way as he was coming up from Egypt. Go, now, attack Amalek, and deal with him and all that he has under the ban. Do not spare him, but kill men and women, children and infants, oxen and sheep, camels and asses.’  (1 Samuel 15:2-3 NAB)

            Make ready to slaughter his sons for the guilt of their fathers; Lest they rise and posses the earth, and fill the breadth of the world with tyrants. (Isaiah 14:21 NAB)

    • Psychosis is a mental illness whereby a person cannot tell the difference between fantasy & reality.  Schizophrenia is a specific kind of psychosis.  When people are experiencing psychosis, they may do something violent because they are hearing voices that are commanding them to act in a certain way or they believe that the world will be saved from the devil.  This person did not experience these hallucinatory and delusionary stimuli.  He wanted people to believe that islamic extremists had done the massacre so they would be anti-muslim like he is.  You insult people who suffer from psychosis when you suggest this person has it when clearly he is just a bad guy.

      • Yeah, I confused the term with psychopath or psychopathic (if that’s a word) – my mistake

  6. What difference does it make?

    Indeed.  Even now knowing that the terrorist in this case was not an Islamist, an intelligent writer like Colby can still write a post about the attack that references Islamic/Middle Eastern terrorism over a dozen times, gets in references to the victims being “socialists” and the Norwegian justice system being “cuddly”, and mentions the fact that the actual terrorist in this case was apparently an anti-Muslim right-winger precisely once.

  7. Since 9/11 we have witnessed outrages by Muslims and outrages by non-Muslims, with hardly a difference in the effects.

    Do you suppose if I asked a Muslim about the difference in the effects following recent outrages perpetrated by Muslims versus recent outrages perpetrated by non-Muslims they’d say there was “hardly a difference”?

    I’m blonde and somewhat tall, but somehow I don’t think I’m going to get hassled more by airport security, or have my home vandalized, or be the victim of a hate crime, or otherwise be negatively effected in respose to the attacks in Norway.  You can’t be suggesting that I’d experience nothing different if I was dark haired with a full beard and wore Middle Eastern-inspired fashions following a major Islamist terror attack.

    • Do you suppose if I asked a Jew about the difference in the effects following recent outrages perpetrated by Muslims versus recent outrages perpetrated by non-Muslims they’d say there was “hardly a difference”?

      Maybe we could ask Jewish community about differences after outrages also?

      I agree that Muslims are singled out but there are actual reasons why some people are concerned about Islam.


      Even in 2001 when religious bias crimes against Muslims increased briefly for a nine-week period, total anti-Muslim incidents, offenses and victims remained approximately half of the corresponding anti-Jewish totals.


      As in previous years, 7 in 10 religiously-motivated hate crimes were committed against the Jewish faith in 2009. Police reported 283 such hate crimes in 2009, up 71% from 2008.


      Montreal police believe attacks against five Jewish institutions in the city on the weekend could be related.


      What does it mean to be a young Muslim in Canada today? What are the differences and divisions within the community? How should Canadians respond to demonstrations of religiosity in the public square?


      • Think you are on to something……..

        Students with ethnic Norwegian background were the least harassed, but the rate of harassment rose in line with the number of non-Norwegian students at their schools.
        Most worrisome for school and city officials was the high level of Jewish students, 33 percent, who reported harassment at least two to three times a month. That compares to 5.3 percent of Muslim students who said they’d been  harassed. Fully 9 percent of the students responding said they’d been harassed at school because of their religion or faith, while Christians experienced the least harassment.


  8. I hope this will be a lesson to people like Steyn: the right wing needs to tone down its rhetoric.

    • Memo to Disqus:  Need “Dislike” button.

      • The shooter was psychotic, granted, but fueled by the same ideas that Steyn and people like Geert WIlders espouse. He feared a Muslim majority in Norway, and cited studies about the attitudes of Muslim youth in his online ramblings. This man believed all the virulent anti-Islam sentiment espoused by people like Steyn. Steyn and his ilk rely on the politics of fear to push their agenda  (Muslim women are out breeding European women! OMG! etc. etc.) and there will always be nutcases responsive to that kind of hate-mongering. I’m not saying this tragedy is Steyn’s fault. I’m saying the kind of rhetoric he publishes incites hatred and fear, which was clearly part of this madman’s motivation in attacking a left-wing youth camp, and it should give Steyn, or any person of conscience, pause before penning his next diatribe about how Muslims are destroying Europe.

