Anders Breivik: ‘Sane’ mass murderer


It was not inevitable that the five Norwegian judges would find Anders Breivik sane in his murderous slaughter of 77 people last year . In his conviction, Breivik was sentenced to 21 years in prison.

Making a judgement which Breivik himself sought could not have been an easy decision, but Breivik’s attack was meticulously planned and devastatingly executed. He may be a wicked individual but the courts did not find him psychotic. Breivik, like the architects if 9/11 and 7/7 designed a bloody carnage that they hoped would precipitate a religious war.

To some extent Osama Bin Laden’s atrocity in the USA did lead to wars in both Afghanistan and Iraq, killing ten’s of thousands. Fortunately, and in what can only be described as fantastically brave, the Norwegian people chose a path that confronted and dissected Breivik’s hatred head on. Furthermore, they chose not only to reject it but also reaffirmed their commitment to a multicultural society.

Yes, Norway will never be the same but through all its pain-which sadly for some will last a life time- it has become stronger because of the way it has chosen to deal with such a cruel, wicked man. One suspects that faced with similar circumstances, many countries would have declared Breivik mentally insane, placed him in an institution and thrown away the key.

Given that his actions were of a sane mind, some have been worried that Breivik could walk free after his sentence has been served, but it is almost certain he will end his life in prison. Although Norway has a maximum prison sentence of 21 years, Breivik could be sentenced to ‘preventive detention’, which can be extended for as long as an inmate is considered dangerous to society.

In a liberal society where odious views have the right to be heard, we are reminded that certain views may be heard but they almost always must be challenged. As we have seen with Breivik and others, the natural progression of race and religious hatred is bloody carnage.

Simon Woolley