Anders Behring Breivik, terrorism, and those who make excuses for terrorism - blog by Gurdur

 




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Anders Behring Breivik, terrorism, and those who make excuses for terrorism
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Posted 24-Jul-2011 at 06:37 PM (18:37) by Gurdur
Updated 24-Jul-2011 at 07:42 PM (19:42) by Gurdur

Terrorism is the use of violent acts intended to create terror and which deliberately target or disregard the safety of non-combatant civilians, in pursuit of any alleged goal. By that and by any other reasonable definition of terrorism, Anders Behring Breivik is a terrorist. There is no excuse; he is a terrorist. The murder of innocents; Breivik went out of his way to specifically murder innocents, whether in Oslo or in Utøya, many of them young teenagers. He is also a classical narcissist, unable to see others as independent people, unable to empathize in any meaningful way. People are for him just props to his own ego; he was able without any inhibition to murder almost a hundred people face to face. So many terrorists are narcissists; Osama Bin Laden, so many in the Taliban, so many elsewhere.

Is there any common origin of terrorism that arises from the purported goal? Is there any common origin of terrorism from ideology or mental illness? No. As Andrew Brown in the Guardian notes, Breivik is not Christian but anti-Muslim. There have been leftwing terrorists, rightwing terrorists, Christian terrorists, there have been atheist terrorists, Muslim terrorists, there have been Jewish terrorists, Sikh terrorists, Hindu ones. There is no one single source of terrorism. There is no common origin in alleged ideology or goals, and there is no mental illness that causes terrorism. Narcissism of the sort discussed here is not a "mental illness" in any meaningful way. It is arrant, uninformed, unscientific nonsense to talk of Breivik as "deranged", "delusional and insane". Any cursory examination of his acts shows long-term careful planning, and his writings do not show any symptomatic "word-salad" features - frequent desciptions of his manifesto as "rambling" are exaggerated. By any medical and scientific standards, he shows no evident psychosis. That may change later, upon deeper examination now that he is in custody - but judging from the history of suchlike acts and people, it's unlikely. Terrorism and narcissism of this sort are not compulsive nor a psychosis, and the narcissism involved is often encouraged by the person, that is, many narcissists encourage themselves to be ever more narcissistic, egocentric, unempathetic and disinhibited.

And many use a crowd to do so. They crowd-source their narcissism and disinhibition. Breivik was just such a one; he used social media to encourage his own fantasies about Muslims taking over Norway and to promote his crusade. Breivik had his own so-called motives (also see this), but his own over-reaching motive was his narcissism. He encouraged himself in that through his contacts to the English Defence League (EDL). But what is really disgusting, now that Breivik is in custody awaiting trial, and now that the Norwegian police are seeking any accomplices, is the crowd who want to excuse him, or who appear to excuse him. First of all those who appear to be very obviously, deliberately and blatantly excusing his acts (wether that is actually their intention or not): "kevinsmith" (quite easily a false name) in comments under a Daily Telegraph piece: "It's precisely because of the lack of debate and action on immigration that this event has occurred".

Nonsense. Debate in Norway on immigration has occured a good deal, and to pretend an alleged lack of debate is a reason to murder innocents in cold blood is exactly what it looks like.

Other reactions are too numerous to list, so just a few as examples, like this Belgian forum here, translation here, where a poster named "Niehielist" makes all sorts of excuses and calls for a revolt. @EverythingEDL has done a very good job of quickly chronicling EDL reactions to the Breivik terrorism incident: see here, and here ("atrocious but necessary"), here and here. @EverythingEDL has also researched into links between the EDL and its Norwegian counterparts. Edited to add: @EverythingEDL has also now detailed how Breivik sent his manifesto to a great many people, apparently including EDL members.

Then the others in weasel words:

"devorgilla" in comments (23 July 2011, 10:52 am) under a blog post: "Breivik’s attack is on the Labour policies of Jens Stoltenberg. My fear is that it will be totally counter productive and will only act to stymie rational debate on immigration".

No. Breivik's attack was on unarmed innocents, many of them young teenagers. Any problem with acknowledging that?

Sov_Res in comments under a different blog post: "... Self-evidently Breivik targetted the Labour party: the authors of Norway's ruinous immigration policy. ..."

