...Let us note that the accused, one And3rs Behr!ng Bre!v!k,* is indeed a nutjob, but a clever one, who exploited the following weakness common to many European states and frequently found here:
1. He impersonated a police officer, using the disguise to bluff his way through to his selected pool of victims. After all, one should never, ever question duly constituted authority, no matter how oddball their demands: you can get in big, big trouble for "refusing to obey a lawful order," even when you have no idea if it is lawful or not (Ask William and Officer Harless from Canton, OH).
2. He counted on a centralized police agency to focus on the big boom, while he went off and did worse things. (Y'know when I was most worried about terrorist activities in the United States? Immediately after the first three on 9/11. With every day that passed, the probability of strikes dropped. --This does assume the planners were more-or-less sane and looking to maximize damage rather than shock/demoralize).
3. He picked a pool of very likely-to-be-unarmed victims. Just like Major Malik Nadal Hasan at Ft. Hood or any one of a long list of school shooters, he carefully chose unarmed victims. (Yes, kids, the U. S. Army does not, in fact, hand out guns unless they're in a place where there's fighting to be done; the only folks with sidearms there were police, just like New Jersey only without the mobsters).
So far, the press hasn't focused on any of that, choosing instead to huff that the crazy was a "Christian fundamentalist" -- funny, they didn't seem so outraged about a loony Muslim fundie's faith when he struck at Fort Hood -- and "right wing," used in this context as Euro-code for "Nazi-like racist" and that he did the bulk of his killing with a -- oh, shock -- G-U-N. These are indeed salient points; when your religion and/or politics tells ya to go harm people who aren't initiating force against you and you give it a try, I'm of the opinion you rate the same tender concern and response as the common cockroach: "smash, smash, smash, yuck." And yes, Dear Press, you can kill a lot more people with a smile and gun than you can with a smile alone; where have you been since the arquebus was first deployed, 'long about the 14th Century C.E.?
The world has a remarkably large supply of Christian fundamentalists in the full range of skin tones, most of them not at all racist; I daresay there are more of them than there are guns. All but one of 'em didn't do any mass killing last week -- and I rather doubt most of the people the press has lumped him in with would claim him. Likewise, there are guns in this world; just as long there is metal, charcoal, sulfur and saltpeter, there will be guns and as long as there are criminals and violently-inclined crazies, they will have firearms. Y'know what stops such persons? Honest, law-abiding people with guns of their own.
The Unabomber wasn't any more sane or moral than this miserable jerk, even though he never fired a shot. But there was a better chance of stopping Mr. A.B.B. than Ted Kaczynski -- and an even better chance of limiting the harm he could do had any members of his chosen group of victims been able to shoot back.
The press can go right on claiming that religion is bad (except their Flavor Of The Week, which is merely misunderstood), guns are bad, all forms of political conservatism are bad; the press and their pets can claim that, but most people understand the badness is not in the tool but the one who wields it.
* The hell if I'll add to his Google hits.
Working On A Starship
4 weeks ago