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Column: Twisted Logic Leads To Tragedy

Heights Columnist

Published: Thursday, April 26, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 19:01

Last summer, the Norwegian people were forced to witness the worst peacetime atrocity in their country’s history. On July 22, 33-year-old Anders Breivik murdered 77 people and injured several others via the bombing of a government office and the now-infamous shooting on Utoya Island. Nearly nine months after the attacks, Breivik is currently on trial, an event that has been simultaneously fascinating and horrifying to follow.

The proceedings will last some 10 weeks, but trial is still in its infancy. For the past week, Breivik has been delivering his defense, in which he has admitted to carrying out the acts, although he denies any criminal responsibility for them. Quite the contrary, he called on the Oslo court to award him a medal for the attacks, which he has said were necessary and were meant to “protect Norway from Muslim immigration.”

Breivik repudiated a psychiatric evaluation that found him criminally insane, saying that it was based on “evil fabrications.” He further remarked that, “To a political activist, the worst thing that can happen is to end up in a mental hospital. That would delegitimize everything you stand for.” A subsequent psychiatric report found him fit to stand trial.

Whether or not he is criminally insane is not a matter for me to decide, but it is abundantly clear that Breivik is a sociopath, the worst kind at that. I’ve watched some of the videos of the court proceedings, and they are profoundly disturbing. Breivik is seen giving a Nazi-esque salute following the removal of his handcuffs. He rises from his seat and politely shakes hands with the judges and smiles, as though he were sitting for a job interview. As his eyes scan the room, he smugly grins out of some perverse sense of satisfaction.

Indeed, satisfied is perhaps the most apt description of how Breivik feels, as he has told the court numerous times that he regrets nothing. He admits to having planned a far more grandiose scheme, though he was unable to execute it due to Norwegian and EU regulations on purchasing chemical fertilizer, thus preventing him from building more bombs. Breivik was also hoping to find Norway’s former Labour prime minister on Utoya, so that he might capture and decapitate her using a bayonet on his rifle, recording everything with his iPhone in order to upload the video to the Internet.

He happily and remorselessly relayed all of this to the court, which has barred the media from videotaping the proceedings, lest Breivik be given a platform from which he can spew his frighteningly callous rhetoric.

Sadly, there is no shortage of people in both the United States and Europe who will celebrate this mass-murderer as an enlightened revolutionary. They will cite his methods as unnecessarily violent, but will say that in the end, the noble ends justify the questionable means. After all, what are a handful of lives when the fate of the whole of white European culture hangs in the balance?

Breivik knows this, and is in fact counting on it. The last thing he wants is to rot away in prison without having served as an inspiration for others. Here’s to hoping that that is, in fact, the case.

       

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