No. Breivik targeted unarmed innocents. Exactly why is that not being acknowledged? There's quite a world of difference between actual targets and ostensible excuses. I had a Twitter correspondence with @Sov_Res about that one; he accused me of trying to silence him, and abused me as a "liar and a fool" - and that after I said I would inform him of my post once up (as I have now done), and allow him the right of reply! But straight off let's look at another comment @Sov_Res made under the same blog post:

Quote:
"Ethnic Norwegians are forecast to be a minority in as little as ten years. Consider how profound this is when Norway has only been an independent nation for just over a hundred years and has no colonial or imperial past. The Labour Party in Norway is responsible for all of this. There is evidence that Breivik was following this narrative closely.
age-of-treason.blogspot.com/2011/07/norway-attacks-anders-behring-breivik Not an excuse. An explanation."
When you follow that link, the blogger in question has as self-description:

Quote:
"A pro-White perspective on jewish influence, globalism, the immigration invasion and islamic jihad - and the tendency toward treason they inspire. Stop immigration. Eject the invaders. Hang the traitors."
Charming. Linking to an open anti-semitic racist (who there also openly seems to call for murder - "Hang the traitors") as an alleged "explanation"? It's all utter nonsense anyway; any quick check on Norway shows that currently only just over 11% of the population is of even partial immigratory roots (a much, much lower percentage than in my own country of nationality, Australia) -- and the two largest groups of immigrants are from Sweden and Poland. So much for the fantasies of being drowned by non-whites or Jews. Any other quick check of Norway also shows that just under 80% of Norwegian citizens belong to the "Evangelical Lutheran Church of Norway". So much for the rabid fantasies of drowning in Muslims and Jews. But this kind of nonsense is peddled by many as here, repeating mindless slogans about "Eurabia".

When you look at actual terrorism statistics in the West, for example the USA between 2002 and 2005, you see that Islamists are only a small proportion of terrorist offenders (also see here and here).

As the New York Times and Guardian have observed. it's time to examine closely the rise of extremist rightwing sentiment in Europe. And it's become time to examine very closely the EDL in Britain. All terrorism of any kind from anyone at all must always be fought against.

And anyone making excuses in any way at all for the actions of Anders Behring Breivik should be shown up for making excuses.




        


              

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  1. Old Comment
    layanglicana's Avatar
    Thank-you Gurdur for this sane piece of analysis.

    I think you are right to start with an attempt at a definition of terrorism. I am not being rude in describing it as an attempt - the latest effort by the British government to define it is here, when in 2007 Lord Carlile said:
    Quote:
    There is no single definition of terrorism that commands full international approval.
    The crucial question, which Lord Carlile also raises (p.25), is whether we are essentially dealing with a one-off (like the unabomber) or whether this is really the opening salvo in a ?neo-Nazi romantic 'Knights Templar' group (the 'Da Vinci Code' etc have a lot to answer for!) I hope very much that it is the former, with some encouragement from crazies who like to sit by the fireside and dream but who present no actual threat since they would never act out their fantasies. Time will tell.
    Posted 24-Jul-2011 at 07:40 PM (19:40) by layanglicana layanglicana is offline
  2. Old Comment
    Gurdur's Avatar
    Update:

    Quote:
    "@Sov_Res Bollocks - especially since I had already informed you you have right of reply. Here is my blog post: http://goo.gl/vWrQY "
    when I informed @Sov_Res (quoted above) that my blog post was up, and repeated for the 3rd time he had right of reply (so much for his claim of trying to "silence" him), he replied to me:

    Quote:
    "@Gurdur Sadly I have a daily limit for reading vapid tosh, and you've exceeded mine today already."
    I interpret that as a refusal to reply.

    It should also be noted that @Sov_Res seems to have deleted certain tweets he sent to me previously - they're missing from the timeline. Can't think why! But I do have the email copies of them. Edited to add: he's also trying to play silly games on Twitter with me. He has plenty of time for that but no time for a reply. Tsk.
    Posted 24-Jul-2011 at 07:48 PM (19:48) by Gurdur Gurdur is offline
    Updated 24-Jul-2011 at 08:05 PM (20:05) by Gurdur
  3. Old Comment
    Gurdur's Avatar
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by layanglicana View Comment
    ...
    The crucial question, which Lord Carlile also raises (p.25), is whether we are essentially dealing with a one-off (like the unabomber) or whether this is really the opening salvo in a ?neo-Nazi romantic 'Knights Templar' group (the 'Da Vinci Code' etc have a lot to answer for!) I hope very much that it is the former, with some encouragement from crazies who like to sit by the fireside and dream but who present no actual threat since they would never act out their fantasies. Time will tell.
    Thanks, Laura. Narcissists will use anything as background and romanticization; whether this is an opening salvo depends a great deal on how authorities react, whether they react quickly and intelligently enough. Certainly there is a good deal of propaganda and whipping up sentiment before Breivik's deeds.
    Posted 24-Jul-2011 at 08:04 PM (20:04) by Gurdur Gurdur is offline
  4. Old Comment

    Narcissism?

    Gurdur - why do you believe him to be a classical narcissist, incapable of empathy? I've been reading his manifesto, and he strikes me as being remarkably normal and rational in virtually every respect.

    (Obviously, the respect in which he isn't is the fact that he chose to pursue outrageous evil - that's rather different to being a narcissist. I suspect you're on stronger ground in arguing that he was deluded - but then we'd have to get into the specifics of his manifesto.)
    Posted 24-Jul-2011 at 09:21 PM (21:21) by Elizaphanian Elizaphanian is offline
  5. Old Comment
    Tharmas's Avatar
    Thank you for an extremely thoughtful piece, with many useful links.