        • Yeah, the initial news coverage yesterday, speculating about Muslim terrorism was an impulsive joke (as usual), but now you watch the news and you hear he was ‘right-wing’ (cuts a pretty wide swath) and a Christian (another wide cut) – How about this man had extreme issues with empathy towards fellow human beings, and was obviously prone to irrational, violent behavior. Maybe he read a lot of Mark Steyn, or maybe he read too much Alice in Wonderland – who knows? You are not going to accurately figure out how he thought of his plan because he is not normal

          • He self-identified as right-wing, and he was former member of a popular right-wing political party with strong anti-immigration views. His targets were political and his political views are a matter of public record. He publicly expressed sympathy with Geert Wilders and publicly expressed his right-wing views in several forums. These views were nationalistic, anti-Muslim, and anti-immigration. There’s nothing to guess at – he wasn’t reciting verses from the jabberwocky.

          • And Osama bin Laden identified himself as a follower of Islam. We don’t blame Muslims for 9/11.

            You can be a vocal critic or support of any position without supporting or condoning violence.

          • I mentioned ‘normal’ and I cut a ‘wide swath’ as to what should be considered normal in a democratic society such as Canada or Norway. My definition of normal, of course, includes people with views that counter my own and even extends to those who hold distasteful and/or ignorant opinions/beliefs. It does does not include those who would act like this man did – obviously

            He can use whatever political or ideological views he wants to self-justify his action, but he still lies outside of normal, and you will never be able to explain how he goes from certain beliefs/interpretations to what he did without defining this man as not normal.(given what I believe is a fair and encompassing definition of normal)

          • “The problem, after all, is not that the sons of Allah are ‘long shots’
            but that they’re certainties. Every Continental under the age of 40 —
            make that 60, if not 75 — is all but guaranteed to end his days living
            in an Islamified Europe.”

            “Native populations on the continent are aging and fading and being supplanted remorselessly by a young Muslim demographic.”

            “The Serbs figured that out, as other Continentals will in the years
            ahead: if you cannot outbreed the enemy, cull ’em. The problem that
            Europe faces is that Bosnia’s demographic profile is now the model for
            the entire continent.”

            – Mark Steyn.

            What do you suppose is the logical conclusion of following such an ideology?

          • What you consider logical is truly insane.

            Steyn did not start the Bosnian war, he’s simply reporting what happened, and what is happening.

            You’re the lunatic who is saying people should become killers when they can’t get along.

          • Fraser Harris, do you read the internet much? There are many rightwing Muslim-haters posting comments who DO blame all Muslims for 9/11 and anything else they can think of. Often these commenters appear to be rightwing Christian fundamentalists.

            So if people are eager to point out the killer is a rightwing Christian fundamentalist, it is partly a reaction to all the rightwing commenters who have spewed a lot of hatred toward Muslims as well as toward anyone they view as lefties.

  9. I’m just glad they caught the guy right away to end the speculation – took 3-4 days to get Timothy McVeigh. 

    From what I’ve been reading he followed through on his beliefs.  Directly attacked the current Labour government with the bomb, then their grass roots of young future Labour supporters who were attending a week-long program of anti-racism workshops and politics.

    He is against mass Muslim immigration – Norway has a large refugee group from Somalia.

    From his blog:

    Multikulturalister is very bothered when you mention Japan and South Korea as these Nations proves quite openly that the mass-immigration is a result of specific Marxist doctrines and very rarely economically or culturally beneficial. Japan/South Korea has a limit and border guards. If you are missing a visa, you will be refused passage.
    The problem is that it often doesn’t help about 80% of Muslims are so-called “moderate”, i.e. that they ignore the Quran. “There are very few people to overthrow an airplane”.
    The percentage represents the Taliban of Pakistan’s population? 1%, 3%, 5%? And how much chaos it out today?
    In any society in which Islam exists it will be a certain percentage of Muslims who actually follow the traditional interpretations of the Qur’an.
    And so we have the relationship between conservative Muslims and the so-called “moderate Muslims”.
    For me it is very bigoted to treat Muslims, Nazis and Of different. They are all followers of hate-ideologies. Not all Muslims, Nazis and Of the Conservatives, the majority are moderate. But does it matter? A moderate Nazi can, after having experienced fraud, choose to be conservative. A moderate Muslim can, after having been denied admission at a night spot, be conservative, etc.
    What you do to come by here is nothing but very ugly reign techniques.You claim that all people that do not follow landsmo (r) deren Brundtland definition, are racists:”Anyone who at any time with Norwegian passports are full People” … That means that even Inkpuddle (the Norwegian passport) who chew khat throughout the day, banks and insurance sends half the wife of al-Shabaab should be seen as a fully fledged Smith.If someone in this country dare to look at this Inkpuddle as anything other than a fully fledged Smith are the racists and the brennmerkes public. And you say that everyone who disagrees with their extreme cultural Marxist world view-the utopian, a global citizen-definition are racists?In that case, I think you guys have stamped 95% of the world’s population that just this but it plays a minor role for you?You are only concerned to paralyze all debate in the community, to gag anyone who is not of the same opinion as you, to exert social control on an equal footing with the conservative Muslims in Greenland? Once a person takes off the “ideological hijaben” are you out as soon as the troll you are.Sorry, but it no longer works. More become increasingly immune to reign due to massive inflation techniques in their rhetoric.I think the majority of Norwegians requires full cultural assimilation (European culture) to find other full Norwegians. His his analysis is correct. Norwegian passports are irrelevant in this context. Get over it. ..!http://www.document.no/anders-behring-breivik/

  10. The observation about rushes to judgement are bang on. As are the effects of a psycho grabbing off-the-rack cop garb and subsequent diminishment of trust regarding uniformed authority. As for islands, I am writing from one of ‘Ten-Thousand’ in G. Bay. 

    But then, this, “Palestinian logic” Did you and Coren have a little confab this a.m.? You know, just to see that the shirts matched the shorts? ”Cuz this has as little to do with Israel/Palestine as it does with properly starched shirts. Conflating an anti-Islamic, white power psycho with Palestinains is a nice touch, though. Goldberg-ian. Almost.

  11. There, there Colby, you’re just having a mild bout of cognitive dissonance.  I know it’s disappointing that it was an extreme right wing fundamentalist christian, instead of the extreme islamic terrorist you are so fond of writing about, but life is full of surprises, isn’t it?  Makes it tough to stay on message, don’t it?

    But you did a great job! Don’t let the truth get in the way of a great storyline.

    • to say nothing of our politics domestically, and in fact if you look at our last incident, Ecole Polytechnique. All these hateful people are the same from Osama to this wacko. Insert a group to deamonize and then make a plan to attack.

      Sure am glad my name is not Candace Hopner, the CPC is going to have a hard time explaining getting rid of the registry come September when all the facts are out.

      • Do you think that people who do mass murders register their firearms or buy them legally for that matter?

    • He stated in his manifesto that he didn’t consider himself very religious (i.e not christian) – He also stated that he was pro-Israel ( not very common among the extreme right). So, I think maybe you are the very disappointed one


  12. The only message I’m getting from this is that gun control is an abject failure.  Maybe if at least one individual on that island had a gun, there wouldn’t be dozens of dead. It’s absolutely insane that a single individual could so easily gun down so many people over an hour and a half without the slightest bit of resistance.

    • Yes. The proportionate response is to ARM THE CHILDREN.

      • If they’re old enough to be living by themselves on a island in the wild with no connection to the mainland, then they’re old enough to learn how to protect themselves.

        If they’re not old enough, then there should be adult supervision.

        But of course, you would prefer them dead.

        • The youngest killed is reportedly nine-years-old. She won’t grow up. You should endeavour to do so.

          • Holy toledo frobisher, you need to get a grip. I’m not saying every individual needed a gun. I’m saying just one gun amongst the hundreds of people there would have saved dozens of lives.

            Are you freakin serious? Do you like to see dead kids?

            You’d prefer they all die just for your silly ideology. You’d prefer that the only person on that island with a gun is the crazed lunatic bent on killing everyone. God forbid that anyone on that island should have the means to protect themselves. frobisher would prefer that they all take a bullet because that’s the way he likes it.

          • Geez, ideology eh? Would’ve thought the only ideology at work here was the verbose-ly manifested one of the shooter (not ‘terrorist’, mind you, that’s reserved for ‘them’).

