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July 22, 2011

Explosion in Oslo
Posted by Jim Macdonald at 11:00 AM *

Reuters is reporting a massive explosion in downtown Oslo in the government center area at 15:26 local time (just before 9:30 AM US Eastern Daylight time).

The situation is evolving. The Atlantic Wire is providing updates.

The cause is unknown at this time. The casualty numbers are unknown at this time.

Our thoughts and best wishes are with those on the ground, both those at the site of the original event, and the first-responders, EMTs, fire personnel, hospital staff, and others who will be facing a very long and challenging day.

(Thanks to Steve C. who mentioned this.)

[UPDATE 11:26] ABC News is reporting two explosions, at least one of which was caused by a vehicle bomb. They are reporting two dead and “several” injured. Center city is being evacuated and the central train station has been shut down.

Now strikes me as a good time to link back to Miss Teresa’s Tips For an Apocalypse.

Comments on Explosion in Oslo:
#1 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2011, 11:15 AM:

Here's a live feed from Norwegian TV. No English translation. The first-responders are moving fast, and doing very well.

They're calling it a "bombeeksplosion i regjeringskvartalet."

#2 ::: Roy G. Ovrebo ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2011, 11:27 AM:

That feed direct from NRK

And that's "Bomb explosion in government square".

Currently, they're saying several dead and injured, and police are looking for two more bombs. Looks like there's a lot of confusion, so there's nothing definite yet.

(Myself, I'm on the other side of the country and at work so I can't be stuck to the news.)

#3 ::: Roy G. Ovrebo ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2011, 11:33 AM:

And correction: Police are not looking for more bombs, according to NRK. Aftenposten still says they are though.

#4 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2011, 12:33 PM:

Some guy on Twitter came up with a good new suggestion for emergency situations:

MaajidNawaz
Dear #Oslo residents-people still trapped in buildings-phone's will jam,unlock your WiFi signals,let trapped people communicate via wireless

#6 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2011, 12:48 PM:

There was also a shooting at a youth camp for the ruling Labor party, where the PM was scheduled to go today.

Dear Lord.

I'm wondering the same thing everyone else is, of course. Who? Why?

(And how quickly will people leap to conclusions in the absence of evidence?)

#7 ::: Larry ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2011, 01:11 PM:

abi@6: Yeah one has to wonder why. I don't know of much regarding high profile issues Norway that one would think has that kind of response.

Horrible.

#8 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2011, 01:13 PM:

I suspect that whoever did this will eventually learn that even rabbits have claws and teeth.

#9 ::: sisuile ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2011, 01:25 PM:

BBC says they arrested the shooter at the youth rally - 5 injured.

Prayers for all effected in this.

#10 ::: KristianB ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2011, 01:26 PM:

I'm sitting here in my student flat on the north side of Oslo, not quite sure of anything except that I'm sad. I'm unhurt; all my relatives and friends are also unhurt, including one who works in the government office that was attacked.

I was nowhere near the explosion, and didn't hear anything, but everyone who was downtown tells me they felt the blast shake the buildings they were in. I first heard about it via my cousin's facebook status update.

I have the tv on in the background. They are now saying someone dressed as a policeman opened fire with a handgun at this youth camp summit gathering. The only thing they can say is that they don't know what's going on yet. No-one as yet has claimed responsibility for anything.

The police are evacuating buildings in the center of town, possibly due to suspicious packages, or possibly not. The early story was that the police blocked off the buildings, and then kept expanding the blockade outwards.

Turns out events are changing faster than I can muster my mind to write this post. I just heard that the gunman at the youth camp may have been captured.

They're calling it the worst thing to hit Norway since World War 2, and it's probably true. Norway has indeed been very peaceful, and while even the rest of oh so civilized Europe has seen terrible things happening in recent years, Norway seemed to me to have managed to stay out of it, and remain peaceful. I don't know how long I thought that would last, especially after the bombing in Stockholm last year.
Right now I just fear to see how this country will react to an attack unlike anything it has seen in the past lifetime. It could get very ugly.

#11 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2011, 02:07 PM:

Good gods. This is not only shocking and appalling, as all bombings and other attacks on innocent people are, but confusing as well. What could Norway possibly have done to "deserve" this even in the most twisted terrorist mindset?

I guess Oslo is where the Nobel Peace Prize is awarded, so if you're an implacable enemy of peace you might attack Oslo. Plenty of those around. Still seems a stretch.

My heart and thoughts go out to all the victims and responders and their family and friends.

#12 ::: Anderson ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2011, 02:07 PM:

Good luck, Kristian. The Swedes didn't go nuts after the Dec. 2010 attacks; I hope Norway bears up as well.

(Had written "berserk" not "nuts" until I realized that this is a rare example of the former term's resembling an ethnic slur.)

#13 ::: Roy G. Ovrebo ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2011, 02:17 PM:

What could Norway possibly have done to "deserve" this even in the most twisted terrorist mindset?

Have troops in Afghanistan. Have newspapers that published the infamous Muhammed caricatures. We've been threatened with terrorist attacks for years now.

They've arrested the shooter at the Labour Party Youth camp. He was dressed as a policeman, and is allegedly a man of 'Nordic look' with blond hair.

#14 ::: Anderson ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2011, 02:28 PM:

Self-professed jihadist group takes credit.

#15 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2011, 03:13 PM:

I'm wondering whether to email a college friend whose wife and kids are on an extended visit w/ family near Oslo.

#16 ::: Hippolyta ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2011, 04:02 PM:

And self-professed jihadist group retracts claim here

#17 ::: Anderson ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2011, 04:19 PM:

"Abu Sulayman has now issued a retraction, stating clearly that 'Helpers' was not involved in the operation and that his statement was not an official statement."

How do you accidentally claim credit for a terror attack? "Oh man, I *thought* those were our guys, but it's someone else. Oops!"

... Meanwhile, reports of 20+ dead teens at the youth-camp shooting. What a horror.

#18 ::: Nangleator ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2011, 04:25 PM:

A forum friend from Oslo says the island with the camp is quite small, and the only way to escape would be swimming. A properly prepared gunman could have been horrifically successful.

#19 ::: Hippolyta ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2011, 04:44 PM:

@runehak on Twitter, local news guy, says that local news are saying they don't think its international terrorism at all

#20 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2011, 04:54 PM:

Sympathies to all directly affected by these events.

#21 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2011, 04:59 PM:

Hippolya @19: bbc sez, "The justice minister has just confirmed the suspect arrested today at the youth camp in Utoeya was Norwegian."

#22 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2011, 05:08 PM:

Bad thoughts: I want to vawrpg gung thazna jvgu Qenab.

I'm against the death penalty, I am, I am! Shit.

#23 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2011, 05:22 PM:

Xopher: How about a modern oubliette? Send down food & water, of course. But nothing else.

In re: "why?" I saw elsewhere the comment "The problem with senseless violence is that it's senseless." I think, sometimes, there's no real reason that rational people can accept because the perpetrators aren't working under anything we would think of as logic.

#24 ::: kouredios ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2011, 05:32 PM:

My 6-year-old has been at summer daycamps for the past 4 weeks. When I heard about the kids being shot in the water trying to escape, I just burst into tears. How horrific.

#25 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2011, 05:37 PM:

B. 23: How about a modern oubliette? Send down food & water, of course. But nothing else.

Too much suffering for my conscience, and not enough for my feelings.

#26 ::: Brooks ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2011, 05:52 PM:

Anderson @17: Well, it sounds like it's not so much that they're saying they "accidentally claimed credit" as "someone who had no authority to speak for us falsely claimed credit."

It is certainly possible to think, "Oh man, I thought it was a good idea to claim those were our guys, but it turns out that's not so wise after all," regardless of actual involvement. Or, "You incompetent minion, what are you doing claiming credit for this; you're going to get us all arrested."

(Your link @14 also has been updated, and notes that this sort of claim/counterclaim thing is fairly common.)

A horror, indeed, regardless.

#27 ::: Bjorn ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2011, 05:54 PM:

Xopher@25: You encapsulate my thoughts. My feelings want gur orfg gbegheref bs gur ntrf gb unir n tb ng uvz sbe gur arkg 20 lrnef be fb, juvyr xrrcvat uvz nyvir. My conscience cannot allow this.
I suspect he will have to be kept apart from the general prison population, assuming they have the right man.

#28 ::: Brooks ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2011, 05:55 PM:

Xopher @22: And this is an excellent example of the value of the rule of law. You can have all the feelings that you want (or, more accurately, that will come unbidden) of wanting to do rot13'ed things to the perpetrators, but nobody gets killed as a result of you having those feelings.

#29 ::: between4walls ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2011, 05:55 PM:

The prime minister of Norway has just made a speech responding to the attacks, there's a version with English translation here at the BBC.
It's very good. He (PM Stoltenberg) also said in other remarks that (paraphrased) Norway must not give in to fear, because the point of this sort of attack is precisely to cause fear.
Police are now saying it may not be an international attack but the work of an isolated person or group, but still no information on motives.
I can't imagine what the parents of the kids on the island are going through now, or the kids waiting to hear if their friends are alive.

#30 ::: Per Chr. J. ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2011, 05:59 PM:

I was a few blocks away from the bombing. At first it seemed like one of those controlled demolition efforts, only louder, so I wondered if it was something of that sort that had gone wrong. Then I saw that several shops had had their windows smashed, and wondered if it was a robbery. Then I saw that there were a lot of smashed windows, and realised that something had gone very wrong. Oslo was also curiously silent, but that might have been some passing deafness, I do not know.