    I was unaware that apologists were already appearing, but perhaps it’s not all that surprising.

    I do believe however that there is much more to be said – and debated – about the perpetrator’s mental state, and whether or not we would call it a psychosis. You comment on his narcissism, which certainly seems real enough. I note that his twitter account shows 112 “followers” and 0 that he was following.

    In addition, he certainly suffered from obsession. He has what was once called an idee fixe, a belief that neither argument nor facts can shake, and which consumes one’s attention. I quote Wikipedia on idee fixe:

    Idée fixe began as a parent category of obsession,[5] and as a preoccupation of mind the idée fixe resembles today's obsessive-compulsive disorder: although the afflicted person can think, reason and act like other people, they are unable to stop a particular train of thought or action.[6] However, in obsessive-compulsive disorder, the victim recognizes the absurdity of the obsession or compulsion, not necessarily the case with an idée fixe, which normally is a delusion.[7] Today, the term idée fixe does not denote a specific disorder in psychology, and does not appear as a technical designation in the Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders.[8] Nonetheless, idée fixe is used still as a descriptive term,[9] and appears in dictionaries of psychology.[10]

    As is pointed out in that definition, being able to set and achieve specific goals does not therefore mean that one is entirely rational.

    Now that said, whether such a psychosis, if that’s the correct term, overrules one’s judgment of right and wrong, I do not know. The fact is that the vast majority of political extremists and monomaniacs pose no threat to anybody, whereas Breivik seems to have acted in cold blood.
    Posted 24-Jul-2011 at 09:38 PM (21:38) by Tharmas Tharmas is offline
  6. Old Comment
    Gurdur's Avatar

    Narcissism?

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Elizaphanian View Comment
    Gurdur - why do you believe him to be a classical narcissist, incapable of empathy?
    I didn't say he was incapable of it; I suspect he trained himself out of it. See below; in any case, whether born sociopathic or become it through his choices and so on, it makes no difference in the end, he had no empathy, see just below.

    Quote:
    I've been reading his manifesto, and he strikes me as being remarkably normal and rational in virtually every respect.
    No-one said he was not "rational". There is no incompatibility between rationality and narcissism; I've stressed carefully how his conduct leads one to first assume he was not mad, he was quite "rational". Just a narcissistic arsehole, though.

    Have you any idea of just how difficult it is for most of us to kill someone, face to face? The act of murder face to face is a dreadfully intimate act, and most of us find ourselves utterly unwilling to do it, and most of us who end up murdering someone will leave it at one victim. Breivik, on the other hand, called people to him, then shot them at close range, one after the other, up to 90 or more. That, that alone, indicates an utter absence of empathy.

    His life was not under threat, the only cause he was fighting for was his own fantasy, he was facing unarmed teenagers, children, young adults. He killed them face to face, repeatedly, almost 100. They were not real for him, just props for his fantasy. Not people, just things to him. That explain it enough?

    Quote:
    (Obviously, the respect in which he isn't is the fact that he chose to pursue outrageous evil - that's rather different to being a narcissist. I suspect you're on stronger ground in arguing that he was deluded - but then we'd have to get into the specifics of his manifesto.)
    Please. Exactly why do you think I am on weak ground? And you think I would be on "stronger ground" to call him deluded? No, not at all, That's far, far weaker; that is confusing things. Delusion is a medical term. Misusing it like that says nothing about him. He was not deluded in any forensic sense, unless you can show somehow there is a chance he was in an active psychosis? Can you do that at all?

    A delusion is a hallucination which the experiencer believes to be true. Medically speaking. What makes you think he was "deluded", and can you define what you mean? Because you're not talking from forensic psychology there, but seemingly from mistaken street lingo.
    Posted 24-Jul-2011 at 09:49 PM (21:49) by Gurdur Gurdur is offline
    Updated 24-Jul-2011 at 10:15 PM (22:15) by Gurdur
  7. Old Comment
    Gurdur's Avatar
    Hiya, Tharmas, many thanks for the critique here.

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Tharmas View Comment
    .... I do believe however that there is much more to be said – and debated – about the perpetrator’s mental state, and whether or not we would call it a psychosis. ...
    Perhaps. It's the absence of evidence which leads me to many conclusions; no-one commented on other medical symptoms such as him trembling, frebrile sweating or whatever, he showed long-term planning, etc., so no drug-psychosis, nothing like that, no signs of infection, no acute psychosis of any kind to be noticed in any way so far.

    Quote:
    In addition, he certainly suffered from obsession. He has what was once called an idee fixe, a belief that neither argument nor facts can shake, and which consumes one’s attention.
    It's easy enough to obsess oneself; I doubt he was obsessed in a medical use of the word. Again, the absence of certain things, he showed no signs of classical paranioa in his writings, no hint of being personally persecuted.

