Norway and the search for political meaning
In the immediate aftermath of the January 8th 2011 shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in Tucson, Arizona, in which a dozen others were injured and six killed, the liberal media immediately assigned “right-wing” status to the shooter, Jared Lee Loughner. A big effort was mounted to pin responsibility onto the “cross-hair” image used by Sarah Palin and the “extreme language” generally of the Tea Party Movement. Loughner, it was eventually admitted, was registered as an independent voter. But more than that he was a psychopath. His hatred of Congresswoman Giffords was real but not rooted in reality. The liberal media did not apologise to Mrs Palin for its kneejerk display of hatred.
Now there is the Oslo bombing and the shootings at Utoya Island. The death toll stands currently at 84. The media has denounced the perpetrator, Anders Behring Breivik, 32, as “6ft tall and blond” with links to “neo-Nazis” - the links being a Stormfront account (obviously, the media thinks, or likes to think, that White Nationalism is National Socialism). It seems Breivik is actually a Christian fundamentalist who has posted “ravings” on SF against Islam.
But he did not bomb an Islamic building or shoot Moslems. He bombed a Norwegian government buildings and shot people associated with the governing party.
There is a major difference between an organised terror attack and the killing spree of a lone psychopath. Had the attacks in Norway been group-planned and executed by Islamic extemists the search for a political logic, however terrible and alien to our ears, would have had some validity. What political logic there may be, however, to the actions of the lone psychopath is strained through the filter of his insanity, and has no reference whatever to the world outside his head.
Breivik, of course, will be associated with “neo-Nazis” for evermore. There will be some deeply flawed people on the left who prostitute his name and the innocents he has killed to make a point about nationalism. Better than having to debate honestly. But ... no political meaning attaches to the actions of the classic lone psychopath.
Except perhaps this.
Psychopathy is always with us. The school bully, the overbearing boss, the neighbour from hell, the pub brawler ... the emotionally stunted and violently inclined exist everywhere, and always have. But why are there so many instances of psychopaths rampaging through schools or villages - or holiday islands - with a gun? Does the modern media create not their psychopathy but its expression in this form? Does the sundering of our connectedness and the loss of social capital - the fruits of liberalism - somehow increase the amount of harm a psychopath must cause to encounter his own coldness?
No, too difficult. Forget it. They’re all neo-Nazis, right?
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