Tragedy in Norway

Posted by PITHOCRATES - July 24th, 2011

The Attacks on Oslo and Utoeya Island

Our thoughts and prayers go out to those in Norway.  The Oslo bombing and the shooting rampage on Utoeya island were horrific acts of cruelty.  And no doubt will leave long lasting scars on a great and peaceful people. 

Norway is a beautiful country.  You can hear it in the music of Edvard Grieg.  Who drew inspiration from the rich cultural heritage of his beloved land.  The country.  The people.  The beauty. 

So sad that a lunatic grew up in their midst.  Unbeknownst to them.  This singular aberration from normalcy and sanity.  A merchant of death.  Who preyed on the innocent.   Because of a sick mind.

Something that Spilled out of a Diseased Mind

The man they arrested on Utoeya is Anders Behring Breivik.  And he is insane (see An Interview with a Madman: Breivik Asks and Answers His Own Questions by Beau Friedlander posted 7/24/2011 on Time World).

The 32-year-old gunman — with his blond hair, green eyes and a six-foot build — is a Nordic ideal, and for at least nine years, he meticulously crafted his plan to root out anyone different. Breivik’s rambling writings, grandly titled 2083: A European Declaration of Independence, present him as a right-wing nationalist fueled by a combined hatred of Muslims, Marxists and multiculturalists. His beliefs recall neo-Nazi politics that continue to linger throughout Europe, but freshened with a new, 21st century toxicity.

As part of the manifesto, Breivik interviews himself, offering a highly personal Q&A in which he throws himself admiring questions and answers them with disturbing calm.

You can read an abridged version of this self-interview on Time World

Breivik is insane.  Or very stupid.  Because a sane person does not believe they can change the world by going on a killing spree.  Unless he is so stupid that he believes the people will rise up and join him in his crusade.  Of course, the odds are slim for that happening when you are killing not your enemies (in his case Muslims) but the people you want to join your crusade.

This was not part of an organized movement.  This bloody day was just something that spilled out of a diseased mind. 

Only an Idiot would think Mass Murder would help Advance his Agenda

And what may come as a shock to Breivik, the aftermath of his massacre is not playing out as he no doubt hoped (see Analysis: Brutal attack tests Norwegian society by Wojciech Moskwa posted 7/24/2011 on Reuters).

In a low-crime country where a single murder is front-page news, the shock from the scale of the violence would drown out any message on immigration Breivik was seeking to make, said Matlary. Even politicians who usually espouse anti-immigrant views, will above all seek to distance themselves from Breivik.

“This will surely tone down the debate on immigration ahead of local administration elections in September,” said Frank Aarebrot, political scientist at Bergen University. “In the traditional way, politicians will self-censor themselves.”

What sane person could not see this coming?  Breivik sure didn’t.  Because he’s not sane.  His actions have made the problem (as he saw it) worse.  He wanted more restrictive immigration policies?  Thanks to him, no one will dare speak about any immigration reform lest they be associated with a homicidal maniac.  Only an idiot would think mass murder would help advance his agenda.

The Rush to Judgment to Blame Islamic Terrorism

Of course, now the media is focusing on what’s really important in this massacre.  Not the dead and traumatized.  But the rush to judgment to blame Islamic terrorism (see Media Reacts to News That Norwegian Terror Suspect Isn’t Muslim by Ujala Sehgal posted 7/23/2011 on The Atlantic Wire).

Yesterday’s first reports on the massacre in Norway suggested that there was a link between the horrific attacks, which left 92 dead at latest reports, and Muslim extremists. Only later was the news released that the suspect taken by police, Anders Behring Breivik, was apparently a conservative, right-wing Christian with strong anti-Muslim and anti-immigration beliefs. Many in the media were left reeling over the fact that others were so quick to report and comment that Muslims were involved, before there was clear evidence.

In all fairness, there’s a reason a lot of people jumped to that conclusion.  Such as recent history.  Or they may have read an article in The Atlantic (see On Suspecting al Qaeda in the Norway Attacks by Jeffrey Goldberg).

Well, perhaps it was because [Jennifer Rubin] was reading the Atlantic. Shortly after the bombing in Oslo, the Atlantic re-posted on its home page a very interesting piece from last year by Thomas Hegghammer and Dominic Tierney entitled “Why Does al Qaeda Have a Problem With Norway?” You can read it here. In the piece, Hegghammer and Tierney discuss why Norway, against all odds, has become a favored target of al Qaeda. They give several reasons, among them fallout from the Danish cartoon crisis, and Norway’s participation in the war in Afghanistan. And then they bring up a third possibility: The presence in Norway of the aforementioned Mullah Krekar…

So there’s that.  And a history of terrorism by people in the name of Islam.

It is not perverse or absurd for normal people to think of al Qaeda when they hear of acts of mass terrorism. It is logical, in fact, to suspect al Qaeda. The Norway catastrophe does not negate the fact that the majority of large-scale terrorism spectaculars by non-state actors over the past decade have been committed by Muslims. For the Right, Norway should underscore the point that Christians (and Hindus, and also Jews) are just as capable of committing murderous atrocities as Muslims.

Yes, they are.  But more times than not when it is a Christian it’s usually a lone idiot and not part of a bigger international movement.