    I may well be wrong, and he may be a classical paranoid schizophrenic, or suffering from the effects of something like a brain tumour, but I sincerely doubt it. The lack of other symptoms which would be present in such cases of actual mental illness.

    Quote:
    However, in obsessive-compulsive disorder, the victim recognizes the absurdity of the obsession or compulsion, not necessarily the case with an idée fixe, which normally is a delusion.
    Yet mostly that goes together with other symptoms and stereotypical behaviour; so far there has been no report of those at all. He has spoken to his lawyer, and wishes to blame the government for his deeds; no hint of a persecution mania or the like.

    Quote:
    .... Now that said, whether such a psychosis, if that’s the correct term, overrules one’s judgment of right and wrong, I do not know. The fact is that the vast majority of political extremists and monomaniacs pose no threat to anybody, whereas Breivik seems to have acted in cold blood.
    Most actively mentally ill will only hurt themselves, never anyone else.

    The acting in cold blood, the lack of emotion, the refusal to take moral responsibility in any way -- all this for me indicates a matter of choices made over time, no psychosis.

    The fact that such extremes are so rare is why we have so much trouble dealing with them; but his motives and view spring out of everyday arrogance and resentment (no matter how he exaggerated them), not psychosis, IMHO.
    Posted 24-Jul-2011 at 10:00 PM (22:00) by Gurdur Gurdur is offline
    Updated 25-Jul-2011 at 04:29 PM (16:29) by Gurdur
  8. Old Comment
    Gurdur's Avatar
    By the way, here is a good piece from someone who knew Breivik a little personally -- and who knew well the atmosphere Breivik moved in. Note how she mentions how people in that atmosphere egged each other on -- exactly what I was saying.
    Posted 24-Jul-2011 at 10:18 PM (22:18) by Gurdur Gurdur is offline
  9. Old Comment
    Tharmas's Avatar
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Gurdur View Comment

    The fact that such extremes are so rare is why we have so much trouble dealing with them...
    I think that is a key observation. Even in my U.S. gun-obsessed culture, the occurrence of true sober, premeditated murder is not as common as one might expect.
    Posted 24-Jul-2011 at 11:03 PM (23:03) by Tharmas Tharmas is offline
  10. Old Comment
    Gurdur's Avatar
    Nice to see someone else who backs up my opinion on Breivik:

    Source:

    Quote:
    Marc Sageman, a former C.I.A. officer and a consultant on terrorism, said it would be unfair to attribute Mr. Breivik’s violence to the writers who helped shape his world view. But at the same time, he said the counterjihad writers do argue that the fundamentalist Salafi branch of Islam “is the infrastructure from which Al Qaeda emerged. Well, they and their writings are the infrastructure from which Breivik emerged.”

    “This rhetoric,” he added, “is not cost-free.”

    Dr. Sageman, who is also a forensic psychiatrist, said he saw no overt signs of mental illness in Mr. Breivik’s writings.
    Posted 25-Jul-2011 at 04:28 PM (16:28) by Gurdur Gurdur is offline
  11. Old Comment

    more comments

    I would like to add some comments to Gurdur's excellent analysis.
    The murderer seems to be definitely narcisstic to me, in the way that he wants a lot of public attention and that sees himself as a hero.
    Like many people he chooses the way of destruction and death because this is the EASIER way. It is far easier - and faster - to make a point and an impression by destroying someting than building up something.
    I heard that he called out to the youths that they should turn to him for help, and then he shot them. This is really easy. It is an easy and lazy way to get the attention he wants.

    It also makes me sick just thinking about it.

    I admire the reaction of the Norwegian public. So far they did not fall into the murderers trap to change the society into being more restrictive and mistrusting. They really do not want to compromise their open and democratic society. As their president, Jens Stoltenberg, said: "Freedom is stronger than fear."
    My heart goes out to them.
    Posted 25-Jul-2011 at 05:48 PM (17:48) by Unregistered
  12. Old Comment
    Gurdur's Avatar

    more comments

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Unregistered View Comment
    .... Like many people he chooses the way of destruction and death because this is the EASIER way. It is far easier - and faster - to make a point and an impression by destroying someting than building up something.
    Many thanks for your comment, and here you make an extremely important point.

    Quote:
    It also makes me sick just thinking about it.
    Yes. Me too, very much so.
    Posted 25-Jul-2011 at 06:24 PM (18:24) by Gurdur Gurdur is offline
  13. Old Comment
    Hi Gurdur - your system stopped sending me replies after the first one, that's why I hadn't come back.

    As to the substance I think you're tracking back from your original post: you originally wrote "He is also a classical narcissist, unable to see others as independent people, unable to empathize in any meaningful way" which I glossed as 'incapable'. You now say that it was a matter of self-training, which I would agree with - but I see that as different to 'unable/incapable'. You disagree - but semantic arguments are pretty sterile.

