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July 25, 2011

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"Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men?"
We can observe their actions and read their writings, but we'll never understand their motivations.
I get angry, I don't like some people with different political ideas, but I would never seek to kill them. A minute portion of the population feels differently about the killing part. Only the Shadow knows why.

Perhaps it is just a trick of photography that Breivik's picture would not look out of place on someone's mantle

I immediately thought the same thing. Wow, what beautiful looking man.

I don't find Breivik's not killing himself remarkable. He believes, literally, that he is at war with liberal and left-wing Europeans. He has accomplished quite a bit of his "mission".

Right wing political terrorists don't have a real pattern of killing themselves.

The effort to seal off Breivik as non-political, to wedge him into our rich history of "lone nut" killer white men, is of a piece with the studious ignoring of escalating right-wing terrorism in the US.

I posted above before revisiting the earlier thread. Having made my final comment on that one, I think I should say that I also won't be returning to this post, to read comments or respond. I don't wish to give further offense.

Even if this dude is crazy. It doesn’t change the fact that he chose a political language to frame his crazy. Or, why did he use political violence as a form of his pathology? Or, I think being “crazy” should not erase the fact that political action was the way his crazy manifest itself.
I think most of us, around these parts, could agree that “rape” is a sexist power act. But there are a lot of sexist who would not use rape as a means to express it. And yet, there are conditions that make rape and violence meaningful ways of expression, ie, war, desperation, prison lead to very sexist and gendered pathologies.

I don’t know, I’m still trying to get a handle on this. I really feel for Norway, right now.

Just saw a mother crying for her adult child.

Good post, very helpful. I am afraid, however, that most will interpret this horror through pre-set prisms. When another commits a similar act, perhaps from a different angle, the lens will refocus.

sod, I dip my toe in here hesitantly. It seems rather fraught.

It seems that there are two operant definitions of 'crazy'. One is having no reason for doing something and if someone has some reason, we should hesitate to classify them crazy. The second is the act itself defines it as crazy. Both of those seem to raise problems, because the first one requires us define problems of assimilation and multiculturalism as ones that are black and white. The second has us identify a whole range of acts that we find ourselves complicit with, like drone warfare and collateral damage, and find ourselves guilty.

Eric Loomis, over at LGM, has this post up that I think is related. He writes about how some in the environmentalist movement "demonize the poor for causing environmental problems". I'm not taking a side on that (I suspect that some here may disagree with Loomis, and I don't know enough about the history of environmental movements to have my own take on it) but the dynamic looks similar.

My own take on all this is to assume that if someone is causing pain and realizes it, and then makes no effort to stop, there's a problem. I also, naively perhaps, assume that most people don't actually want to cause people pain, though blog comment threads sometimes leave me doubting that. I'd like to believe that the biggest problem is that people don't realize they are causing pain, hence SOD's observation that being sexist is not being a rapist.

I've often suggested that it is important that we change society in a way that does not leave people behind, regardless how retrograde their views may appear. Remaining quiet when a problematic observation is made, not wanting to make someone feel uncomfortable when they have gone out of bounds seems to be part of that reflex. It seems to echo a quote that I can't find right now and am probably screwing up totally, where someone, in Norway I think, was asked how can we make things more secure and he replied that it is not security that we need, it is trust.

it is not security that we need, it is trust.

There you have it.

When do liberal as*holes get their own shows?

"And then there was a shooting at a political camp, which sounds a little like, you know, the Hitler youth or whatever. I mean, who does a camp for kids that's all about politics? Disturbing," - Glenn Beck.


Martin Bryant at least is alive, well and living in prison in Tasmania. I'd also argue that Bryant had no political motivations - to me Breivik has more in common with McVeigh in that both of them were believers in a cause, and both of them were taking effectively political steps to further that cause.

Bryant, the Columbine killers, Seng-hui Cho, Julian Knight, Frank Vitkovic and Huan Yun "Allen" Xiang (to name the ones I'm most familiar with) had their own reasons for their actions, but I wouldn't have said any of them had any wider political motivations.

in a sense, lsn, that sort of is my point. If we have reached a point where wider political motivations provide a reason for committing these acts, will we see these acts occurring on an increasingly frequency?

I was a bit surprised to read that the worst Breivik could get for this is 21 years.
I know that 'for life' in many places means 20-25 years but usually there is a cop-out for that in extreme cases.
I am not an expert on Norwegian law (or any other country's for that matter), so I can't say, whether there is an option for 'real' for-life hidden somewhere.
Breivik would not be an old man in 2032 and Norwegian prisons are clearly preferable to e.g. Texan (or some Californian) ones from an inmate's POV.

I just read a comment by a Norwegian at another place that says that there are indeed ways to get to real for-life, so ignore my previous comment apart form the part about better prisons.

Here are some Israeli rightwingers who approved the massacre. There's a certain personality type here that seems to transcend all ethnic and religious divisions--

ynet

Sorry, that was from the Forward, not ynet.

Roger Cohen on Islamophobia and the crazed loner excuse

link

I should have done more websurfing yesterday--all these people said things better than I did. Andrew Sullivan--

link">http://andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com/2011/07/bawer-vs-bawer.html">link

His concluding paragraphs--

"In fact, this "madman" was, by Bruce's own judgment, "both highly intelligent and very well read in European history and the history of modern ideas." It is precisely this blind spot by the anti-Islamist right that made me and others get off the train. They have every right to point out supine government capitulation to restrictions on free speech, and the worst forms of Islamist violence and rhetoric. I second every one of them. Where they went over the top was in the demonization of an entire religion, and in fomenting the Steynian specter that Muslim aliens were bent on destroying Christian Europe by demographic numbers, and that all this was aided and abetted by every European leader in a multicultural, left-wing conspiracy to destroy Christendom.

If you buy those very arguments, as expressed by Berwick (and Geller and Spencer), what option do you really have but the fascist solutions he recommends and the neo-fascist violence he unleashed? When an entire population in your midst is the enemy within and your government is acquiescing to it and your entire civilization is thereby doomed, what does Bruce think a blue-eyed patriot like Berwick should do? Is the leap to violence so obviously insane? Or is it actually the only logical conclusion to the tyranny Berwick believed he faced?"

I think people are confusing 2 entirely different things: one is a person so outside the bounds of normalcy that they willing (gleefully?) kill other human beings, maybe or not including themselves, and two - people who believe all the c**p they hear, and need a scapegoat to blame because their life is miserable.
the first case will find any reason kill, and the second won't, even though they are true believers. The leap to that kind of violence - especially as a loner - is quite obviously nuts.

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