As to news updates, the online media here in Norway reports that the sole captured suspect so far is not know to be affiliated with known groups.

As to the fears of Kristian, so far it seems that the best sides of Norwegian and Oslo spirit has come to the fore.

#31 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2011, 06:00 PM:

Brooks 28: Exactly! I believe that I absolutely must not be put in charge of people who murder teenagers (or children, of course, but I seem to have a special "thing" about people who kill teenagers), because I can't be trusted to treat them as a just society would.

I'm very, very glad to live outside a vigilante-"justice" system.

#32 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2011, 06:24 PM:

Friends of my retweeted that Ullevål Hospital is looking for blood donors, preferably Type O.

#33 ::: Rob ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2011, 06:29 PM:

Indications are that this is more analogous to Oklahoma City (disgruntled local) than 9/11.

That said, the victims are just as dead, and it's a terrible day for everyone in Oslo (and, by extension, the rest of us as well).

I did note, with interest, Prime Minister Stoltenberg's statement that the answer to violence is *more* democracy. It's a statement some American politicians might need to hear...

#34 ::: GHN ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2011, 08:09 PM:

When a bomb goes off, it seems to be a reflex among many to look around and fix accusing eyes on Muslims and Islamic groups, but according to the latest news there are indications that they are not behind this, since a very blond, ethnic Norwegian right-wing nut has been arrested at Utøya.
I hope sanity will come out on top here, once the shock has passed, and that we will be able to take Stoltenberg's statement to heart.

#35 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2011, 08:26 PM:

Yes, Rob @33, when I heard about it I immediately thought about OKC. I didn't move here till afterwards, but it's the same sense of we're in the middle of nowhere, not bothering anyone, no one's enemy -- why us? And that there might just be the reason. If you're going to do senseless violence on that scale, make it so random that no one will ever feel secure anywhere.

#36 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2011, 08:45 PM:

34
It doesn't help much when your local paper has a comment from someone using a name that looks Muslim in origin, saying that government buildings are a legitimate target in a war.

#37 ::: Robert Glaub ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2011, 09:00 PM:

It looks to be the work of a local racist who's been in trouble with the police before for attacking anti-racist activists.

#38 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2011, 09:00 PM:

P J Evans, is it cynical of me to doubt that that "Middle Easterner" was anything of the sort?

KristianB, I'm so very sorry. I'm sorry for everyone, but the closer you are, the worse it is.

#39 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2011, 09:12 PM:

P J Evans #36: After the OKC bombings, I recall American far rightists saying that the Murragh federal building was a legitimate target because it was an agency of ZOG. The fact that there was a crèche in the building was irrelevant, the people who placed their children their were responsible since they should have known that the building was a potential target for attack. People who say things like that scare me.

#40 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2011, 09:46 PM:

38
Not at all. That's why I wrote the comment that way. (There are a lot of people commenting on various newspaper stories who are, shall we say, a bit biased on many subjects, and very much willing to inform the rest of the world about it.)

#41 ::: Anderson ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2011, 11:43 PM:

80+ dead at the camp. Words fail me.

#42 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 12:11 AM:

My friend's wife and kids were at a museum in Oslo; They thought the horrific traffic jam was due to the opera letting out, and didn't learn about the bombing until they got home.

* * *

I guarantee that conservatives in the U.S. will react to right wing nut violence by smugly pointing out that the kids at that camp could have fought back if they had guns. (And probably go on to blame high taxes, deficit spending, and socialism.)

#43 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 12:15 AM:

42
Stefan, I've seen that gun comment already this evening. (I hear that the guy arrested was a self-described Christian conservative who apparently liked to post anti-Muslim rants at various sites. That's going to make some heads explode, if it's true.)

#44 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 01:12 AM:

I've seen that gun comment already this evening.

I hope whoever made that comment blows his or her own foot off with a gun.

#45 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 01:37 AM:

"That's going to make some heads explode, if it's true."

No. No, that won't happen. You underestimate the limitless capacity for self-delusion. They'll claim it was an inside job by the government, or that the guy was secretly a Muslim, or that he was set up, or that the buildings that blew up had a history of gas leaks. Anything to avoid damaging their narrative.

#46 ::: Brooks ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 01:50 AM:

Stefan Jones @45: Who needs self-delusion, when the truth will pretty much suffice? This is not anywhere close to normal behavior for "conservative Christians who post anti-Muslim rants," and anyone in that class is so well aware of that fact that they would rightfully not recognize him as a representative "one of their own". Yes, he might be conservative, and Christian, and not like Muslims, but he was different.

What ought to happen is a recognition that the same "these people who commit terrorism are not anywhere close to normal for their culture" applies to brown-skinned extremists just as much as it does to blond-haired ones.

#47 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 05:53 AM:

Stefan Jones @45:
Anything to avoid damaging their narrative.

Absolutely. That's why, for instance, the New York Times' coverage of the incident includes gems like this:

Terrorism specialists said that even if the authorities ultimately ruled out Islamic terrorism as the cause of Friday’s assaults, other kinds of groups or individuals were mimicking Al Qaeda’s brutality and multiple attacks.

“If it does turn out to be someone with more political motivations, it shows these groups are learning from what they see from Al Qaeda,” said Brian Fishman, a counterterrorism researcher at the New America Foundation in Washington. “One lesson I take away from this is that attacks, especially in the West, are going to move to automatic weapons.”

Got that? Islamic terrorists didn't do it, but they're still to blame. Never mind McVeigh, never mind the Troubles. We didn't get it wrong with our rampant and irresponsible speculation in advance of the evidence; it still is the brown people's fault.

Sheesh.

#48 ::: Sica ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 06:29 AM:

Have also seen a comment now where a right wing blogger is saying that the shooter had to have been a raging leftist who did this to discredit the right.

yeah...

I'm mostly in speechless mode myself, this is truly horrific. Especially hearing reports from survivors from the island. It's like out of a horror movie.

#49 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 08:26 AM:

Stefan Jones #42: The fact that the victims were socialists, will, of course not detain such people.

#50 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 08:32 AM:

Got up this morning, logged on, saw the death toll listed as 91 and thought, "No, that's got to be a typo for '19'!"

Alas, no.

What a horror.

#51 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 09:37 AM:

It occurs to me that this could be like 9/11 in one way.

After 9/11, airline passengers stopped being quiescent in the face of attempted terrorism.

This isn't quite the same. It's not even close to an "everyone dies" situation. There's still going to be the fear and panic. But, the number of people on that island, there's enough that some will be able to fight well. I get the impression from the reports that the perp was hunting victims, only now he'd be hunted too.

It's not going to be good for the older, more athletic, teens on the island, who will be wondering why they didn't fight back.

#52 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 09:40 AM:

Recusing myself from the thread at this point, having been in a crowd of people who were being shot at, and finding Dave's comment so triggery I can't even begin to deal with it.

#53 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 09:49 AM:

51
That's very close to the comment about guns I mentioned earlier.
You might not want to go there.

#54 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 10:01 AM:

Dave Bell @51:

I think there's a huge difference between being on an airplane, with no chance of escape, and being in a crowd under fire.

The calculation for the passengers on a hijacked airplane has indeed changed. It used to be that if they cooperated they would increase their chances of survival, because the hijackers cared about their own lives. The new logic is, "I'm dead already. Given that, what's left to lose by fighting back?"

The calculation for someone in a crowd under fire is another matter, because flight (and concealment) remain an option. Survive long enough, and help will come. So the old rules still apply. Get behind something solid. Get out of sight. Be elsewhere.

I suspect there will be some astonishing and agonizing survivor guilt floating around. Let's not add to it with movie-plot fantasies of what people could have done differently.

#55 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 10:58 AM:

Dave, #51: That's getting perilously close to the same kind of victim-bashing that was done to the students at Virginia Tech in the wake of that incident. Life doesn't work by movie rules.

#56 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 12:11 PM:

The trouble is, the whole thing sounds like a bad movie plot. And that's going to feed into the habit many people have of movie-plot thinking.

Group of teens... Check.

Trapped on an island... Check.

Hunted by a crazed gunman... Check

It's even got the feeling that the bombing at Oslo might have been planned as a distraction.

And I think all that is going to change how people think. It's like a movie plot because movie plots are trying to be memorable stories. And movies will take memorable stories from reality. The world is what we remember.

Trouble is, some of the memorable stories are a load of rubbish. How about bombers making a low-level precision attack, at night, by using powerful lights on the 'plane? Or crash-landing aircraft, loaded with soldiers, on top of a key enemy fortress? Crazy stuff like that. Movie plots. Like the time an explosives magazine was in a church, and blew up. Well, that did happen at Almeida in Portugal, but that was 200 years ago and in another country. Nobody is going to do anything like that now.

Movie plots, yeah.

#57 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 12:20 PM:

56
Armed nutcase wearing a police uniform and with a machine gun. Calling the kids to him.

#58 ::: Anderson ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 12:28 PM:

"It's not going to be good for the older, more athletic, teens on the island, who will be wondering why they didn't fight back."

With WHAT?

You know what's really not good for them? Comments like yours.

#59 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 12:31 PM:

Dave Bell @56:

What's the first rule of holes?

It's true that there are aspects of this that sound like a movie plot. Depending on who they got to make it, could be a blockbuster or straight to video. But it's not, and it's worth remembering that as we discuss the matter.