    I'm going to bow out of this conversation until I return from my holiday in 2 weeks time.
    Posted 25-Jul-2011 at 11:21 PM (23:21) by Elizaphanian Elizaphanian is offline
  14. Old Comment

    where

    Where exactly do you get atheist terrorism from tamil tigers and anarchism?
    Posted 26-Jul-2011 at 12:44 AM (00:44) by Unregistered
  15. Old Comment
    Gurdur's Avatar

    where

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Unregistered View Comment
    Where exactly do you get atheist terrorism from tamil tigers and anarchism?
    Because in both cases a great many of them were atheists? The LTTE were very secular indeed, and included many atheists. It's not terribly accurate to see the Propaganda of the Deed people as just "anarchists"; quite a few weren't, really.

    By the way, you conflate two things there: I said, "there have been atheist terrorists", you talk of "atheist terrorism", which in practice is somewhat different a thing, no?

    As for terrorism carried out in the name of atheism: that's a long discussion, and a complex one; there have been cases where atheism was one of the numerous motives cited by the perps (just for example, Communist China colonial policy directed against the Buddhists in Tibet, for example; and in some few cases in the very early stages of the Spanish Civil War.

    However, by and large, terrorism carried out in the name of atheism has been very rare indeed; it happened a few times, but excepting Tibet, it's been historically very rare (though one could cite the state suppression of religion in the Soviet bloc in the 20's and 30's, too, I guess, though state-implemented terrorism is a whole different kettle of fish on the whole).

    Religious, national, and class terrorism (including terrorism from the rich towards strikers and so on) has been historically far, far more common, and thereby too the number of religious terrorists. However, even given the huge disparity in numbers, it serves no good purpose to deny the historical fact that there have been indeed terrorists who were atheists.

    I may well be an atheist myself, and I am so; but I am determined to be very truthful on these matters.
    Posted 26-Jul-2011 at 12:59 AM (00:59) by Gurdur Gurdur is offline
  16. Old Comment
    Gurdur's Avatar
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Elizaphanian View Comment
    .... As to the substance I think you're tracking back from your original post: you originally wrote "He is also a classical narcissist, unable to see others as independent people, unable to empathize in any meaningful way" which I glossed as 'incapable'. You now say that it was a matter of self-training,
    No, pardon me, I said I supected self-training. I cannot see this as backtracking at all, and you have not answered any of my questions, including as to why you would think whether he was born sociopathic -- which some most certainly seem to be -- or whether he trained himself in that would play any earthly difference. Exactly why do you think this is an important distinction or point? I don't see this as an important distinction (born or self-trained) whatsoever in this. Can you please explain?

    Quote:
    which I would agree with - but I see that as different to 'unable/incapable'. You disagree - but semantic arguments are pretty sterile.
    I did ask you why you thought his appearing "normal and rational" should preclude socioathy -- absolute incapability for genuine empathy. Most sociopaths, most of those incapable of genuine empathy, do appear normal and rational. Would you please explain your reasoning, once you get back?
    Posted 26-Jul-2011 at 01:04 AM (01:04) by Gurdur Gurdur is offline
    Updated 26-Jul-2011 at 01:45 AM (01:45) by Gurdur
  17. Old Comment
    iamwombat's Avatar
    Very good suppositions & analysis Gurdur, and accurate I'll warrant. Sociopaths are often very clever and demur in an interrogation or self proclamation as in a manifesto published or distributed; it's one way that some even attract followers. I don't know enough to guess at whether or not the guy is charismatic as well. He certainly won't appear to be any time soon. I agree he's without empathy and very conceited and self absorbed, I understand how he easily could be classically conditioned by his own conduct and line of thinking over time especially with 'help' from others who share his need to vent on with rhetoric against a whole group (Muslim) as if the individuals (actual terrorists) within that group are representative of all members. It will be interesting to see how a defense is mounted by his attorney's, I have no clue as to how the law in Norway works regarding criminal insanity pleas.
    Posted 26-Jul-2011 at 02:19 AM (02:19) by iamwombat iamwombat is offline
  18. Old Comment
    Gurdur's Avatar
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by iamwombat View Comment
    .... I agree he's without empathy and very conceited and self absorbed, ....
    Here you make a very important point. A murderer is a man who will burn down your house just to fry himself some eggs; arrogance, resentment, narcissism.

