Good post at This Ruthless World about the Norwegian mass-murderer, Anders Behring Breivik. I’ve been trying to avoid writing about it, because what the monster did sickens me so that I don’t really like to write about it, but I have a few thoughts on it. Like: what is the deal with the press’s endless focus on the video games the criminal played? It is true that it is a sign of a somewhat unhealthy mind to play games for many hours at a time, but come on; we don’t need help establishing that he is not a normal person. And I don’t think video games invented violence, so it is just possible that Breivik got the idea independent of gaming.
Moreover, as the Ruthless World post discusses, the man is probably not actually insane. The word they are looking for to describe him is “evil”. Why is it so hard for people to see the truth? Breivik is, for all intents and purposes, a Nazi. Now, ordinarily I hesitate to make comparisons to the Nazis, but when we are discussing someone who has committed mass-murder out of an explicit desire to preserve the purity of the Aryan race, I really think the comparison is justified.
“But weren’t the Nazis themselves insane?”, you may ask. Well, yes; many of them were. But remember, the Nazi leaders persuaded vast swaths of the German people to support them. The average German wasn’t insane; only brainwashed by propaganda and pressured by authority into doing the bidding of the insane. (Hannah Arendt wrote a book about this subject.) Breivik had no doubt read a good deal of neo-Nazi–and perhaps even paleo-Nazi–stuff, and consequently decided to commit his awful crimes.
He is not insane. He is simply very, very evil. He is a political extremist, who is willing to go to commit murder to advance his Nazi-esque philosophy. He is a terrorist, plain and simple, and I think he deserves the same fate as Timothy McVeigh, Osama bin Laden and every other terrorist, though I do not believe the Norwegians have the death penalty.