Today is the first anniversary of the massacre at Utøya Island. I’m told there was a huge demonstration in Oslo in observance of the people who died at the hands of their native mass killer, Anders Behring Breivik.
In an inadvertent piece of irony, Gates of Vienna was ‘present’ from almost the opening moment of the massacre, when that truck bomb was detonated by Breivik in Oslo. No one could have guessed he was even then hastening on to Utøya for his real revenge against a group he’d wanted at one time to join. But his step-father made it plain he’d never be good enough.
As Breivik detonated that truck, the Baron and some of the Europeans were discussing current events online. Fjordman mentioned that he’d just heard what he thought was a clap of thunder…or a bomb. He turned on his television to find the beginning of the awful images that would be churned out by the MSM over the coming months.
Of course, everyone — including The New York Times — initially laid the blame at the door of Islamic terrorists. In fact, some terrorist groups rushed to take credit for the death and destruction — was that not their signature statement? Do they not repeatedly claim they love death more than life?
As the truth emerged — with the help of the Norwegian MSM in a helicopter whirling overhead, taking pictures of Breivik strolling along the shoreline finishing off his victims — the struggle to come to terms with the sickening horror was long and difficult.
That incident itself was particularly chilling: the media’s eagerness to take pictures and simply watch children being killed without interfering with Breivik at all was one of the most horrific aspects of that long and awful day.
But that was just the beginning of our education about the Norwegian MSM. Later we would learn that Norway’s media and academia and political elites are entwined in ways that are foreign to Americans. (At times when such behavior has been revealed here, it is jeered at as “fawning” when it comes to, say, the White House Press Corps and their treatment of Obama.)
At any rate, we saw throughout the past year the myriad connections between and among the cultural gatekeepers in Norway. This overt symbiosis was striking to an outsider. It became obvious that the cooperation of the media and academic experts hauled out to parrot the party line served to underscore whatever current version of reality the political elites were espousing. Could this symbiosis be the result of the fact that government financially “supported” media outlets and academic institutions? As we would say here, a “cozy” arrangement indeed. And, as Caroline Glick pointed out, one of the hallmarks of a totalitarian democracy.
Norway is famous for its political and cultural consensus, but I’ve heard from enough Norwegians in the last year to know the sad truth: you’re safe, your job is safe, your medical benefits are safe, as long as you don’t step out of line. Stick with the consensus and the consensus will support you. Step out of line and you’d better have a refuge far from Norway.
Breivik’s trial served as a demonic convergence for all those forces. The circus atmosphere, noticed by the outside world, suited Norwegians just fine. Some bizarre justice was served by the rituals they served up. Here’s a description from a recent Wall Street Journal essay [this link is behind the subscription firewall]. The writer doesn’t seem to notice anything strange about what he observes and describes. To him, it is “moving”, to me it is surreal and creepy:
“A forensic investigator, Superintendent Gøran Dyvesveen, would describe the location on the island where each victim was shot and where the body was found. A forensic pathologist would then detail the injuries suffered by the victim, using a mannequin to demonstrate the trajectory and impact of each bullet. Finally a lawyer for the victim’s family would make a short statement about his or her life accompanied by a photo of the victim.
“Sharidyn Meegan Ngahiwi Svebakk-Boehn was shot near the lover’s path on the island,” Superintendent Dyvesveen summarized in one case. Then his pathologist colleague used a pointer to mark entrance and exit wounds on the gray mannequin representing her body. “The victim suffered two shots,” the pathologist said. “Both entered the left shoulder, then went through the left lung, and penetrated the aorta. One bullet was lodged in the chest, the other passed through the liver.” Then this: “Sharidyn died from these shots, which caused immediate unconsciousness and rapid death.” This victim was 14. She had dreamt of becoming a fashion designer, the court heard from her parents’ statement.
They added, “We are so proud that she chose us to be her parents.”
The emotional presentations did not disrupt the court’s decorum. Yet everyone — including the chief judge, the police investigators and pathologists, even the bailiffs and jaded European reporters sharing the room with me — was affected. Everyone, that is, except the killer himself. A vile smirk would occasionally cross Breivik’s lips when the courtroom camera cut to his profile.
