The Breivik Trial

Anders Breivik is the guy who set off a bomb in downtown Oslo, then went to a youth retreat and ended up killing 77 people, mostly teenagers, last July. After two different mental evaluations, one calling him insane and a second (last week) saying he’s fit to be tried after all, the trial has begun

A lot of people are saying he’s claiming it was done in self defense, which is of course absurd. A friend of mine in Europe, though, corrected me on that: it’s actually a bad translation. He says he’s pleading “Nødrett”, which means that yes, he did it, but that it was a sort of emergency in which case he had no choice but to break the law. Which is almost even dumber. His manifesto claimed he was doing so because the government that’s in place is destroying Western and Norwegian culture by trying to be all-inclusive of other races and religions, referring in particular to Arabs. In other words, he couldn’t handle that the government doesn’t share his racism, and therefore it is his enemy.

It doesn’t need to be said that all of this is horrible, an atrocious and thinly-disguised vehicle to air out some racism with a little right-wing political venom on the side. But you know the part that really terrifies me? Fox News is covering it. While I know most of its viewers will agree that it was a horrible and misguided plea for attention, I have to say I’d be surprised if we didn’t, as a result, see some copycat activity here in the states. The fact that similar anti-government copycats have happened in other largely-peaceful nations isn’t lost on me.

There’s a tremendous amount of racial and political vitriol brewing in the US. It has been for a very long time but it’s looked ready to boil over among some groups recently. In particular I wonder about the Sovereign Citizen movement, which has even taken the ‘government is my enemy’ situation as far as prolonged armed standoffs with SWAT teams. The fact that the general amount of insanity floating around some areas of society has gotten that far just gives the impression that this new manifesto will merely provide similarly-weak justification to whatever random individual that was already looking to go out in a blaze of glory as long as they took a few government employees down with them.