There are real human beings who woke up to a world without their friends this morning. They're now asking themselves if they could have done anything different to change that. They're asking their friends and their relatives. The parents of those dead kids are wondering, too. I don't know if any of these people, or their family and friends, are reading this thread, but it's not impossible.

And there are more real human beings in the thread who have been in similar situations, and lost friends thereby. One of them is now in a worse state because you started fantasizing about how people could have done things differently.

You want to talk about what aspects of this resemble a movie plot? Sure thing. But it's probably easier to type when you're not waist-deep in that hole.

You're a good bloke. Do a good-bloke thing, willya?

#60 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 01:03 PM:

I was surprised that someone who hates Muslims so much didn't attack them directly. I don't know if there's anything worth considering in that angle, but I thought I'd mention it here to see if anyone else thinks there's anything worthwhile there.

#61 ::: Keith Kisser ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 01:28 PM:

Dave Bell:

You started out with a 9/11 comparison, which is the problem. The 9/11 hijackers used box cutters, which while painful and capable of doing damage, are nowhere near as dangerous to a potential self -defender as a man with an automatic weapon.

These same sort of hero fantasies were unpacked during the VA Tech shooting, which is closer in similarity to the Oslo attack, where we have one shooter and a lot of unarmed, scared children in a panic stricken state. While it's brave and macho and oh so dramatic to choose the fight impulse over the flight impulse, one gets a lot more people killed.

There's nothing sad or disappointing about a teenager running away from a man with a gun. That's an act that, in a sane world, would be applauded. Alas in our crazy old world, it raises suspicion of insufficient manliness among a certain part of the population who is ill-informed, prone to disingenuous arguments and most tellingly, distant from the scene.

#62 ::: Per Chr. J. ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 01:43 PM:

Nancy Lebovitz # 60:

I must start by stating that except for being Norwegian, in Norway and being able to follow the Norwegian media, I am not especially knowledgeable about this, it does seem - at least from some blog comments from that person that have been collected - that he considered parts of Norwegian society to be in regard to what he sees as threats to society a treacherous elite (previously there have been some newspaper stories that have gone on about Utøya Labour Youth Summer Camp being the place where the "spawn" of the present elite coalesce into the future elite, and I do wonder if such newspaper stories have contributed to his madness), and one might conclude that he therefore had a traitors within are worse than external enemies agenda.

#63 ::: Keith Kisser ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 01:47 PM:

Nancy Lebovitz @60:

From statements made by the suspect, he blamed the Norwegian Government for not doing enough about the immigrant "problem" and so took his ire out on the Gov. rather than any local Muslim community.

(caveat: supposition) Probably, this is a result of looking at the immigrant "problem" as an abstraction. A lot of this guy's rants involve nationalism and a desire for authoritarian responses to the problems of the modern world, so his primary source of frustration is the government that isn't doing it's job, in his view.

Unlike an American Gunman (a type for which we have saddeningly, maddeningly too many examples) our Norwegian gunman comes from a right wing tradition whose authoritarianism is classically centralized. He wants something done and knows exactly who he wants to do it.

Our American Authoritarians, meanwhile, have a displaced sense of authority. They mistrust the Government almost as much as they mistrust Muslims, Liberals, etc. and so go about abstractly demanding that something be done by someone, possibly the incarnation of the Second Amendment in the form of John Wayne's ghost. That's why our homegrown gunmen are usually fringers, distant enough from any mainstream political movement to allow for credible deniability.

#64 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 01:51 PM:

Mass shootings have been around for awhile. I don't see much reason to imagine that media coverage will change how they turn out much. We have many, many examples where mass shootings work in about the same way--most of the time, unarmed, untrained, unprepared people who get caught in an ambush by a gunman fail to act together in a way that would maximize their chances of survival as a group. But then, my understanding is that soldiers often don't deal all that well with an ambush, despite being armed and trained and in a situation where that possibility is on their radar. And it seems inevitable that confusion must be a major factor here. Was that gunfire or some kind of prank involving fireworks? Is that guy with the gun in the police uniform a threat, or is he here to save us? Why are all those people running and screaming? Is that guy here to kill some specific person like an ex-wife, or is he just looking to leave a big trail of bodies? Can I outrun him or will he shoot me in the back?

I'm a 44 year old adult with some experience with guns. Sitting in my armchair, I'm not too confident I can get the right answers to those questions. In massive confusion about whether theres a crisis and if so what it is, about who the attacker is and what he wants, with no training or expertise in armed combat, I expect I'd probably to the wrong thing pretty reliably. Just like most other mass-shooting victims do, one wa or another. In such a situation, I hope I'd at least remember stuff like cover vs concealment, running short distances at a time and ending behind cover, etc. Expecting me and a bunch of similarly unprepared strangers to spontaneously work out a coordinated attack to save ourselves seems a bit of a stretch. Perhaps if we were all soldiers or ex-soldiers or off-duty policemen or civilians that trained together in armed self-defense, it would work out. But with a random bunch of people?

#65 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 01:55 PM:

#61 ::: Keith Kisser:

I think another piece of the problem is a steady diet of movies where being the right kind of person means one can take drastic violent action and reliably get good results.

#63

demanding that something be done by someone, possibly the incarnation of the Second Amendment in the form of John Wayne's ghost.

I've been framing that sort of thing as a lack of sense of process, but snark improves it.

#66 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 02:06 PM:

The poisonous thing about this kind of attack for democratic governments is that they're scary and disturbing for the citizens, which triggers demands that something be done, and that heads roll for failing to connect the dots. And yet, most of the time, that's really hard to do. The more the attacks are done by lone crazies or very small groups, the more difficult it is for the police and spies to catch them ahead of time. But those demands to do something often lead to stupid, unproductive policies, police state measures at home, sometimes even wars.

And the tragic fact is, a small number of people who are willing to die to inflict damage can do a hell of a lot of it, and are quite hard to stop. Whether they use guns or bombs or fires or whatever else, most of our defenses against people going out and killing people they don't like, or smashing up stuff, involve deterrence. People who don't care about deterrence are inherently able to bypass those defenses.

#67 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 02:57 PM:

I'm just horrified by the scale of the event.

This is in Norway, a country of 5 million souls.

92 dead in Norway is ... well, multiply by 60 for the equivalent proportion of Americans and you get over 5000 dead. Playing the numbers game with such a horror is distasteful, but it suggests to me that the political impact on Scandinavian and European anti-terror politics in general is going to be non-trivial to say the least.

This is the neo-Nazi 9/11. Breivik had links to the English Defense League and other racist right-wing groups. The folks who police and intel groups all over the west have been treating with kid gloves, compared to the islamicists, due to the explosive and barely-acknowledged fact that there's wide-scale support for anti-immigrant views all over the west, especially anti-muslim views, and semi-respectable politicians playing these prejudices for personal careerist gain.

It's a poisoned chalice. And I have no idea what this bodes for the future, other than: nothing good.

#68 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 03:15 PM:

abi @ 54:

I suspect there will be some astonishing and agonizing survivor guilt floating around.

I can almost guarantee that there will be really severe survivor guilt among those who were there, and probably among any who weren't there that day but had intended to be. And I suggest that any discussion of what those who died might or might not have done to survive this horror is very inappropriate at this time, even in a venue like this where the survivors are unlikely to see it. It's condescending (we weren't there and don't know the detailed situation; talking about it in that way implies our superiority to those who were there) and arrogant (we are not experts on such situations; there are very few who are, certainly not me), and, IMO, it is distasteful and disrespectful.

#69 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 03:27 PM:

Bruce @68: yes, to all that.

We're looking at someone else's 9/11 from the outside.

As 9/11 did, this massacre is going to echo around the world for years. And I feel that it's not disrespectful to the survivors to ask what the impact will be for us.

But I think we should respectfully leave them to their grief and really not speculate about who should have done what at the time. It's not our wound and we're not entitled to lick it.

#70 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 03:39 PM:

I don't see where Dave Bell said they could have mounted any effective resistance. He said they're going to be wondering why they didn't, and he's right.

Now, the fact is, they couldn't have mounted any effective resistance. But after events like that, survivors always torture themselves, trying to figure out what if anything they could have done.

The point about movie plots is more evasive, but I have faith that David will presently pin that one down.

#71 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 03:40 PM:

My vague impression is that survivor guilt happens regardless of whether it's at all reasonable. Anyone have actual information on the subject?

#72 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 03:42 PM:

Adding to the outsiders' view:
I'm seeing comments (possibly inevitable, these days) about how it's all the fault of religion and if we'd just stop believing then everything would be fine.

#73 ::: Roy G. Ovrebo ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 03:45 PM:

I was jolted awake this morning by the radio telling of 84 dead at Utøya. (Now 85, plus the 7 so far found after the bombing.) It's not surprising that a right-winger would commit an act of terrorism, but the scale of it is, well, unreal as well as horrifying. The whole country is in mourning.

Charlie Stross @ 67: the English Defense League and other racist right-wing groups. The folks who police and intel groups all over the west have been treating with kid gloves, compared to the islamicists,

I suspect the cops and intelligence agencies will be changing their focus a wee bit now.

due to the explosive and barely-acknowledged fact that there's wide-scale support for anti-immigrant views all over the west, especially anti-muslim views, and semi-respectable politicians playing these prejudices for personal careerist gain.

A cleaner election campaign has been forecast for the local and county elections in September. The whole country is, at least for now, standing together.