Can you say “manipulative”? In fact, that adjective could be applied to most of the coverage of this drama, which repeated that scene for each and every one of the victims. Perhaps this surreal, repetitive theatrical piece gave the survivors some sense of satisfaction as they participated, but anyone familiar with the normal boundaries of jurisprudence would recoil from the acting-out they witnessed. It simply lacked sufficient gravitas to function as a murder trial. When one of the judges was caught playing solitaire during the proceedings, his evident boredom spoke volumes about the state’s performance.
I can no longer remember my pre-Breivik thoughts about Norway. I do remember thinking that, like Sweden, they’d drunk far too much of the multicultural Kool-Aid to be taken entirely seriously anymore. What I read in their press struck me as somewhat jejune, but that is to be expected of a very small polity with too much money and not enough real-world experience. I knew that ethnic Norwegian girls were being raped — there was an infamous incident several days before Breivik, right on the steps of Parliament… and the security guards watched; they said it wasn’t their job to interfere. For that poor woman, their callous disregard must have been as damaging as the rape itself.
My impressions of Norway post-Breivik aren’t friendly. We’ve received too much intensely descriptive hate mail and witnessed far too many incidents of primitive regression as the media set about scapegoating Fjordman. They seemed determined to create a distraction from the responsibility of the whole culture as everyone fled from recognizing what should have been inescapable: Breivik is theirs.
Breivik emerged from the dark, demonic side of nice, nice Norway, and he terrifies them for that very reason. Not given to much in the way of introspection, they have no clue as to how to prevent another mass murderer from popping up out of the woodwork. The political elites’ refusal to permit a public discussion of Norway’s cultural pressures prevents the larger world from granting them full respect. It also guarantees another murderous breakout by some seriously disturbed soul.
I think it was Bruce Bawer who pointed to the strange extremities of Norway’s anti-Semitism: given the fact that there are so few Jews in the country, it is unlikely that many Norwegians have ever actually encountered a real live Jew. Norway’s government officially supports and condones Hamas (a terrorist organization that most of the rest of the civilized world finds abhorrent) and Hamas, in turn, hates Jews to the point of deeply desiring their obliteration. Thus, many otherwise ‘normal’ Norwegians hate Jews, too, without seriously questioning why. Government says Israel is bad, and government butters the bread. In fact, government doles out the flour for the bread. And that is especially true for the state-owned media and academe.
Norway hardly has the only violent male who commits mass murder in cold blood. America has plenty of them. Here, the kabuki theatrics by the media are different: first, the mad dash to find his connections to conservatism — the Big, Bad RightWingExtremists. No particular conservative has to be demonized, though. There is no special Fjordman slot in America. The closest we come to demonization is finding some connection to that infamously violent hate group, the Tea Party.
It is beside the point that the Tea Party is responsible for zero murders, no mayhem, and doesn’t advocate violence in behalf of its quest for smaller government and fewer taxes. Whatever. “Everyone knows” they’re evil.
Thus, when our latest violent mass killer turned out to have the same name — a very common name — as a member of the Tea Party, some members of the MSM were all over it. Gotcha! Only the fellow turned out to be about thirty years older than the perp. As a matter of inconvenient fact, the Colorado killer had registered as a Democrat at one point. So there goes that narrative.
There will be millions of words expended on this “Joker” wannabe who planned and carried out his murderous spree at the theater the other night. He’s going to turn out to have an unremarkable past — in fact, he’s already been identified as having a normal high school experience, complete with high academics and success at athletics. His advisors in college noted his high IQ and the fact that he captured honors in science before going on to graduate school. A quiet fellow. Didn’t bother anyone, but no one seemed to know him.
Question: does anyone know if James Holmes spent an inordinate amount of time on computer games connected to the film, the one showing in that theatre where he prepared carefully and showed up to kill people randomly?
This is a question I’ve asked forensic psychiatrists about Breivik’s break-out. My query was specific: if an adult man spends a full year doing nothing but playing World of Warcraft while using steroids, could it push him over the edge? One didn’t think so; two were sure it could well have done, but suggested looking at the components of his characterological makeup that would have contributed to his seeing this as something worth doing.
In other words, it’s hard to find the chicken/egg sequence here. What is certain is that a purported adult male’s devotion to that kind of fantasy should be troubling to those around him. If they even know of it.
This particular American mass killer in a Joker costume: how different is he from the Norwegian murderer in his strange Knights Templar get-up? As someone pointed out, Breivik (in his Manifesto) saw himself as Judge Dredd — a comic book character of some renown who was judge, jury and executioner. Let’s see if Dredd shows up in the Colorado killer’s mythological set pieces.
