I have consistently steered clear of discussing the 22/7 tragedy here, not wanting to create an impression – or perhaps, reinforce the imagined impression among some of the anti-Israeli crowd – that there is any kind of relationship between the horrible madness of ABB on the one side, and Israel on the other (you will remember that such a connection has been suggested by the Norwegian media).
The national debate following the investigation into the terror attacks has been anything but sober – anybody, who at any time may have expressed reservation about the pace and size of immigration, integration and multiculturalism, have found themselves cast in comparison with the mass murderer, and in the aftermath of the tragedy, the leader of the Labor Youth has suggested that in addition to freedom to express ourselves freely, we now have the obligation to express ourselves responsibly (according to whose definition is not a problem he has bothered to expand upon).
In a similar vein, some activists on the opposite side of the political divide, may on occasion have been a little too sensitive, and read the most sinister interpretations into quite innocent comments from a political opponent.
We have also had the debate on the dinghy that sunk, the helicopters that were grounded because the whole crew had been sent on furlough, the inexplicable delay before the police finally arrived at Utøya, the Police Security Service’s allegation that they were not allowed to retain information on ABB’s purchase of artificial fertilizer, which was used to produce the bomb – an allegation they now admit was wrong.
Clumsily, the former minister of Justice, Knut Storberget, who stepped down on November 11, at one stage called a lawyer who represents several of the survivors, to ask her to calm down – and equally clumsy, Progressive Party parliamentary representative Per Sandberg accused the Labor party of playing the victim post 22/7.
In other words, not quite the rose garden that we sought refuge in the immediate days after the terror.
His Majesty King Harald recently said in an interview with the New York Times
“I think it still lies in the future how we will cope with this in the long run,” the king said in a rare interview last week. “We haven’t got to the stage where people have gotten mad yet. I think we’ll go through that as well. That has to come and go before we are finished with this. And we have to let that happen.”
Many people are shocked by this finding, reasonably so, also survivors. Talkback comments suggest that people worry that this finding will lead to a reduced sentencing for Behring Breivik, or even that he will be set early free.
However, we Norwegians have a good reason to be proud today. We are a country of Law, and even the one guilty of the ugliest and most heinous crime against our democratic institutions and budding political leaders, gets his day in court and due process. Even when we know that he is the perpetrator.
And now we also know what we have suspected all along – Behring Breivik is a sick, sick bastard. He alone, in his sick, warped mind planned this blood bath, he alone executed the blood bath and he alone is responsible for this blood bath. But the price for his madness, we all have to pay. And, maybe now, in particular if the Court upholds the findings of the psychiatric evaluation committee, we can allow ourselves to be angry – however without inflicting more damage on ourselves?
As a personal opinion, the conclusion of insanity may even be a good thing, given that the highest sentencing Behring Breivik could receive for his mass murder was 21 years. Now that he has been declared sick beyond repair, he may even be committed to an institution for the rest of his life. I think many people would appreciate the poetic justice in this.