            So, one laments the death of a defenseless child (and 89 or so others) by a right-wing freak with an automatic weapon and it’s ‘silly ideology’?  As opposed to the righteous ideology of this Berwick/Breivak freak. Right. ‘Cuz, one supposes, you’re on his team. Right?Maybe you’re right. Arm everyone. That sounds right.Right.You, McVeigh, Coren and Pam Geller, Right. The New Right is #winning.

          • Of course it’s your ideology. A crazed lunatic managed to kill 90 people without even breaking a sweat, and no, you’re not lamenting their deaths at all, you’re trying to make a political point that the last thing on earth we should want is protection from lunatics like him. God forbid we should be allowed to protect ourselves. frobisher’s decided that the best solution is nothing. Lunatics like him should be allowed to go on their psychotic rampage without the slightest bit of resistance, because yes, your ideology tells you that’s that way it should be!
            I’ve made an obvious point, and your response is no, protection is bad, it’s better that they’re dead. And then you fire off senseless comments like Mcveigh, Coren and whomever you can think of, as if there is any sort of logical path to your ramblings.

          • So, wait, the only reason there were no guns at a summer youth camp for supporters of a left-leaning political party was Norway’s restrictive gun laws???  ‘Cause I think I’d bet a MILLION DOLLARS that if Norway had no restrictions on gun sales whatsoever there STILL wouldn’t have been a gun at that youth camp.  I refuse to believe that there were no guns at a camp presumably filled with kids and camp counselors who favour strict gun control laws because Norway’s gun control laws are too strict.  I think there were no guns because it was a youth camp filled 13-23 year old supporters of a party that favours strict support gun control.  In other words, I’m pretty sure Frobisher’s “silly ideology” on gun control was shared by the victims in Norway.

            Your logic comes awfully close to suggesting that if people who support restrictive gun control don’t want to get shot they should arm themselves.  At the very least you seem to be suggesting that any gathering of more than 500 people at which no guns are present is irresponsible, and may be indicative of the fact that the group “likes to see dead kids”.

          • s_c_f is desperate to avoid admitting the fact that the murderer espouses rightwing values.

            I doubt that the man is a lunatic; more likely he chose to be evil, and to justify his violent acts with rightwing arguments which often are full of hatred.

          • If you want to accuse right-wingers as being murderers, the so be it, but it says more about you than anyone else. It shows both how partisan you are to be so hateful of half the population, and also how ignorant you are (The worst mass murderers from the twentieth century and possibly for all time were Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, all from the left. Even Hitler was the head of the National “Socialist” Party).

          • s_c_f, you don’t even notice how full of hate you are yourself, do you?

            “You’d prefer they all die just for your silly ideology…”

            Looks like projection to me, as in:

            “Psychological projection or projection bias is a psychological defense mechanism where a person subconsciously denies his or her own attributes, thoughts, and emotions, which are then ascribed to the outside world, usually to other people. Thus, projection involves imagining or projecting the belief that others originate those feelings.[”


          • Wow, the old “projection” canard. That’s the teenage equivalent of “I know you are but what am I?”

            Are you kidding me? Do you intend to make sense at some point in time? Do you always spout whatever nonsense pops into your head?

        • There was an armed guard. Breivik shot him.

    • Would you send your kid to a summer camp where other kids were packing heat?

      • What’s even stranger is SCF’s suggestion that the only reason none of the kids at a summer camp held by a left-leaning political party were packing heat is Norway’s restrictive gun laws.  I’d be willing to bet a MILLION DOLLARS that if guns were as easy to get in Norway as they are in the U.S. there STILL wouldn’t have been a gun at that camp.

        • You just made up a whole lot of stuff that has nothing to do with anything I said.  Whatever.

          • You said that the lack of a gun at the camp to stop the attacker showed that gun control is an abject failure, and I pointed out that the lack of a gun at the camp almost certainly had nothing whatsoever to do with Norway’s gun control laws.

            What am I missing?

          • No, I did not say that. I’ve said absolutely nothing about gun control. You invented that.

          • I have no idea about Norway’s gun control laws, but I do know that a crazed madman had no trouble loading up on all the weapons he needed. Meanwhile, whatever those laws may be, for whatever reason, the camp had not a single weapon that could be used to prevent dozens of senseless deaths, even though they had hired a guard.
            I have not the slightest idea about Norway’s gun control laws, but I do know what this tells us about gun control in general – it’s an abject failure. If there are 100 people on an island, and the only person there with a gun is the crazed lunatic bent on killing everybody else, then there is something wrong.