#74 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 04:14 PM:

The more I hear about this, the worse my torture fantasies about this perp get. I'm not going to share any more of them, even in ROT13; they're too upsetting, even to me.

Keith 61: Alas in our crazy old world, it raises suspicion of insufficient manliness among a certain part of the population who is ill-informed, prone to disingenuous arguments and most tellingly, distant from the scene.

I'm not sure what you...oh! You mean SHITHEADS. I get it now.

albatross 64: Perhaps if we were all soldiers or ex-soldiers or off-duty policemen or civilians that trained together in armed self-defense, it would work out. But with a random bunch of people?

Just so. The problem is that the shitheads assume that the people on the ground could and should behave in ways they (the shitheads) think they would...in hindsight, knowing much more than the actual victims did at the time, and with the training neither group has, and presumably with the fiat of scriptwriters behind them as well.

I think 'shithead' isn't quite bad enough to describe these people, but it has the virtue of brevity.

Bruce 68 and Charlie 69: Yes. Bravo. Hear hear.

Nancy 71: My vague impression is that survivor guilt happens regardless of whether it's at all reasonable. Anyone have actual information on the subject?

No actual data, but in my own case I felt that I should have gone into work early September 11, and that I certainly didn't deserve to live as much as some of the people who died (especially Stacey, who...never mind). Later I actually felt I'd missed an opportunity to die in a way that wasn't my fault. Eventually I just felt like death was stalking me, and would get me if I wasn't constantly hypervigilant.

That's pretty much where I am now.

#75 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 04:19 PM:

albatross, #66: The situation is not helped by having popular and influential celebrities playing the "will no one rid me of this meddlesome priest" game. Apparently this guy had been listening to a fair amount of American hate-radio punditry, among other things.

#76 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 04:20 PM:

TNH @70:

I felt that the analogy with 9/11, where people should have, and actually did fight back, drew a closer parallel than just guilt.

Lila, PJ Evans, Lee, Anderson, etc, saw the same things in the comment in question.

I am certain that when Dave returns to the thread, he will clarify the matter with his usual grace and compassion, and then all will be well.

#77 ::: KristianB ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 05:55 PM:

TNH #38: Thanks, and thanks to everyone for their sympathy. I'm still reading this thread, just can't think of anything much to say :p

#78 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 05:55 PM:

I want to follow up on Charlie's point about the connection to the EDL. That needs to be emphasised. This is what happens when people start seeing others as subhuman, traitors and so on as a class.

#79 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 06:28 PM:

KristianB, if you know anyone who needs to hear it (including yourself), please tell them the thoughts and prayers of at least a large subset of the American people are with them today and in the future.

Can I get a "so say we all" on that?

#80 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 06:30 PM:

Xopher @79:

Amen and verily.

#81 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 06:34 PM:

Xopher (79): So say we all.

#82 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 06:36 PM:

So say we all.

#83 ::: Sica ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 06:40 PM:

Harrowing write up by a girl who was on the island. I'm tearing up right now having read it. Beyond words really

http://prableen.origo.no/-/bulletin/show/672218_helvete-paa-utoeya

For those of you who can't make heads of tail of Norwegian here's the google translate version of it
http://translate.google.com/translate?js=n&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&layout=2&eotf=1&sl=auto&tl=en&u=http%3A%2F%2Fprableen.origo.no%2F-%2Fbulletin%2Fshow%2F672218_helvete-paa-utoeya

The translation is a bit wonky and goes wrong like automatic translations do but it still gets most of it across.

Don't read it if you're already too upset. It's just.. no one should have to go through what these young people did.

#84 ::: Laina ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 06:43 PM:

Xopher @79 - So say we all.

#85 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 06:49 PM:

Xopher @79, my voice too.

#86 ::: GlendaP ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 06:50 PM:

Xopher (79): So say we all. Including this lurker.

#87 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 06:51 PM:

Sica @83:

Someone in the comments translated it into English; here is a direct link to the translation.

Very upsetting indeed.

#88 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 06:52 PM:

So say we all.

#89 ::: Sica ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 07:16 PM:

Abi, that's a much better translation, I didn't think to look to see if someone had already done the work to translate it.

They've been signing a memorial book in support of Norway in Iceland today, there were very long queues. Strong feeling of Nordic solidarity. I'm in Scotland so couldn't go and add my name to it, would have otherwise.

#90 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 07:17 PM:

Charlie Stross @ 67: "92 dead in Norway is ... well, multiply by 60 for the equivalent proportion of Americans and you get over 5000 dead."

Yeah, it's a larger percentage of the population than 9/11 victims were of the US population. And, since it was a summer camp, it was a) kids and b) kids from all over the country.

#91 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 07:22 PM:

So say we all.

#92 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 07:29 PM:

So say we all.

#93 ::: Kelly McCullough ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 07:30 PM:

So say we all.

#94 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 07:36 PM:

So say we all.

#95 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 07:41 PM:

Xopher @79, so say we all, very much.

Sica @83 and abi @87 -- I have a deep sense that personal accounts of that kind are incredibly important, so that the victims can't be reduced to a number. I know it would be a really, really bad idea for me to read it, so I won't. But Sica, as you say -- no one should have to go through that -- and accounts like that one make people understand what it really was.

#96 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 07:43 PM:

Xopher #79: So say we all.

#97 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 07:47 PM:

So say we all.

#98 ::: Theophylact ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 07:58 PM:

I wish I could say "þæs ofereode, þisses swa mæg" with any conviction. I'm sure it's true but it feels pretty empty.

#100 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 08:03 PM:

So say we all.

#101 ::: Renatus ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 08:05 PM:

So say we all.

#102 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 08:08 PM:

Nancy Lebovitz @ 71:

My vague impression is that survivor guilt happens regardless of whether it's at all reasonable.

I've read several accounts by survivors of both accidents and combat that agree with that. And it matches my own feelings on hearing of the deaths of friends, and my wife's feelings when she (with Stage 0 cancer) underwent radiation therapy with patients at Stage 3 and 4: she felt that she had no right to be considered in the same class as those others, that she wasn't facing the same kind of potential fate.

#103 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 08:09 PM:

So say we all.

#104 ::: Nicole Fitzhugh ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 08:10 PM:

So say we all.

#105 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 08:20 PM:

Bruce 102: and my wife's feelings when she (with Stage 0 cancer) underwent radiation therapy with patients at Stage 3 and 4: she felt that she had no right to be considered in the same class as those others, that she wasn't facing the same kind of potential fate.

I feel that way about my own cancer. But you know what? I've been told by the people at Gilda's Club that EVERYONE feels that way. One of the staff there told me he'd heard that sentiment from someone in the last two weeks of his life.

#106 ::: Sebastian ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 08:22 PM:

So say we all.

#107 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 08:26 PM:

So say we all.

#108 ::: D. Potter ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 08:26 PM:

So say we all.

#109 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 08:42 PM:

As for potential sentencing of this...guy, a European on another site said this:

In Norway the sentencing of a criminal act is split in two, with three different goals
1) Punishment. A maximum 21 years in jail.
2) Preventive deterrent. which probably doesn't come into play here.
3) Protecting the society from the perpetrator. A maximum of 21 years in "detention" initially, but will be renewed ad infinitum every 5 years if deemed necessary.
Anyone know if that's really how it works?

Also, why can't they sentence him to 21 years for each person he killed? Do prison sentences all have to run concurrently?

#110 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 08:45 PM:

Xopher #79: So say we all.

#111 ::: Naomi Parkhurst ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 08:58 PM:

So say we all.

#112 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 09:04 PM:

P J Evans: No, those heads won't explode over this any more than they do any other time a right-wing nutcase attacks someone.

Muslims are monolithic, but crazy christians are individual actors.

I've been doing a lot of writing on this More ways bad intel corrupts

Dave Bell, re 51: No. Very different. Not to beat up on you, but I saw the same thing said after Virginia Tech. To take out an armed person, when on is unarmed requires being able to deal with the weapon. If the weapon is a gun, it takes luck, or co-ordination.

Albatross, at 64 has the right of a lot of it. I've been in ambush training (well done, at night, when; what a shock, we weren't expecting it). It was chaos. Utter chaos.

I was a fire team leader. It took me an age (about one magazine, 30 rounds... and that's how I was measuring time... how many bullets I was putting out) befire I remembered that my job was to direct fire, not shoot. One of my guys dove the "wrong way". When he started shooting, I shot at him.

At a guess... if it had been live ammo, most of us would have died. And we were trained, and armed.

Surprise is a bitch.

And I can't imagine what I'd do if I were in that sort of spot, and not armed.

#113 ::: lisajulie ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 09:08 PM:

So say we all.

#114 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 09:16 PM:

Xopher @ 109: Sounds to me like Norway has its head on straight about punishment, at least a lot straighter than the United States.

#115 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 09:27 PM:

Xopher: Amen

#116 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 09:37 PM:

Sidetracking a bit here, the juxtaposition between this discussion of survivor guilt and the discussion we had about the hidden roots of "you deserved what happened because you didn't do x" on the Google mail archive thread (did we ever come up with a good name for it? not exactly weasel help or hleping or kibbitzing) is quite revealing. I'm picturing a grid: on one axis, you have survivor guilt (roughly, assuming guilt/responsibility for something you have no guilt/responsibility for because it didn't happen to you) on the left and, at the other end, "you deserved it because you aren't as smart as me, though my hidden agenda is displacing guilt onto you for something that has not actually happened to me by denying that it ever could" (rejecting the possibility of responsibility as a sort of charm against having the thing happen to you?). On the other axis you have schadenfreude at the top (delighting in the misfortune of others) and what Charles Williams called Coinherence at the bottom (roughly, freely taking on the suffering of others to free them from it).