    Quote:
    ... I have no clue as to how the law in Norway works regarding criminal insanity pleas.
    I will research that and blog on it.
    Posted 26-Jul-2011 at 12:11 PM (12:11) by Gurdur Gurdur is offline
  19. Old Comment

    why he's a narcissist

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by elizaphanian
    why do you believe him to be a classical narcissist, incapable of empathy? I've been reading his manifesto
    It sounds like you've been reading his manifesto from the beginning. Try reading it, starting from the end, and you'll see why he's a narcissist. Very much so.
    There are pictures of him standing decked out in full regalia, in various uniforms at the end; looking proud.
    He has a Q&A about his preferences, personal life, etc., as if he expected people would want to interview him as a gifted and remarkable celebrity. He goes on and on about himself. His ^&*^ resume is in there!
    And just the fact that he wrote this manifesto at all. He shares his whole bomb-making process with the world. He wants attention.
    And right away, the media and the consumers of the media jump in to give him attention, just like they give a disproportionate importance to other terrorist acts.
    There are other causes of death that kill vastly more people, and are usually preventable. Like heart disease, and even car accidents. Car accidents kill about 50,000 people in the United States every year, and heart attacks kill millions. But they aren't news.
    This guy murdered about 80 people. Even 9-11 killed only about 3000 people. But it had an effect on people far beyond that, fueled by the media.
    Yes, it was an easy way to quick fame. Much easier than this guy using his obvious intelligence to be a scientist.
    I doubt it's going to promote right-wing extremism. It seems like it will discredit it. It doesn't make sense as a way to promote his views. So the alternate explanation, that he was subconsciously seeking attention and wanted to victimize children for some psychological reason, becomes more viable.
    Anyone who's uncomfortable about the growing Muslim presence in Europe will have to fend off a connection of those views to sheer horrible brutality.
    Laura
    Posted 26-Jul-2011 at 06:37 PM (18:37) by Unregistered
  20. Old Comment

    ps

    and in his manifesto right before the bombing, he prays: instructing God that helping him is the best way to forward God's aims in the world. Yes, he's a narcissist.
    His manifesto is very creepy, in how normal he sounds. He goes on about his bomb-making, telling us his thoughts and plans with cheerful insouciance. He has a sense of humor about it. There are smileys all over. His comments and jokes reminded me of myself! And you think - what he's actually doing here is preparing for butchery, and it's as if he thought he was killing characters in an online game. It's permeated with the internet.
    While he prepares for mass murder, he worries about his own precious health and his body; the possibility of getting liver cancer from the substances he's working with.
    This guy did a lot of his socializing online, and online culture can separate people from reality. Perhaps he's a new kind of murderer, one that gestates on the internet.
    Laura
    Posted 26-Jul-2011 at 07:42 PM (19:42) by Unregistered
  21. Old Comment
    Gurdur's Avatar

    why he's a narcissist

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Unregistered View Comment
    ... I doubt it's going to promote right-wing extremism. It seems like it will discredit it. It doesn't make sense as a way to promote his views.
    Hiya Laura, really interesting remarks of yours; allow me please to demur a bit. Here, he wasn't promoting his views as such, but would have thought of it as rallying the troops, showing a flag. Many advocates of views of all kinds seek to rally those who agree with them, rather than making straight appeals to the public.

    Quote:
    So the alternate explanation, that he was subconsciously seeking attention and wanted to victimize children for some psychological reason, becomes more viable.
    This is a very interesting point; but I am skeptical. There is news he wanted to target a particular young woman politician at the island, and only missed because she had left the island before he got there on the day.

    Quote:
    Anyone who's uncomfortable about the growing Muslim presence in Europe will have to fend off a connection of those views to sheer horrible brutality.
    Laura
    Well, indeed. Hopefully it will teach a lot of people they will really need to take care how they express themselves, and get them to look carefully at what they are expressing, in full detail. We all need to do that about everything, and they can too.
    Posted 26-Jul-2011 at 08:05 PM (20:05) by Gurdur Gurdur is offline
  22. Old Comment
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by gurdur
    Many advocates of views of all kinds seek to rally those who agree with them, rather than making straight appeals to the public.
    I don't see that it brings secret agreement out of the closet, either. Not any more than it would push secret agreement into the closet. The sheer horror and brutality of what he did - murdering the young soon to be adults - strikes at something so personal and precious to people.
    Quote:
    There is news he wanted to target a particular young woman politician at the island, and only missed because she had left the island before he got there on the day.
    He can certainly both have a target and be acting out a personal psychodrama. He seems clearly narcissistic, and that means he has a lot of psychological things going on under the surface that he's not in touch with. Those things would have been manifested when he murdered people. In who he murdered and how he did it, and that he did it.
    There are many ways someone could react, holding the beliefs he did. What they actually do, expresses their psychology.
    About the internet - it reminds me of the Casey Anthony trial here in the United States. She was acquitted of murdering her toddler daughter, and now she's free. But she's in hiding, in something like a witness protection program. To protect her from people who want to do what she was accused of and they think she got away with - murder. She would be a lot safer if her trial hadn't been all over the internet. There have been so many slavering, sadistic comments about what people would like to do to her. And they all get together, they get validation from each other - they are righteously outraged - and for some of them, actually going out and shooting her or someone who looks like her, becomes a real option. They aren't in reality when they write the comments, they're free to indulge whatever horrible fantasy they like, and for someone unhinged it may turn into reality.
    This guy Breivik is much more extreme than the Casey Anthony haters, but it seems like the same kind of process. Something where the murder is brewed up in an impersonal way online. He planned it for years before he saw any of the people he'd planned to murder.
    Posted 26-Jul-2011 at 09:15 PM (21:15) by Unregistered
  23. Old Comment
    Gurdur's Avatar
    More from those who do not find Breivik "insane" or "mad" ---
    Professor Andrew Silke, author of "The Psychology of Counter-Terrorism", speaks on why Breivik is a terrorist and not insane, in a BBC piece, and Guy Walters reinforces some points in a blog post of his on The New Statesman blogs.
    Posted 27-Jul-2011 at 02:04 PM (14:04) by Gurdur Gurdur is offline
  24. Old Comment