            1 guy against 100 should not result in the deaths of almost all the 100. But thanks to the complete absence of guns amongst the 100, it did.

          • Wait a second scf, now you’re admitting that you know nothing about Norway’s gun control laws but persisting in your argument that this attack in Norway is an indictment of the failure of Norway’s gun control laws???  I tend to agree that it’s shocking that this man was so easily able to arm himself with so many  deadly guns, but wouldn’t that seem to indicate that Norway’s gun laws AREN’T STRICT ENOUGH?

            Also, your suggestion that if you have 100 people on an island and no one has a gun that that’s some sort of a problem is pretty shocking to me.  It’s seems to me that you’re treading awfully close to saying that if a large group of unarmed people choose to congregate together that we shouldn’t be shocked if a bunch of them get shot.  I mean, none of them had a gun, what did they expect?  Also, I see no evidence to date that there was no gun on that island because of Norway’s restrictive gun control laws, and I’m almost certain that the reason there was no gun on that island is because no one at that youth camp wants to own a gun.  That’s still allowed, isn’t it?  I’m not an irresponsible citizen because I choose not to own a gun, am I?  Or is it just irresponsible if I choose to congregate with a large number of similar minded people, and we neglect to hire armed guards to protect us?  I simply can’t believe that you wrote “If there are 100 people on an island, and the only person there with a
            gun is the crazed lunatic bent on killing everybody else, then there is
            something wrong”.  Yes, there is something wrong, but it’s not with the people who didn’t have guns.

            Anyway, I have friends who have a cottage on an island.  Can you let me know how many people they can invite over without guns before they’re being irresponsible without hiring armed security?  They may not like the added expesne, but I guess if they have to hire guards now, that’s what they’ll have to do.

          •  Guest:

            I don’t know what you have or haven’t said in this thread, but I was replying to scf, not you, and scf clearly stated “The only message I’m getting from this is that gun control is an abject failure.”

  13. Why us, the media, the government love labels. Why the media love to have things to say, against and/or in favor. Always comparing to this or that. All the “experts” comes out in force. Why not just report the fact and wait for the real facts to come to light and than report it. All those specualtions and accusations can only bring more “nutters” out there to start thinking about it. Stop making crime a sensational thing. It was a enormous tragedy that will affect the lives of so many including the family and friends of the criminal. It is obvious that when a person resorts to violent acst at this magnitude, his mind is just in turmoil. We can call it terrorism, right wing christian fundamentalist and/or any other label. he is a disturbed individual, label or no label. No amount of security or police presence can stop tragedy inflicted by a insane person. We should  let the case rest and let the families  deal with their losses instead of opening the news everyday and read or see the tragedy all over again.

  14. Calling buddy a “psycho” and “insane” might be comforting in that it labels him
    as the “other”. But there is nothing that I’ve seen or read in the media (admittedly
    a high-risk observation) that shows him to be psychotic or delusional. Just very,very.
    very wrong.
    Sane people commit insane acts. 

    • there is nothing that I’ve seen or read in the media (admittedly a high-risk observation) that shows him to be psychotic or delusional

      He killed over 90 people.  How’s that?

      I can accept that somebody can kill another person without being “crazy”.  In war, one could presumably kill dozens of people and not be “insane”.  However, if you’re a civilian, in peace time, in a democratic country, I move you from the sane column to the insane column somewhere between your first murder victim and your 90th, and I don’t need any more evidence of your “insanity” than the pile of dead bodies you left behind.

      Now, of course, I’m using “insane” (and I believe I used “nutjob” above) colloquially, and not in a legalistic “not competent to stand trial” sense, but so is everyone else who’s calling this guy “crazy”, or “insane” or a “whackjob”.  I try not to throw words like “nutjob” around too much myself, but personally, I don’t need anything more than 5 or 6 murder victims as evidence before referring to a killer as a nutjob.

      I also don’t think we need to “label” this guy as the “other”.  He killed NINETY-TWO PEOPLE.  That makes him something separate from the rest of us, whether we apply a particular label to him or not.