Right now, the Joker sits in jail spitting at the guards. He is in isolation because the other prisoners would kill him and have said so. On the other hand, when he surrendered to the police, he told them his apartment was rigged with explosives, ready to kill anyone who tried to enter. In other words, he appears to mood-alter, given that he changed his mind about letting the police (or perhaps his parents?) walk into a booby-trapped hell.
There are many differences between these two mass murderers. As far as we know, James Holmes was not forced to make accommodations with immigrant bullies in order to survive his high school social experience. Breivik maneuvered his way through that obstacle course, claiming he joined them in some of their criminal behavior as a way to get by. But even if that’s true, he paid for it in terms of his personality integration.
Breivik seemingly fragmented into several personae just to skate by. Holmes was from an intact middle class family; an outstanding scholar with a bright future. Breivik’s family fractured early and his treatment at the hands of his step-father(s) may have contributed to his fragmentation and apparent envy of the group on Utøya whom he could never have hoped to join in his youth.
In sum, there is little comparison as far as we know. But if we find Holmes was immersed in fantasy games, we may have a common thread. We have the stunting of personality that accompanies such immersion. If James Holmes is as brilliant as his professors say, he could have kept up that demanding academic schedule and still escaped into fantasy land.
One of my last jobs before fibromyalgia made working impossible was doing “outreach” with young and middle-aged men who’d experienced a painful psychotic break in their mid-twenties, a break so profound they couldn’t put the pieces back together. All of them were of above-average intelligence. One was in medical school and never accepted his fall from that status to “mental patient”. He simply quit trying. Another was well on the way to a career in business; the break folded him like a piece of paper.
There were lots of others, equally sad. There were also some who made the long journey back from Hell. The saving grace for them was their families who pulled and pulled them out of the mire, never giving up. One of the saddest was a young man with a loving family whose psychotic breaks made him violent. If his father wasn’t home, the family was in danger. At the doctor’s behest, when he suddenly began to mood-alter, the mother locked him out on the porch until his father could get home. But the boy hanged himself before dad arrived.
And it’s not just boys or men. Girls can experience the sudden break, too, though it’s rarer. But their road back is no easier.
Below is a video someone sent me some months ago. I was “saving” it as a kind of memorial to Breivik’s childhood on this anniversary. When I first watched the story, it was he I thought of, wondering if he might have managed better in his situation had a concerned parent helped him. Did all those people die because no one ever properly parented Breivik? On the surface it would appear so, but who knows?
The more I watched it, the more callous the mother seemed. It took her two whole years of her son’s young life to realize finally that she couldn’t sacrifice him on her politically correct altar. Still, you can hear the regret in her voice that life didn’t turn out the way she’d been indoctrinated to believe it should:
I asked several Norwegian men — only one still living there — what they thought of this story. Here are some of the reactions:
- He’s going to end up in one of those white power groups when he’s older.
- I experienced something very similar when I was his age. I had to learn to be even more of a bully than the bullies.
- Self-identification as Christian in liberal [atheist] Norwegian society is far, far worse even than waging violent Jihad.
- This is how the next generation of anti-Muslims is made. Look for more angry Norwegian boys…
- Yeah, they’re angry, but they’re not merciless like the immigrants. It would never be a fair fight.
- As much a “steel mother” as this is, she’s no match at all for Islamist mothers. They will, literally, step on their executed son’s face for any perceived contact with the enemy.
Harsh conclusions, perhaps, but these are mostly from men who left Norway to build a life elsewhere. They all see this mother as typical and one of the reasons “Norwegian women are a turn-off”.
As far as I know, the video is about five years old. In other words, pre-Breivik. I hope they use it in training materials for all the child psychiatrists they will be bringing on board to spot the future Breiviks before they can erupt. I feel so sorry for rambunctious, active little boys in Norway. Far too many of them will end up with the nice, nice doctor who’s going to help them fit in.
For a more current view on the dreaded “populism” in Norway, see this from Spiegel Online. And then there is this oh-so-predictable piece from The Christian Science Monitor. You will be reassured by the latter to know that in Norway, “in the future, new terror laws…would make it illegal for one person to plan an attack”. It didn’t say anything about terrorist groups, though, so I guess Hamas is still clean.