And now that I have this cumbersome thing I have no idea what exactly to do with it or what it means. I guess it's a grid of possible reactions when something terrible happens to someone else? I'll just sit and look at it for a while and hope it starts to make sense.

#117 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 09:51 PM:

So say we all.

(Me and my 15-yo dd, who is just back from camp, so my imaginings last night and today have been, well, fairly vivid and detailed.)

#118 ::: Velma ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 10:20 PM:

So say we all.

#119 ::: Laura Runkle ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 10:22 PM:

So say we all.
I've just come back from listening to a concert put on by my younger teen as the culmination of a week of band camp. For all the families who will never welcome their children home from camp...

#120 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 10:35 PM:

Terry Karney #112 And I can't imagine what I'd do if I were in that sort of spot, and not armed.

I can imagine what you'd do. Same thing as me. Seek cover and concealment, call 9-1-1, then assess the situation to determine if it would be better to shelter in place or scram out of there.

#121 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 10:47 PM:

James: Probably. I might do something foolhardy too. Depends on where I was, what it looked like, all those imponderables.

But all things being equal, cover and cower is the most likely thing.

What that account makes me think of is Malmédy

#122 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 10:52 PM:

So say we all.

#123 ::: EClaire ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 11:05 PM:

So say we all.

There are just no words. I know I've been holding my sproglet a little closer today than usual.

#124 ::: Wrye ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 11:38 PM:

So say we all. American and otherwise.

#125 ::: Persephone ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 11:45 PM:

So say we all.

#126 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2011, 11:51 PM:

So say we all.

#127 ::: Don Fitch ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2011, 12:45 AM:

So say we all.

#128 ::: hamletta ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2011, 01:24 AM:

So say we all.

I'm an observant Lutheran, so these kids will be in our prayers tomorrow.

This was a political act: The camp wasn't just any old summer camp, but a retreat and training camp for young Labour Party activists. The current Norwegian PM went there himself in the '70s.

#129 ::: Roy G. Ovrebo ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2011, 01:29 AM:

Xopher @ 109: A maximum of 21 years in "detention" initially, but will be renewed ad infinitum every 5 years if deemed necessary.

Anyone know if that's really how it works?

Also, why can't they sentence him to 21 years for each person he killed? Do prison sentences all have to run concurrently?

IANAL, but trying to decipher the mess that is the penal code, the max is two consecutive sentences - for two different crimes. So assuming he gets separate sentences for murder and terrorism, it's 42 years that can then be extended indefinitely.

But there's no way in hell he's ever getting out. He shot up a camp of future members of parliament and government ministers. They won't forget. _We_ won't forget.

#130 ::: Gray Woodland ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2011, 01:58 AM:

So say we all.

#131 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2011, 02:52 AM:

So say we all.

#132 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2011, 03:08 AM:

So say we all.

#133 ::: Mikael Vejdemo-Johansson ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2011, 03:59 AM:

Xopher @ 109: A maximum of 21 years in "detention" initially, but will be renewed ad infinitum every 5 years if deemed necessary.

Anyone know if that's really how it works?

Also, why can't they sentence him to 21 years for each person he killed? Do prison sentences all have to run concurrently?

The US-style cumulative sentencing is almost completely absent on this side of the ocean, and every so often taken as an example of how bizarre your penal code can get if you don't keep an eye out while legislating… The absence of 400-year sentencing is, at least in Sweden, generally considered a feature and not a bug.

#134 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2011, 04:26 AM:

I am weary of the horror.

What is the difference? 9/11 or OKC, the Sari Club or Madrid, Port Arthur or this? Means, perhaps. Scale. Nothing more. I can't see how the exact motive matters.

The means make the scale possible, that's one fact. Automatic firearms; civil aircraft with four hundred passengers; the internet; cell phones. What do we make of that? I don't know.

But I know this: sooner or later we come to Lenin's question: "What is to be done?"

#135 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2011, 05:25 AM:

Dave Luckett: Rejoice that this is rare and the actual trend is for less violence in our lives, not more.

We should, hard as us is to say, rejoice that we grieve. 50 years ago this would have been a different sort of shock. 100 years ago a very different one. 200, not a shock at all, just an odd bit of news.

That we are horrified speaks of how we, as human beings, have progressed. Maybe it's the internet, maybe it's television, but we are more aware of the people at the other end of the world than we used to be. Not as abstractions; though there is that, but as people, with loves, lives, dreams and doubts.

The last ten years have been trying; and one might forget how it was better then. It will get better again.

Because we are stubborn bastards, and we know there are people at the other end of the wire.

#136 ::: Emma in Sydney ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2011, 06:51 AM:

So say we all.

Dave Luckett, when something similar happened at Port Arthur in Australia in 1996, our conservative government enacted legislation banning all semi-automatic rifles and all semi-automatic and pump-action shotguns, and a tightly restrictive system of licensing and ownership controls.The government bought back all such weapons over a 12 month period. Since that time there has not been a mass shooting in Australia.

I say this not to start a gun law debate, but to indicate that some things can be done. In some countries.

#137 ::: KristianB ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2011, 07:43 AM:

Tusen takk, everyone.

The nut's manifesto is now online, 1500 pages of wild conspiracy theories written over nine years by a guy who considered himself a member of the Knights Templar.

I saw on the news earlier that the police made an armed operation against a house this morning and arrested six people, and they say it's connected to the attacks.

#138 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2011, 09:15 AM:

The people arrested have been released; reports say they are not involved.

#139 ::: Anne Sheller ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2011, 09:56 AM:

So say we all.

#140 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2011, 10:54 AM:

The Guardian reports today that according to the Norwegian newspaper VG, the nutter's manifesto was largely plagiarized from the Unabomber Manifesto, with the word "leftist" replaced by "multiculturalism" and "cultural Marxism".

On the other hand, he posted updates to it -- I think the "1500 page manifesto" bit may be misidentification of a blog, and the Unabomber thing just a part of it -- and the most recent entries are chilling.

It's an angle that hasn't really come up yet: but I think there may be yet more trawling of the internet for advance warning of similar threats in future.

#141 ::: Roy G. Ovrebo ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2011, 11:02 AM:

KristianB @ 136: The nut's manifesto is now online, 1500 pages of wild conspiracy theories written over nine years by a guy who considered himself a member of the Knights Templar.

Most of the thing turns out to be plagiarized from the Unabomber manifesto. Is there _no end_ to his crimes?

#142 ::: Jörg Raddatz ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2011, 01:15 PM:

So say we all.

#143 ::: Kee ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2011, 01:41 PM:

So say we all.

#144 ::: Per Chr. J. ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2011, 01:53 PM:

Argh, the creep even designed his own uniforms. According to this Norwegian-language page (online edition of one of our largest papers), he considered himself an officer of higher rank (strangely enough, there aren't any such guys that consider themselves lance corporals in their imaginary armies), that is, a judiciary knight of the New Knights Templar.


#145 ::: D. Potter ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2011, 02:29 PM:

Janet Brennan Croft: If going for longwindedness, I'd say "ex post facto back-seat driving." If succinctness counts, try "20-20 hindsight." Action Movie Script Physics seems to figure in most of what such folks would do.

#146 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2011, 03:36 PM:

And when one looks at the larger web... anyone who points out his christian identity is a racist and religion hater.

Anyone who points out his right-wing nationalism and you are "ignoring leftist violence.

His manifesto is just going to be used as grist to the mill of, "the lone wolf" while ignoring the things which motivate all those lone wolves to act in similar fashion.

#147 ::: Steve with a book ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2011, 05:43 PM:

Per Chr. J.@142: the comic-opera ridiculousness of that outfit makes me wonder whether he was deliberately making himself look stupid in order to pass as harmless: put skulls and daggers on your sleeves and no-one will believe you'll get your act together to carry out your threats.

#148 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2011, 07:48 PM:

He had a, "Liberal hunting permit" on his sleeve.

#149 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2011, 07:49 PM:

I don't know why that posted before I was done. He had the liberal hunting permit on the sleeve of the wet suit, i.e. the photo with the stupidly tricked out rifle.

#150 ::: Paul Duncanson ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2011, 08:17 PM:

Steve with a Book @ 145: put skulls and daggers on your sleeves and no-one will believe you'll get your act together to carry out your threats.

Maybe he just didn't think it through fully: An important realisation about uniform insignia.

#151 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2011, 08:19 PM:

D. Potter #143: It's pretty much an Americanism, but how about "Monday-morning quarterbacking?"

#152 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2011, 08:34 PM:

#148 ::: Paul Duncanson

Thanks-- that was a great clip.

The best comment was to the effect that maybe they should be marching under an ancient symbol of peace, love, and harmony-- like a swastika.

#153 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2011, 08:48 PM:

So say we all.

I heard some folks on NPR speculating with great solemnity this morning about the shooter's mental health, as if a professional diagnosis could somehow make things better, or worse. I had to turn the radio off; it made me so angry.