      • In war, one could presumably kill dozens of people and not be ‘insane’.
        However, if you’re a civilian, in peace time, in a democratic country, I
        move you from the sane column to the insane column…

        But that is precisely the point LKO. This man, fuelled by far-right political discourse, sees himself as someone who is at war. He is a soldier for the Vienna school. He has said he understands the acts he committed were gruesome and atrocious, but that they were necessary. He has said he deliberately targeted a Labour party camp to discourage membership in the party. It is all frighteningly rational.

        “The operation was not about killing as many as possible, but to provide
        a significant signal that simply could not be misunderstood,” Mr.
        Breivik said, according to the judge. “As long as the Labour party
        maintains their ideological line of politics, whereby they deconstruct
        Norwegian culture and ‘mass-import’ Muslims, they must be held
        accountable for treason. One cannot allow one’s country to be colonised
        by Muslims.”


        • This man, fuelled by far-right political discourse, sees himself as
          someone who is at war. He is a soldier for the Vienna school. He has
          said he understands the acts he committed were gruesome and atrocious,
          but that they were necessary. He has said he deliberately targeted a
          Labour party camp to discourage membership in the party…

          Like I said, he’s a nutjob.

          • Or he chose to be evil. Calling him a nutjob just lets him off too lightly.

      • Timothy McVie was not insane either.  Neither were the guys at Columbine or Marc Lepine.  Sociopaths are not “insane”…they lack empathy but they are not psychotic…they do not lose touch with reality.  From what was in his ‘writings”, this man wanted to “wake up the world to the dangers of multi-culturalism”…I could direct you to some other blogs that are anti-muslim and pretty frightening that are also written by sane people.

        • In the sense in which the words are being used by commenters here (i.e. colloquially, not in a legalistic sense), I disagree.  Timothy McVeigh, Marc Lepine, the guys at Columbine… nutjobs all.

          • As someone who works in psychiatry, I can say that you are being insulting to people who suffer from psychosis and do have problems telling the difference between fantasy & reality ie: hear voices & have delusions.  People who have forms of psychosis such as Schizophrenia are no more likely than the general population to be violent. 
            The evidence thus far indicates that this individual carefully planned out his attack (a person with acute psychosis would be disorganized); he wanted people to believe the attack was carried out by a muslim organization; and he had a clear goal in mind – to stop immigration of muslims.

          • As someone who does not work in psychiatry, I can say that you are being ridiculous.  LKO’s meaning is clear, even as you try to paint your faux-outrage for his perfectly reasonable comment.

            No reasonable person could construe what LKO said as somehow an attack on people who have clinical mental disabilities.

            We still need words to describe the likes of Breizik, and these words are likely to have a shared meaning in clinical fields.  Big whoop.

          • artist_fka_alfanerd – You are right you don’t work in psychiatry and as such have no idea the way these people are marginalized by misinformed people poking fun at their illnesses.  You think calling people with psychiatric illnesses “nutjobs” is okay?  Gee, let’s make up some derogatory terms for people suffering from heart disease.  The outrage is not “faux” – it is real.

          • But I’m not calling people with Schizophrenia nutjobs, I’m calling the guy who just killed 92 people in cold blood a nutjob.  I’m putting HIM in the category of “nutjob” not people with mental illnesses.  As many people have pointed out, it’s not entirely clear that the terrorist in this case DOES suffer from any sort of delusions, let alone that he suffers from a disease like Schizophrenia.  I referred to a mass murderer by a derogatory name, and I’ll do it again.  Once you’ve murdered more than 50 people, I reserve the right to call you any bad name I please, especially nutjob, because at that point you’re a mass-murdering nutjob.  Heck, once you’ve murdered 10 people I reserve the right to insult you in any way I please.  I never even implied that the man suffers from Schizophrenia, and I haven’t read anything to suggest that he does.  I also never implied that people who suffer from Schizophrenia are any more prone to violence than anyone else, and I fail to see how you got that message from my insult towards a person who has clearly DEMONSTRATED that he is more prone to violence than the general population is, and who, more importantly, would not appear to suffer from Schizophrenia.

