It’s impossible to ignore the horrific occurances in Norway. Any murder is terrible, mass murders more so, and the mass murder of young people seems particularly hard to take, whether it occurs in a High School, or a war zone.
A natural reaction is to ask “Who has done this? And why? Why would anyone do anything like this?” These, then, are the questions that the news media rush to answer. They find as much information on the suspect as possible, throw pictures and video onto every screen. In this case, they also triumphantly brought out a 1500 page manifesto, written by the suspect.
That’s the point where I stopped reading. Like the case of the shootings at Virginia Tech in 2007, I felt the names we should be remembering, the lives we should be learning about, belonged to the victims. Their names are the ones that should be held up to the public, their achievements applauded, their potential mourned.
We hold very few circumstances to be acceptable for killing another person. Soldiers in defence of their country, or defending an ally, may kill. Defence of one’s family, or of another person in danger. This man was not a soldier on a battlefield. He was not defending himself, or others in imminent danger. His innocence or guilt is left to the lawyers and the court, but from the basic facts available, he appears to be a murderer. That should remove any fame or publicity for his views. Whatever his motivations for killing, the fact that his targets were young, unarmed civilians should negate them.
Giving a platform to murderers, especially ones like this who have clearly prepared their material ahead of time to capitalize on the media frenzy that follows their killings, is giving them what they want.
My personal belief is that this man should be convicted, and ignored. His manifesto should be destroyed, and when mention is made of this event, it should recount the names of the victims and simply refer to him as “The murderer.”
A lot of the comments following the internet news stories talk of killing him, of retribution. I understand the anger, but think it serves little purpose. I don’t know that his death would be any comfort to the families of the victims, and let’s be honest, they’re the ones who would have most to say on the matter. I’d like someone who this man respects, someone who he looks up to, to visit him in his cell, and explain that he was wrong. That what he did was not the beginning of a revolution, not a glorious act, but murder. I don’t think there is anyone he would listen to, anyone he would believe, because to commit such an act surely shows a person has passed beyond reason. But still, while we rage at him, and villify him, and denounce him, he revels in it.
Tell him he was wrong.
I agree with you wholeheartedly that this man should be convicted and ignored. However, it’s the unfortunate zeitgeist that prevents this from happening. Even this morning, I found myself entranced reading extracts of his personal diary in the paper, even though in my mind, I was thinking ‘these should not be published.’
It’s partly because we are desensitised and partly because of our perverse desire to look into the minds and analyse these madmen. But in order to halt their passion for attention, we need to stop giving it to them.
I’d go so far as to say he is evil.
I agree with you exactly. I don’t believe in capital punishment, I think another death isn’t going to solve anything, but you’re right that the media frenzy around him (heck, he’ll get a book deal before I will) is exhausting. There are so many movies out about mass serial killers they become glorified. My heart goes out to the families of those who lost loved ones and I wish them all the support, patience, and understanding that is possible in this difficult time. Thank you for voicing this Damian.
Thanks, you guys. I’m sure the physical distance from all this makes it easier to be objective. A few years ago I wrote about the killings in Dunblane, and found myself actually unable to type because I was so angry.
But I really, really hope you’re wrong about the bok deal, Jess. I’d rather read yours.
Perhaps you may want to visit the last two posts from a fellow blogger who is from Norway.
Thanks Georgette. I read those two posts with a lump in my throat – bad enough to hear about these events from such a distance, but to live there, to have friends on the island… I can’t imagine it. Isn’t the reaction of the Norwegian people brilliant, though? No howling for vengeance, just talk of greater democracy. Really humbling.
Evil truly exists in human form.
The question is: when will we actually do something about it?