    Not insane, no

    I don't think Breivik is insane either. He's not disconnected. Unlike Loughner for example. There was a video Loughner posted on Youtube that I watched and it was typical of a crazy person - syllogisms he thinks are logical and actually don't make any sense. As if he were trying to cling onto logical and rationality in the face of his thought disorder. Or people who say things that are original but don't make any sense really.
    There are lots and lots of people who are somewhat like Breivik. They aren't crazy, you don't get the feeling that something is fundamentally wrong with their minds. BUT, they have a lot of psychological things going on underneath that they aren't in touch with, that drive their lives, and they haven't even begun to try to cope with. They might be helped by therapy but they don't go through the process of integrating their "demons".
    They don't usually murder people with a gun, but they can be very destructive to be around because of the buried unconscious stuff that drives them, the hostility they express but don't acknowledge. They are murderers in a small way.
    What makes Breivik so creepy, what suggests a huge amount of buried rage and other feelings, is his dissociation from his victims. His lack of fellow feeling. And his narcissism, which goes along with buried rage.
    Yes, people can argue that it's "really about" political aims and not buried psychological forces. But, several things can be said about that:
    First is that terrorist groups are *groups*, and it's different when groups murder (or "kill" or "win a war"). The murder is split among different people. One person plans it out, and doesn't actually do it themselves. Other people do the killing, but they're following orders, and they might be severely punished or killed themselves if they refuse. So the people involved don't have to be as psychologically disturbed as a "lone wolf". The soldiers who are actually killing people are very traumatized by it a lot of the time because they AREN'T dissociated like this guy Breivik is. They do know they're murdering people.
    Also, war does involve a lot of psychological things. Like, raping the women on the "other side" is very common in war. It has nothing to do with a tactical advantage. War is very abusive to the soldiers and it makes them abusive. So even though war is "really about" concrete material goals, it is also about psychology.
    I've read about the causes of terrorism. There's been a lot of research about it. One psychological cause that's mentioned is the tendency to seek some outside force like the United States to be a scapegoat for social problems. People are angry at one thing, but they express it by hostility to something else which is not the actual cause, but serves to make them think they're doing something about their anger without challenging things that are too difficult for them to challenge, like their own oppressive government or their own oppressive society or family.
    What this guy Breivik did doesn't seem to me to be actually furthering his goals at all. I don't know when brutal mass murder has succeeded in promoting a movement. The social changes that have happened, haven't been promoted by murder. For example, the environmental movement in the United States was jump-started by a BOOK, Rachel Carson's "Silent Spring". And Greenpeace has gained respect and legitimacy as an advocate for the environment, NOT by murdering people but by brave civil disobedience. I don't respect them, but a lot of people do.
    So he acted irrationally, and when someone is being irrational one starts thinking of psychological motivations. Him murdering a lot of children also invites a psychological interpretation. To speculate, and it's only speculation - his deceiving children, teenagers by pretending to be a reassuring authority, a policeman there to restore order and bring safety, then killing them, sounds like an echo of something that happened to him as a victim, like he's reenacting it as the perpetrator, which would allow him to re-experience it in a way that doesn't feel very traumatic for him - but probably was actually very traumatic.
    I can actually relate to some of what Breivik says. He suggests that indigenous Norwegians might have reservations, just like Native Americans in the United States. Well, why not? if Nordic culture and identity is endangered, why not try to preserve it? And if immigrating Muslims really are a threat, if there's a danger of sharia law or vicious oppression of women, that's a serious concern. It doesn't sound loopy, especially when he talks about having been assaulted by Muslims, that makes sense as a motivation for his beliefs. I don't know how real his perceived danger is, I live in the United States not Europe, and people don't regard Muslims as a threat here. But Muslims in the United States aren't an underclass as I've read they are in Europe, so it's different.
    Laura
    Posted 27-Jul-2011 at 05:52 PM (17:52) by Unregistered
  25. Old Comment
    Gurdur's Avatar
    His preceived danger is way over-exaggerated. But when you have people like Pamela Geller and Pat Buchanan seeking to excuse his deeds by claiming - in the face of the facts - that Breivik was incided by Muslim supremacists (Geller) or that the real danger is Muslims (Pat Buchanan) - despite it's rightwing terrorists like Breivik doing the killing, not Muslims - then maybe you see my point why Breivik would have felt his action was a rally-call to the troops.

