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Norway Terror – Personal notes

July 25, 2011

After three days following the tragic Norwegian massacre that occurred over the weekend, I find the event has really caught many peoples attention. I think in part it’s due to the unusual profile of the killer and the large sum of people who perished. As the world news had been dominated with acts of Islamic terrorists blowing themselves up or attempting to, people had a difficult time believing that another type of ideology would be responsible for the acts. I won’t really discuss exactly what Anders Breiviks beliefs where, as I have been reading fragmented and at times contradictory (whether he was a Neo-Nazi) accounts and think its better to wait until a more detailed picture emerges. However so far, I am leaning to his nationalistic obsession in preserving European roots and the hatred of “cultural-Marxism” as the driving force for the murders. More similarities with Timothy McVeigh than the 9/11 terrorists.

Some things I thought where interesting to note:


1 – Anders Breivik appears mentality stable: Unlike the Tuscon shooter, Jared Lee Loughner who we read about earlier in the year, was rambling incoherently and was noticed by his peers in school as being potentially deranged and dangerous. Breivik didn’t give off any of those signals.

2 – The shooter didn’t kill him self after the massacre: There appeared no resistance from Breivik when the authorities finally arrived on the island, after the shooting spree. The usual course of action in terrorist attacks motivated by religious zeal is for the terrorist to end their own life in a self-sacrificial detonation or fight for resistance through force, as the prospect of a reward for their actions is freshly imprinted on their mind (However I see Breiviks motivation being more nationalistic than religious so that may have been a reason not to kill himself). Other times when massacres of this sort are committed the perpetrators end their life at the end of it, alluding capture and responsibility for their actions. I get a sense that Breivik wants to be the witness of the aftermath following his bloody act. I see his motivation for the atrocity as a way to wakeEurope up from her wrong doing, as opposed to a divine compensation in an afterlife.

3 – Not a ‘last-straw’ or heat-of-the-moment event: The diary of Breivik details the elaborate planning that has gone into the act. For a number of years he was slowly planning and writing down his progress of the massacre. Purchasing a farm to divert suspicion from obtaining the tons of fertilizer that was used to make explosives as one example shows. Or the following entry describing becoming a member of a gun-club, “The fact that I joined the club as early as 2005 was a planned move to increase my chances for obtaining a Glock, legally.”

It’s an uncomfortable thought to think that people who appear normal in society at large may secretly be harboring such hatred for a group of people (e.g left-leaning political activists) and further more that they wish to act on their hatred in such a way as to inflict maximum casualty.

Empathy is a strong emotion that allows people to see the perspective of the other person and relate to them, its one of the key differences separating sociopaths and normal people.

One of the things I am interested to find out from this story is how much did his ideology play a part in erasing the empathy for his victims and whether there was some biological component that was also involved.

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