            If you can find someone who suffers from Schizophrenia or some other psychiatric disorder who is insulted by my referring to a mass murderer (who possibly DOESN’T suffer from any sort of psychiatric disorder) a ‘nutjob’ then I will gladly apologize to that person for inadvertently insulting them.  That said, I find it difficult to believe that you’re going to find someone outside of internet comment threads who’s going to have a problem with my refering to Anders Behring Breivik as a nutjob.  People with Schizophrenia, or other froms of psychosis are not “crazy”, they’re not “nutjobs” they’re not “whackos”etc…  People who murder dozens of people in cold blood are all of those and worse.  I’d be willing to bet that if you asked, you could probably pretty easily find dozens of people who suffer from Schizophrenia who would be entirely comfortable saying “That Breivik guy is a total nutjob!”  I don’t see why putting a mass murderer in that category should insult other people who aren’t in that category.

      • The reason I would weigh against calling him insane is that he does not appear to possess any delusional thoughts, has no history of mental illness, and exhibits procedural rationality. 

        Now, he may be misinformed, but his misinformation is widely shared in far-right circles. If his fear of a Muslim takeover is a sign of insanity, then Mark Steyn is insane too. Mark Steyn is dead wrong, but not crazy. That is a far cry from say, Loughner, whose thoughts were incoherent, and who had a history of mental illness.  

        It isn’t even clear that Breivik lacks empathy as another poster mentioned. In his manifesto, for instance, he expressed fondness for his stepmother (although he thought she was a traitor). He lacks empathy for Muslims, and those he sees as their fellow travelers, sure, but I’m not sure he has zero empathy. And indeed, plenty of perfectly rational people have killed innocent people, albeit for causes they believed to be just (eg. think of Truman and the bomb). 

        Where Breivik differs from regular people is in his preferences, not his mental faculties. That makes him a much scarier kind of monster – more like a Hitler or an Osama bin Laden. People won’t follow a lunatic, but they may sign onto a crusade. 

        Breivik is a monster with horrendous desires. However, he is a rational one, that successfully took steps to accomplish his goals. The direct damage of his attack was high, both in terms of its kill count, and in that he may have wiped out a measurable proportion of the future leaders of the Norwegian Labor party. His manifesto is most definitely out there, and may well fuel copycat attacks. He may also have a public trial, which will give him yet another forum to spew his bile (and he may be out in 21 years anyway). 

      • Okay, Lord Kitchener….you went into a whole rant on how you never insulted anyone who truly suffers from a mental illness but your statement that …”if you’re a civilian, in peace time, in a democratic country, I move you from the sane column to the insane column somewhere between your first murder and your 90th……”
        The truth is that psychopaths and sociopaths don’t suffer from insanity, they suffer from personality disorders!    They are not hearing voices, suffering from delusions – they are rational!  Your problem is that you do not even know that you are being insulting toward people who do suffer from symptoms of psychosis.
        People who are “insane” are rarely violent…in fact, no more so than the general population so to suggest that when someone is excessively violent, they must be mentally ill is sooo off the mark as to be laughable. 

        • To my understanding, “insane” has not been used as a medical term in AGES.  And, of course, “nutjob” or “whacko” aren’t either.  I would never call someone suffering from a psychiatric disorder “insane”, and I’m surprised to see you doing so (“people who are ‘insane’ are rarely violent).  I didn’t mean to suggest that this man is “mentally ill” per se, and I’d NEVER use “insane” or “nutjob” or “whacko” to describe a person as such, and neither would anyone in the medical community.

          A guy who murders 92 people though is in a whole other category of monster.  That guy’s an insane, whacko, nutjob.

          • Keep backpedalling!

          • How am I back-peddling??? 

            Maybe I’m not reading my own posts closely enough, but I believe what I’ve been doing is referred to as “digging in my heels”, lol.

  15. Cosh has a such a way with words. It all makes sense now…

  16. Houellebecq anticipated an island attack in his novel _Plateforme_

    • WEIRD.

      Wasn’t the point of the attack supposedly to put pressure on the government of Norway to slow or halt Muslim immigration to Norway?  I mean, wouldn’t Israel want Muslim immigration to Norway to INCREASE???  Not that I believe that Israelis think this way, but wouldn’t the callous “all Muslims are a threat” Israeli line that the President of the CAF seems to believe exists be logically followed by “it’s harder to hit Tel Aviv from Norway than from Gaza, or Iran, or Syria, so let’s do whatever we can to encourage Norway to take in MORE Muslims”?

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