Sunday, July 24, 2011

Scary Thoughts After Norway Tragedy

When the news first broke, I read that it was a terrorist attack. At this point it appears to have been one man acting alone, and not Islamist extremists. In short, the lesson here is that when you hear a breaking news story, don't believe it. Wait and see what the real story is.

It's a hard way to live though, always skeptical. The news networks have bent over backward to establish their credibility in the hearts and minds of readers and viewers, yet occasionally they get it wrong. The New York Times, among others, got this one wrong. Fortunately in the digital age one can retract and rewrite on a dime.

The shooting suspect in Oslo's mass murder was Anders Behring Breivik, a strikingly handsome blond-haired, blue-eyed ethnic Norwegian through and through. He must have been a very smart young man because the detail with which he executed this plan was remarkable. He was dressed like police officer. I hope this does not result in copycat killings where we're all left wondering whether the cop with loaded gun at his side is a good guy or bad guy. (Gives new meaning to the "good cop/bad cop" routine.)

The guy opened a Twitter account but only posted once. Quoting John Stuart Mill he wrote, "One person with a belief is equal to the force of 100,000 who have only interests." It's actually a profound thought. The application of the idea is what's problematic. He posted this on the eve of this destruction.

According to the UK's Sunday Express the man was an advisor to the English Defence League (EDL). It's a black eye for EDL if this is true. Here's the welcome you will read if you go to the EDL website: If you, like us, are fed up and sick to the back teeth of Islamic Extremism in the UK, then sign up and join the struggle with the English Defence League and start protesting peacefully with us today.

When I see hate speech in any form my heart wrenches and I am pained. I somehow thought that we'd already learned that hate is not an answer. But the lesson of Hitler gets applied differently when in the minds and mouths of hate-mongers. According to Hoffer hate is a tool to unify diverse groups against a common enemy, as well as a method for consolidating power and manipulating masses.

A lot of hate is driven by fear. In World War II the United States itself created concentraton camps where 120,000 Japanese Americans were deposited in forced placements against their wills, due chiefly to American fears that these American citizens would be more loyal to their former homeland than to this one they had pledged their allegiance to.

On his Facebook page, now cordoned off with police tape, Breivik stated that his beliefs were Christian (Didn't Jesus say, "Love your enemies."?) and Conservative. His favorite movies were listed as 300 (vividly violent) and Gladiator.

His purchase of the six tons of fertilizer used to make the car bomb that exploded in Oslo was never questioned because he had a vegetable farm that raised melons, tubers and the like. Seems like a lot of fertilizer, though, for an "organic" farm.

So now, we have reasons to be scared of cops, handsome young Scandinavians, vegetable farmers, Christians, Conservatives and people who post pithy quotes on Twitter. And be careful about sending your youth to camp unarmed.

Source of Sunday Express info.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Nice post.