    So irrational Breivik wasn't; certainly, his targets and choice of action are to us wholly abhorrent, wrong and wrong-headed. But to him? That was his choice, it made sense under the premises he holds. He doesn't show irrationality so much as simply moral vacancy and narcissistic fantasizing.
    Posted 27-Jul-2011 at 06:35 PM (18:35) by Gurdur Gurdur is offline
  26. Old Comment

    death penalty

    It made me wonder whether the death penalty is sometimes justified, seeing the smirk on Breivik's face as he was driven away by the police. He murdered all those people, so brutally - and he knows that he won't himself be physically harmed for it! He knew he could avoid physical harm by surrendering to the police. In the United States, at least in a death penalty state, he wouldn't have any assurance that he would survive his encounter with the authorities.
    I don't think in reality that being locked up for someone's whole life would ever be OK. I bet a lot of people who are locked up for life wish they were dead (and they should have the right to choose to die). He probably imagined it differently; he probably thought "oh, I'll just read a lot of books and think a lot" or "I'll organize the movement from my jail cell". He seems to live in his own world, and part of that seems to be that he imagines he can orchestrate reality. Like, in his manifesto he write about the trial of a "Justiciar Knight", with a speech for the knight to give in the courtroom. I doubt that he's actually going to be allowed to use the court as a platform for his views or give speeches. So far it hasn't been like that.
    But the risk of dying is a blunt fact and maybe it would have deterred him. He seems to care about his own survival and his health, worrying about the risk of liver cancer, etc.
    Laura
    Posted 27-Jul-2011 at 06:42 PM (18:42) by Unregistered
  27. Old Comment
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Gurdur
    when you have people like Pamela Geller and Pat Buchanan seeking to excuse his deeds by claiming - in the face of the facts - that Breivik was incided by Muslim supremacists (Geller) or that the real danger is Muslims (Pat Buchanan) - despite it's rightwing terrorists like Breivik doing the killing, not Muslims - then maybe you see my point why Breivik would have felt his action was a rally-call to the troops.

    So irrational Breivik wasn't; certainly, his targets and choice of action are to us wholly abhorrent, wrong and wrong-headed. But to him? That was his choice, it made sense under the premises he holds. He doesn't show irrationality so much as simply moral vacancy and narcissistic fantasizing.
    People (almost) always have a rationalization. That doesn't mean they're being rational. Part of being rational is taking reality as it is rather than substituting one's fantasy of how it would like it to be.

    Laura
    Posted 27-Jul-2011 at 07:01 PM (19:01) by Unregistered
  28. Old Comment
    Gurdur's Avatar
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Unregistered View Comment
    ... Part of being rational is taking reality as it is rather than substituting one's fantasy of how it would like it to be.
    Laura
    Yet that involves a great many value choices. Rationality is no clear-cut thing; while we have reasonably good tools to test if someone is being grossly irrational ("word-salad", bizarre disconnections and the like), we really don't have such good tests for what is rational, and rational can often depend on what side one is on -- therefore the existence of politics and the eternal process of social and personal negotiation.
    Posted 27-Jul-2011 at 07:12 PM (19:12) by Gurdur Gurdur is offline
  29. Old Comment
    iamwombat's Avatar
    "He suggests that indigenous Norwegians might have reservations, just like Native Americans in the United States. Well, why not?" Reservations really didn't work out that well during inception or currently for very many Native populations in North America. I find more evidence to discount the death penalty than to support it, and no evidence to support the idea that it deters anyone from murdering others. I agree that among other motives he hopes this will ignite or inspire further similar acts by 'like-minded' people or groups. In the case of Tim McVeigh, there was ample support among para-militarist groups at the time for a nation wide uprising against the Government, it didn't occur but multiple shut-downs of militia groups did ensue, along with a continued strong reaction by FBI to new groups as they came online. Peregrinus found some info on Norway sentencing guidelines that say a 21 year term is the highest the hand down, with potential 5 year increments added if a review panel finds no rehabilitation to have occurred. From the looks of it, they have a better penal institution than not, meaning institutionalization may not be as big a problem there and reintegration into society might be easier for released inmates. Still looking into the Justice situation there. I for one do agree there are those who upon discovery, should be kept from mainstream society for life. Burdensome, yes, humane, depends on the system. This line of thinking is not prevalent in the U.S. I know, but hey, free thought, free speech.
    Posted 27-Jul-2011 at 09:38 PM (21:38) by iamwombat iamwombat is offline
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