Monday, July 25, 2011

Updated: Anders Breivik and the Atrocity in Norway

I have returned from the mountaintop (no phone, no internet, no news, no contact beyond my campfire and trail) to find the world turned upside down in respect to the attacks in Norway, the horror of which was just unfolding as I was fading into the wilderness.

The early speculation of the source of these attacks was spread by the reportage of the press, partially fueled by the celebratory claims of some Jihadi groups.  (I often prefer the more accurate yet less wieldy term ‘Islamic Supremacists’, but ‘Jihadi’ will do.)  My first thoughts upon hearing the news in Norway was of the ghastly assault in Mumbai in 2008 that murdered 165 (tauntingly mimicked two weeks ago by three bomb blasts which have now killed 24 more).  The written speculation, of course, included my own.  Was my conclusion invalid?  No, it was based on Mumbai, and Bali, and Madrid, and London, and Fort Hood, &c, &c, in addition to the threats that preceded it and the claims that sought responsibility for it.

Nevertheless, the perpetrator of this heinous crime is in fact a native Norwegian (at the moment, the consensus is that he acted alone – doubtful in my mind due to the logistics if nothing else, but possible though very difficult).  Anders Breivik was caught at the scene of the slaughter on Utoya island and confessed, stating there and through his 1500-page ‘manifesto’ that his purpose was to start a revolution in Europe against Islamisation and those who allow it, hence the attack on the Norwegian government offices in Oslo and the Labour Party youth camp on Utoya.  I was stunned to hear that the death toll has risen to 94 (though a report a few minutes ago said the toll has dropped to 76, so far).

There are already stories about him that describe him as a right-wing, Christian fundamentalist, and lest that be insufficient, the AP descibes him as both blond-haired and blue-eyed.  It’s intriguing that these sources are ones that will go to ludicrous lengths to avoid descriptions of young Arab male terrorists as exactly who they are.  Reuters is famous for its policy that “one man’s terrorist is another’s freedom-fighter”, and thus refuses to label any of the Jihadis in these situations as terrorists, though today it posts a story which quotes others uncritically as labeling Breivik as “crazy” and a “terrorist”.  I doubt that we will see any pundits asking us to ponder why Breivik hates us, or asking that we consider how poverty might have driven him to this.

We are starting to see references to Breivik’s influences, drawing a guilt by association, in the usual suspects such as the New York Times, the Huffington Post, and others such as thisCNN equates him with McVeigh and says this is on a par with the thousands of major and lesser (one cannot say 'minor' here) attacks of the Islamic Supremacists.  Breivik has called himself a Christian ('fundamentalist' is used in these stories as in others with its political definition, not its religious one), though his definition defies logic and simple Christian theology, and he is no more a Christian in his bombs and shooting innocent children than was John Brown in his hacking his opponents to death with broadswords.  Besides the over-arching atrocity of his rampage, others who attack our way of life from within will use this to score cheap political points.

Anyone, from whatever background, who commits such an act as Breivik must be condemned by civilised people, and I do not mean only verbally.  Yes, of course, I expect that Norwegian jurisprudence, like ours, holds that one is innocent until proven guilty, but that is in a court of law (though he was caught literally red-handed, and confessed on the spot).  That same Norwegian law, though, like most in Europe now, holds itself to be enlightened and foreswears capital punishment. In fact, it is possible that he may only serve a 21-year sentence -- the maximum.  Outside of being a juror at his trial, though, I am entitled to my opinion (fortified by a backround in the law and corrections), and Breivik should be literally condemned and suffer the ultimate consequence of his actions.  Otherwise, we hold the lives of his victims too cheaply, and express a lethal naïveté about the safety of our own people

Is it too much to wish besides, that all terrorists who commit atrocities such as these receive equal treatment by the Anointed?

Update:  Mark Steyn always explains it well.

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