#154 ::: Sica ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2011, 09:02 PM:

#116 Janet Brennan Croft

I think it's usually just called victim blaming. Very very common in sexual assault cases (you wouldnt have been assaulted if you'd only worn more modest clothing, carried a gun and been escorted by a male relative!! Etc)

#155 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2011, 10:44 PM:

I'll join the "so say we all" chorus, too.

#156 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2011, 11:31 PM:

Sica @154 -- victim blaming is exactly what I was looking for! So the concepts I'm looking to integrate are survivor guilt, victim blaming, schadenfreude, and coinherence. Much more concise.

#157 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2011, 12:44 AM:

It always vertigo-inducing to read the writing of someone like Breivik. I appear to live in the same world as he does, and yet I do not: the whole existential conflict he is fighting in, the war of annihilation between "the West" and Islam that necessitates and justifies his violence, just doesn't exist in my world. Breivik and bin Laden have that in common: while they are on different sides, they at least agree on the nature of reality. It occurs to me that that divide, between those who perceive their reality and those of us who perceive the other, is a more profound gap than a disagreement over which side ought to win.

#158 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2011, 02:13 AM:

There's some good analysis of the "manifesto" here, done by Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs. Johnson knows right-wing theory and writings, since he used to run with that crowd until he got fed up a year or so ago. Sample:

the blog source that’s probably cited the most throughout Breivik’s book is Jihad Watch, run by anti-Muslim demagogue Robert Spencer; Breivik cites Robert Spencer more than 40 times, always approvingly.

And a very large number — more than three dozen — of the lengthy articles reprinted in the book are the work of the anonymous white nationalist blogger “Fjordman,” who apparently gave Breivik permission to use them.

Back in the day, I linked to Fjordman’s articles myself; he was a big self-promoter and would email and ask for links every time he posted something. But sometime around 2007 (when I criticized him and other “counter-jihad” bloggers for making deals with extreme right wing European groups) it became clear that his seeming erudition and extreme logorrhea was a cover for a particularly nasty form of European white nationalism.

#159 ::: CZEdwards (aka the Other Constance) ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2011, 04:54 AM:

Janet @ 156: which makes an excellent mapping tool for practical/behavioral empathy... given good questions. I can even see a use : divide questions into two parts - how the person behaves vs how feels. Test several thousand to develop parameters, then compare behavior to reported emotions. Compare trends to outliers. A big disconnect probably indicates more study.

Of course, the stumble here is good questions. The bigger hurdle is what to do with it once developed and calibrated.

#160 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2011, 06:47 AM:

Janet #156 Hmm. "schadenfreude+"victim blaming" would obviously represent open hostility/distancing, while coinherence+survivor guilt would be alliance/identification (also, the most likely response for genuine survivors).

But the other corners are odd -- one would be blatant projection, while the other would be even stranger -- some sort of self-martydom ("we sinners are duly punished") that I'd expect to see sprayed outward from one of the crazier pulpits.

#161 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2011, 08:14 AM:

Terry Karney @ 146: And then there are those who are insisting the problem is christianity, period. I find myself in the awkward position (for a materialist and atheist) of arguing on a local blog that rightist politics are the problem, not his religion.

That's obviously a deficient argument. It's clear that his particular version of christianity is stirred into the stew, but I'm not agile enough to make that point at the same time I'm trying to emphasize what matters. Any advice is welcome.

#162 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2011, 08:26 AM:

David Harmon @160: Oh, that's interesting! Yes, the "corners" are odd. Sadism and masochism?

#163 ::: Tim Hall ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2011, 10:00 AM:

Ah yes, "Fjordman". I encountered this vile individual online way back in 2004 when I was a contributor to the online music and culture site Blogcritics.org at the time. Fjordman was invited to contribute by the owner, Eric Olsen, in the newly-launched politics section.

I publicly resigned from the site the moment Fjordman started posting the sort of rants that made it very clear he was some kind of white supremacist, because I didn't my own writing tainted by association.

Still amazes me that Eric Olsen failed to see through the guy and realise what he was.

#164 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2011, 11:11 AM:

Janet Brennan Croft #162: Hmm... those would be the outward manifestations, but I don't think you could reasonably infer the motivations from the behavior. I'm pretty sure the "sadist" would be indistinguishable from the "openly hostile" position, as they're both likely fed by hidden self-conflicts.

#165 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2011, 11:14 AM:

Also, the link to the translated letter from the survivor has broken -- I suspect that the site doesn't actually produce permalinks to comments. When I just looked, that particular comment was on page #12 of 15.

#166 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2011, 11:46 AM:

So say we all.

#167 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2011, 11:58 AM:

I think there is very limited value in trying to go from this kind of mass-shooting/terrorist attack to some kind of deep analysis of every movement and group to which the terrorist belonged. Mostly, when people do that, they've already started knowing what answers they'll "discover," and sure enough, it turns out that their ideological enemies are to blame. I find this exactly as convincing when used to smear political movements on the right as when used to smear Muslims or even fundamentalist Muslims.

#168 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2011, 12:29 PM:

albatross @ 167: "I find this exactly as convincing when used to smear political movements on the right as when used to smear Muslims or even fundamentalist Muslims. "

I think it's a mistake to act as if all claims tying an individual's actions to a movement's rhetoric are equally valid--or invalid, as the case may be. The important consideration is, is there a link between the rhetoric of the group in question and the individual's motivation? Sometimes there is a clear and unambiguous connection, and sometimes it's evident that the shooter's bowling league wasn't a determining factor.

#169 ::: Anderson ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2011, 12:46 PM:

sooner or later we come to Lenin's question: "What is to be done?"

Actually Chernyshevsky's question, and he was a far more admirable human being than Lenin (low bar tho that be).

#170 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2011, 12:52 PM:

A friend of mine in Sweden pointed out that trying to figure this out from his political ravings might be pointless -- that he may be simply and purely a sociopath, and the politics just the most plausible "excuse" for what he would have done no matter what political system he subscribed to. Still, though, I would imagine it's the best fit for a sociopath, or at least the best place to hide and work from.

#171 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2011, 01:09 PM:

According to what I've been reading elsewhere, the confessed killer wants to use his arraignment in court to espouse his political thought, dressed in a uniform (probably of his own making) -- and his diary commented that after the massacre, if he lived, then would come the propaganda phase. The judge had yet to rule whether the arraignment would be public or private.

This is very predictable; and I wonder how people here feel about that. It's not an entirely simple question.

#172 ::: KristianB ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2011, 02:00 PM:

The arraignment was private, the guy was not allowed to wear his 'uniform', no press was allowed in the courtroom, and the guy will spend the next four weeks in solitary confinement. His dreams of propaganda and great eloquent speeches seen across the world will have to wait. Good riddance.

#173 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2011, 02:24 PM:

On the whole, I agree. I wonder if there's a way to make sure those who engage in much-less-violent civil disobedience retain the right to speak publicly at their trials while preventing those who engage in this sort of violence from doing so.

#174 ::: between4walls ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2011, 02:33 PM:

Glenn Beck just said the AUF camp sounded like Hitler Youth. Just said it off-hand, not even the main point. Eww.
Anderson @169- I once made the same mistake in Russian class, mishearing "who wrote the novel?" as who wrote the "who wrote the pamphlet?" Chernyshevsky just can't catch a break, a political prisoner in his lifetime and forever linked with a murderous dictator afterward.

#175 ::: alex ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2011, 02:53 PM:

According to Firefox's 'find' function, nobody on this page has mentioned the words 'fascist' or 'fascism'. I'm not sure why, it seems an awfully apposite concept to me.

#176 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2011, 02:54 PM:

Tom, #173: I think your question contains the seeds of its own solution. Those who engage in lethal (or attempted-lethal) violence should be denied a public platform, others not. This does leave, unavoidably, a grey area around the concept of "incitement", but I don't see any good way to get rid of that.

#177 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2011, 02:56 PM:

Ah.. the Eric Rudolph behavior. I'm glad Norway stopped it.

One of the more unpleasant things I've seen on this isn't the people saying, "he's not like us, I don't care what parallels there might be," as much as the one's I've seen (specifically some anti-feminists) who said, "well the way "x" group has ruined the world of course someone finally snapped and tried to do something about it."

#178 ::: Debra Doyle ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2011, 03:02 PM:

Tim Whitmore@173: I wonder if there's a way to make sure those who engage in much-less-violent civil disobedience retain the right to speak publicly at their trials while preventing those who engage in this sort of violence from doing so.

Probably not. At least from my point of view, the idea fails to pass the "How would things work out if this tool were in the hands of my enemies?" test.

#179 ::: Rudi Schlatte ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2011, 03:09 PM:

Hi, I only lurk here and don't ever post on my own website either, but I went to Oslo downtown today and came back a much calmer and saner person.

I think in a wake, the participants help each other arrive at a new, changed world where something was lost. Today perhaps half a million people reassured each other that, in fact, nothing need be lost. What's-his-name certainly managed to unite the people here, just not in the way he had dreamed of.

#180 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2011, 03:17 PM:

between4walls 174: Glenn Beck just said the AUF camp sounded like Hitler Youth. Just said it off-hand, not even the main point. Eww.

As if we needed further evidence that Glenn Beck is a scumbag of the filthiest water.

alex 175: How clever of you to fix that problem.

Those terms are simplistic and narrow. There's lots of right-wing thought that isn't actually f*sc*st. For example, there are Randroids who count as far right by any reasonable standard (even if they're True Scotsmen!), but aren't into the Great Man theory with the uniforms and the very strict everything-not-required-is-forbidden society.

#181 ::: alex ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2011, 03:33 PM:

But the more we learn about this guy, the more he sounds like a fascist, doesn't he? And since 'Randroids' are really much less of a problem in Europe than they are in the USA, I'm not sure why that's a relevant comparison.

Fascism, OTOH, is a real, home-grown European ideology that hasn't gone away for about 100 years now [yes, it had started before WW1, if you know where to look]; so actually, no, it isn't 'simplistic and narrow' unless you've got a simplistic and narrow definition of 'fascism' in your own mind.

Of course, at another level, most fascists these days are probably diagnosable at some level; but that doesn't actually help. Any more than it does with Randroids, survivalists, Militiamen, et al.

#182 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2011, 03:55 PM:

Rudi Schlatte @179: Thank you.

May none of us ever need to do such a thing again.

Peace to you and yours.

#183 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2011, 04:05 PM:

Rudi Schlatte @179:

Thank you.

#184 ::: between4walls ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2011, 04:10 PM:

It's not "simplistic and narrow" to think an ultranationalist who hates foreigners and murders left-wingers might be a fascist. When I found out the AUF camp was a target I suspected it was fascists.
For a while now there've been two different strains of far-right in Europe- the traditional anti-semitic neo-Nazis (Jobbik in Hungary is a scary example of this kind with their Arrow Cross uniforms and hatred of the Roma) and the newer, more popular, xenophobic, immigrants-are-the-real-intolerant-ones, and these two strands hate each other as much as anyone. The second strand wouldn't call itself fascist (and for the most part, neither would the first) but it has a disturbing similarity.
So it's entirely possible that this guy hates the Nazis, admires the Norwegian Resistance, etc. and still falls on the fascist spectrum. I'm not entirely sure where Breivik falls, but he has the obsession with uniforms, the anti-democratic ideology, and sees himself as a Great Man changing the course of history. And fear of immigrants played into the rise of fascism in the 30's. Especially in France, this was a big part of the rise of anti-Semitism.
(Weird trivia- some conspiracy theorists insisted France's first Jewish and first socialist PM, Leon Blum, who came to power in 1936, was born in Romania. He was actually born in Paris.)

#185 ::: Naomi Parkhurst ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2011, 04:20 PM:

Rudi Schlatte @179: I also thank you. It was wonderful to see the pictures of that huge, quiet (and somehow determined) crowd.

#186 ::: LMM ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2011, 04:24 PM:

So say we all.

And if "stochastic terrorism" hasn't been mentioned yet, it should be. It's a remarkable concept, and one that apparently holds for both sides of the Atlantic.

#187 ::: between4walls ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2011, 04:45 PM:

Rudi Schlatte @179
Thank you.
Peace and comfort to you and your country.

#188 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2011, 04:45 PM:

Rudi 179: Thanks for that. A little light in the darkness.

#189 ::: guthrie ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2011, 05:38 PM:

Not on here, but elsewhere, it is amazing how someone will pop up and somehow slide the discussion over from the issue at hand, i.e. right wing ranting inspired nutter murders lots of people onto how many people have a rational position on Islam being bad, and 'the left' don't want to talk about Islam and how bad things are.
Some people are so obessed that they will use any occaision to discuss their own views, without reference to the reality.

#190 ::: Lisa Padol ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2011, 05:45 PM:

So say we all.

#191 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2011, 05:50 PM:

John A Arkansawyer: Yes, that's hard. It's hard for christians. I'd point at the difference between belief, as a way to govern internal behavior (part of the "personal relationship with God, which starts to be a big deal in the latter 12th, early 13th century) and religion as controller of external behavior.

But it leads down a rabbit hole.

#192 ::: Roy G. Ovrebo ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2011, 07:14 PM:

Tonight, mass rallies, torchlit or not. I was at the one in Haugesund. Some 15000 people showed up there - that's a sizeable percentage of the total population of the district.

Life will go on.

#193 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2011, 07:47 PM:

Tom Whitmore @ 171: "According to what I've been reading elsewhere, the confessed killer wants to use his arraignment in court to espouse his political thought, dressed in a uniform (probably of his own making) -- and his diary commented that after the massacre, if he lived, then would come the propaganda phase."

I very much hope he, the mass murder, has ample opportunity to explain at length and in public exactly why he did what he did. I want him to cite the theories that motivate him, the bloggers whose rhetoric animates him, the organizations he feels solidarity with. Let him tell us himself what causes he has stained with the blood of children. I am sure the propaganda will have just the outcome he yearned for.

#194 ::: Laina ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2011, 09:09 PM:

Rudi Schlatte @179

Thank you.

#195 ::: Roy G. Ovrebo ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2011, 10:24 PM:

heresiarch @ 193: I very much hope he, the mass murder, has ample opportunity to explain at length and in public exactly why he did what he did.

He's done that in writing. His court appearance was kept behind closed doors, (officially) so he wouldn't be able to send coded messages to any accomplices. (Unofficially, I don't think they wanted to give him a pulpit. And as the judge allegedly had to interrupt him, they were right.)


I am sure the propaganda will have just the outcome he yearned for.

Bugger that. Let him rot in a cell. Let him spend the rest of his life watching his grandiose dreams (or, as us "cultural marxists" may think of them, delusions) come to nothing, as his silly uniforms rot and we build a working society.

#196 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2011, 12:58 AM:

How about letting "ABB" fulfil his crusader dreams?

As a foot soldier, for that full-blown golden-age-of-struggle-against-the-Turk experience.

Dress him up in his costume, give him a sword, and parachute him into a war zone in Somalia or Yemen.

#197 ::: Gray Woodland ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2011, 02:54 AM:

Stefan Jones @ 197: I think not. Most of the people in war zones would notoriously rather be somewhere else, and need no dropping of further guano upon their heads by us.

Except sometimes in our capacities as storytellers, we are not elves, to punish bad people with a poisonous dose of what they want; and I'll venture that we're the better for it. Maybe sometimes, even in our stories?

But I believe that Norway is getting it right in the matter of mordant justice too, in that knocking his silly hat off and trying him as a dull wicked butcher will be much less to his taste. Some criminals are more sternly, as well as more justly, dealt with in prose.

No poetry for this nothing man.

#198 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2011, 07:35 AM:

Gray Woodland @ 197:

No poetry for this nothing man.

I'm afraid that's a self-defeating remark--that line sounds great!

But seriously, I get your point and am in total agreement with it.

#199 ::: David DeLaney ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2011, 09:31 AM:

So say we all, and thank you, Rudy.

--Dave, got here late

#200 ::: Steve with a book ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2011, 02:01 PM:

I note that there's some discussion going on about whether he will be charged with crimes against humanity. Obviously I see the point, but on the other hand it might kind of confirm the perpetrator's self-classification as something above the normal run of criminal, right up there with Martin Bormann. Are there any precedents for a crimes-against-humanity charge against a civilian in peacetime?

#201 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2011, 08:33 PM:

Roy G. Ovrebo @ 195: "Bugger that. Let him rot in a cell. Let him spend the rest of his life watching his grandiose dreams (or, as us "cultural marxists" may think of them, delusions) come to nothing, as his silly uniforms rot and we build a working society."

Frankly, I don't care how publicizing his beliefs makes him feel: he has fallen outside my community of care. Denying him attention to spite his delusions of grandeur is just as blinkered as any other petty vengeance we might extract from his flesh. My argument is that letting him speak for himself, shining the light of society on the malignancy he represents, is the best way forward towards building a working society as you put it. Acting as if he is a common criminal, however satisfying that might be, is dangerously wrong. He is not simply a criminal: he has committed a hate crime, and the effects go beyond just the despair and destruction he wrought. He chose ideological targets for ideological reasons, and that ought not be ignored, no more than the racist ideology of the KKK ought to be ignored.

He is toxin to be purged. You cannot purge what you refuse to see.

#202 ::: Roy G. Ovrebo ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2011, 12:24 AM:

My argument is that letting him speak for himself, shining the light of society on the malignancy he represents, is the best way forward towards building a working society as you put it.

He has spoken already, and we are shining the light on it.

Acting as if he is a common criminal, however satisfying that might be, is dangerously wrong. He is not simply a criminal

As Steve with a book points out, don't turn him into a soldier. He is a terrorist, a vile criminal with no honour. Treat him like one.

He is toxin to be purged. You cannot purge what you refuse to see.

We see it well.

#203 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2011, 12:38 AM:

Roy G. Ovrebo @ 202: I am not inclined to disagree with you. You're the one over there, in the situation, and I don't care to substitute my judgement for yours. Norway overall seems to be doing a better job of being civilized these days than my poor country.

#204 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2011, 11:36 AM:

And some idiot right-wing television nutcase whose name I will not mention is claiming that the perp "isn't a Christian."

I'm doing a slow burn -- the perp calls himself a Knight Templar, and last time I looked that did have a Christian affiliation.

Not that I believe he's a real member of that organization.

#205 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2011, 04:04 PM:

So say we all.

#206 ::: johnofjack ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2011, 08:24 PM:

Janet @ 156
I think survivor guilt might be a form of victim blaming, but one where the blamer blames only one of the survivors.

#207 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2011, 11:54 PM:

Lori:

That sounds exactly like what I heard/read from various Muslims after 9/11--these guys weren't Muslims, because mass murder wasn't in keeping with Muslim beliefs. And no doubt in both cases, it's true--certainly it's not easy to find a lot of support for mass murder or war or terrorism in the New Testament, for all that there have been plenty of self identified Christians who've murdered and terrorized strangers.

#209 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2011, 03:20 PM:

heresiarch:

This is a hard issue, IMO, because of three competing things:

a. We're almost always better off being able to see more of what government agencies, police, courts, prosecutors, etc., are doing, which means we benefit from having everything done out in the open.

b. We really, really don't want to offer every wacko in the world the opportunity to have a few days of nationwide airtime and public attention paid to his ideas if he's only willing to shed enough blood.

c. The expressed ideas of a terrorist may or may not be his real beliefs, and may or may not tell us much about their value. I very much dislike the routine where someone from group X does some nasty thing, and then people who don't like group X use this as evidence that group X is a force for evil in the world, should be banned or spied on or deported, etc. I find this no more convincing when applied to far right terrorists than when applied to Muslim terrorists.

#210 ::: Per Chr. J. ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2011, 05:06 PM:

Heresiarch @ 201:

I think the focus over here more has been on emphasising that criminal acts are crimes, since it seems that one part of his fantasy is to pose in court as a captured skirmisher or advance scout from an army, and it seems that the courts have also wanted to deny him this or any other pretense to any mantle of martyrdom or something similar.

Lori @ 204:

It does seem that he has a peculiar approach to Christianity, as some reports on the manifesto state that he describes himself as belonging to a cagory of persons that do not believe themselves, but believe in the traditional forms and institutions of Christianity (as he preceives them, of course). So I do understand why some Christian friends do find it difficult to see him describes as Christian, when he apparently does not have faith.

#211 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2011, 06:26 PM:

Lee #208:

I'm guessing Peter Crossman wouldn't recognize him as a colleague, either.

#213 ::: Andrew M ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2011, 09:03 AM:

There are a large number of organisations calling themselves 'Knights Templar'. Many, perhaps most, are Christian, but not all. I find it unlikely that this person is really connected with any of them. (There are two ways - at least - of interpreting what happened to the original Knights Templar: either 'Their suppression was unjust; the charges agisnt them were baseless; they were actually perfectly good Christians' or 'They really did practice mysteries which didn't fit in with orthodox Christianity, possibly because they possessed some explosive secret that shows Christianity is wrong'. These gives rise to different forms of the Templar mystique.)

#214 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2011, 12:46 PM:

johnofjack @ #206: I think survivor guilt might be a form of victim blaming, but one where the blamer blames only one of the survivors.

I see what you're getting at, but I'm not sure it's right. To me, "victim blaming" involves more than the denoted blaming-of-a-victim; there's usually a connotation that the person doing so is placing the blame in such a way as to free themselves from a burdensome truth they would otherwise have to acknowledge. (For instance, "That could have been me that happened to" - or "That could have been me who made that happen".)

#215 ::: johnofjack ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2011, 06:39 PM:

Paul @ 214:
Yes, I see. That's a good point you raise, and is something I'd overlooked.

The blame I'd imagined the survivor assigning wasn't so much "you caused this terrible thing," but "you survived this terrible thing (how dare you?)"

You could argue that the truth people with survivor's guilt wish to escape is that sometimes people live or die for no good reason at all, but I'm not sure if I want to pick up that banner and run with it--both because I'm not fully convinced it's a workable theory and also, more importantly, because I can imagine it being offensive to people of faith, including our hosts.

It might be interesting to know if survivor's guilt is more or less common among any given groups.

#216 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2011, 09:05 PM:

Andrew M #213: Regarding "what happened to them, you forget "they became a rival to the power of the Papacy".

#217 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2011, 09:16 PM:

johnofjack, #215: You could argue that the truth people with survivor's guilt wish to escape is that sometimes people live or die for no good reason at all

I think this goes more aptly in the other direction -- that people who are seriously invested in the idea that "everything happens for a reason" may be more susceptible, as a group, to survivor's guilt, but other people can still suffer from it for different reasons.

#218 ::: Lisa Padol ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2011, 01:55 AM:

Anyone else hear about the rescue of 40 of the teenagers from the massacre?

#219 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2011, 05:06 AM:

Lisa, I saw a couple of mentions of people with boats, but I don't recall anything that would fit with that story.

But I tended to avoid reports with detail, after the first couple of days. The reporting had fixed on people who were hiding, and how the killer came so incredibly close without seeing them. It seemed as though the media had settled on the story they could tell. Maybe there was a different emphasis in Norway, and this is about how people could do something active and make a difference. It's a different viewpoint.

#220 ::: alsafi ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2011, 10:41 AM:

It's probably already been noted, but since it's not mentioned yet in the comments, there was at least this small... "good" isn't the right word. Amelioration? Tiny softening of such a terrible blow, maybe--in that they recounted and discovered that there were 16 fewer killed on Utøya than had been believed at first.

As I told my partner when I saw it, it doesn't make it better--but it makes a difference for those few families.

#221 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2011, 11:03 AM:

Lisa, yep. But the couple who did that rescue were both women, and married to each other, so large parts of the media didn't touch the story.

Damn them.

#222 ::: Mycroft W ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2011, 10:04 PM:

Add my voice to the "Amen" chorus.

Having said my (mostly off-topic for this) comment in the OT (because of course there wouldn't be a specific thread for this here, and I shouldn't go looking for one), I'll be quieter here, except that I, too, applaud the "we aren't going to give this criminal what he wants, either as a pulpit or by allowing this to change what's good about our society". We shall see if that sentiment continues in the face of all the people who stand to gain from instilling "When in trouble or in doubt, run in circles, scream and shout" - but I think it shall.

"The ordinary citizen's safety lies in statistics, not in ever more elaborate 'security' measures. You are still more likely to die from falling off a ladder or drowning in the bath than you are to die in a terrorist attack. When they tell you to re-shape your life or your foreign policy in response to the 'terrorist threat', tell them to go jump in the lake." - the conclusion of this week's Gwynne Dyer column.

...Which doesn't affect the horror I feel at what happened or my sympathy for the survivors and families, of course.

#223 ::: Stephan Brun ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2011, 07:28 AM:

So now Norwegians have a bona fide, genuine turrist on our hands, caught red-handed and guilty as sin. And he claims there are three more terrorist cells planning attacks in Europe. You guess what comes next.

Yup, it's the time-bomb torture apologists, crawling out of the woodwork. I have been posting firefighting posts on my local sceptics forum, claiming the guilt/innocence divide is invalid, and stressing informed vs ignorant and that the latter category includes our terrorist, and also the CIA interrogation manuals. I think I may have won this debate, but one thing I failed to find was a good index to Terry Karney's writings on the subject and other resources for the next time. Does anyone know where to find them?

#224 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2011, 08:45 AM:

Stephan Brun @223--Many of them are on his livejournal (user name pecunium), for which a link resides in the left-hand list of links in the "Friends, Relations, Colleagues, and Cronies" section, under "Terry Karney". I can't recall right now if they're all tagged or not.

#225 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2011, 12:17 PM:

Stanley Baker, a serial killer and admitted cannibal (a guy who had "werewolf episodes" in jail when he would sit on the floor of his cell and howl at the moon), claimed to have participated in human sacrifices with a variety of Satanic groups and that a number of "covens" were in operation that planned future murders.

No evidence of the real existence of the groups he claimed to belong to or know of ever surfaced. Had they been real, something would have turned up over the subsequent forty years.

Torturing him for that information would have produced figments of his imagination, not useful data.

Back in the days of the Dirty War in Argentina, the way it worked was this: A person would be arrested for being a left-wing anti-government terrorist. That person would be tortured to reveal his or her accomplices. The accomplices would be arrested, and, under torture, would admit to being left-wing anti-government terrorists. This validated the original information. They would then be tortured to reveal the names of their accomplices, who would then be arrested ....

It was perfectly self-sustaining, and validated at every step of the way, with information gained under torture supporting other information gained by torture.

Whether you're looking for confessions of terrorism or confessions of witchcraft, torture always works. In nearly 100% of the cases, it provides confessions. (Exception: The folks who die under torture before they have a chance to confess.) What it doesn't provide is valid confessions.

#226 ::: Stephan Brun ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2011, 06:48 PM:

Thanks, fidelio. I shall look harder.

Jim Macdonald: Indeed. Breivik shows the same pattern of inventing his own facts. What the apologists were proposing, however, was investigating the claims obtained through torture with proper policework, which made it slightly harder to argue: proper testing is the gold standard of science, and hypothetical corruption of the police force is difficult to claim without data. We have had past cases where poor policework got false convictions. The still unveiling "Thomas Quick" cases, where a man through psychiatric coercion apparently confessed to multiple murders in nearly all of che Nordic countries, making several separate teams of officers fail to recognise the falsity of the confession (in one case apparently misidentifying wood as bone), which suggests that ordinary policework might not be sufficient to falsify confessions.

Do we have any data on police forces abandoning proper work when coercion enters the picture?

#227 ::: Stephan Brun ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2011, 06:54 PM:

Also, naturally, investigating tortured fiction from Breivik would waste both resources and precious time, which undermines the time bomb premise to start with, but I am preaching to the choir.

#228 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2011, 07:10 PM:

Torture produces bad intel. Worth noting here is that no intel is better than bad intel.

With no intel, you don't know, and you know you don't know. With bad intel you still don't know, but you don't know it.

#229 ::: Stephan Brun ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2011, 07:21 PM:

So true.

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