Helping the People he Hates

When you have a large scale coordinated assault directed against multiple targets, something that is very al-Qaeda-esque, you think al-Qaeda.  And you start worrying about other possible attacks.  Like the Americans did on 9/11.  Like the Spanish did during their multiple train bombings in 2004.  Like the British did during their multiple subway bombings in 2005.

Not only did Breivik make it easier for radical Muslims to get into Norway (by making everyone nervous about being too anti-Muslim), he also gave al-Qaeda a present.  Killing people al-Qaeda would have loved to kill.  Never in their wildest dreams did they think a Christian would kill a bunch of infidels for them while at the same time gaining sympathy for the Muslim people.  They must love this guy.  Helping the people he hates.

You may be able to uncover and stop international plots of terrorism, but you’ll never be able to stop the lone idiots.  A lone idiot is completely inside his head.  All but impossible to find.  Virtually invulnerable before he attacks.  And irrational as hell.  That’s why we keep reading about them in the news.  And why we’ll keep reading about them.

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FUNDAMENTAL TRUTH #31: “Islam and guns are a lot alike. And yet when something bad happens, we try to ban one and forgive the other.” -Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - September 14th, 2010

INSTRUMENTS OF PEACE

Yes, people with guns do kill people.  And, yes, extreme Islamic fundamentalist fanatics do kill people.  But guns keep the peace.  As does less fanatical Islam.

Societies have formed militias (armed with guns) to protect themselves from aggressors who did not wish to cohabitate in peace.   Thomas Jefferson used guns to stop the piracy along the Barbary Coast.  The Allies used guns to stop Adolf Hitler.  The NATO nations used guns to balance the Soviet threat in Eastern Europe.  An American led coalition used guns to first prevent Saddam Hussein from invading Saudi Arabia.  They then used guns to force him out of Kuwait.

Islam, and religion in general, provides a code of morality.  Religion can unite an otherwise diverse people.  It is this common faith that lets a diverse people to live together in peace and harmony.

GUNS DON’T KILL; PEOPLE DO

Guns don’t kill people.  And it’s not the bullets, either.  You can place a loaded handgun on a table with the safety off and it won’t do anything.  You can call it a name, sleep with its wife or impregnate its daughter (figuratively, of course) and it will just lay there.  For that gun to do something, a person has to pick it up.  Place their finger on the trigger.  Aim.  And shoot.  Until a person does, a gun will never harm a soul.

ISLAM DOESN’T KILL; PEOPLE DO

You can read about Islam in a book.  You can put that book on a table and it won’t do anything.  You can insult it, profane it and denounce it and it will just lay there.  For this religion to do something, someone has to read the book.  If they cannot read, a person who has read the book has to explain it to the illiterate one.  And then act.  Only when a person makes a conscious choice to commit some action can a religion harm anyone.  And if these people choose peace there will be peace.  If they choose violence there will be violence. 

ZYKLON B DOESN’T KILL; PEOPLE DO

The Nazis used to shoot undesirables (Jews, gypsies, Slavs, etc.).  They’d make a mother hold a child so one bullet could kill two.  But as the killing increased, bullets just proved to be inefficient.  And costly.  So they developed the extermination camps.  The death chamber.  And Zyklon B.  This poison could be stored and handled safely.  When it was time, a person would open a canister and pour the chemical into the gas chamber.  If left undisturbed in the canisters, Zyklon B never would have harmed a soul.  It only killed when a person placed it in into an environment where it could.

WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION DON’T KILL; PEOPLE DO

The Kurds are a lot like the Palestinians, only without Jewish neighbors.  After the breakup of the Ottoman Empire, everyone in Mesopotamia got a nation-state except the Kurds.  With the new national borders, the nomadic Kurds could no longer move freely through the lands they once did.   And, well, this caused problems.  Conflicts.  And bitter feelings.  The Kurds supported the Iranians in the Iran-Iraq war.  Saddam Hussein was not amused.  The Iraqis had stockpiles of chemical weapons.  Hussein decided to use them.  On the Kurdish town of Halabja.  He killed some 5,000 Kurds.  Injured about 10,000 more.  Mostly civilians.  If these weapons were not loaded on aircraft, then flown over and dropped on Halabja, they would not have harmed a soul.  But when orders were given, and carried out, by people, they did.

PEOPLE DON’T KILL; IDEOLOGY DOES

Yeah, so it’s pretty clear that guns, religion and chemicals are pretty benign when left alone.  Unless a person gets involved, these things just won’t hurt anyone.  It’s the people.  They’re the problem.

There are a lot of gun owners in the United States.  Few use their guns to hurt others, though.  And Muslims tell us their religion is a religion of peace.  Only a small minority perverts it to harm others.  And there’re many national leaders.  Few have committed chemical genocide.  So it’s not all people.  Just some.  That are the problem.

So what, then, makes some people do these things while others do not?  Ideology.  Some people are passionate about their ideology.  And some are so passionate that they do not permit an alternative ideology.  This is when things get dangerous.  Because they kill for their ideology.

WE KEEP GUNS OFF OF AIRPLANES AND LOOK WHAT HAPPENED

The Left wants to take away our guns.  They point to gun violence and say, “See?”  But law-abiding gun owners don’t commit these crimes.  Criminals commit these crimes.  Using guns obtained on the black market.  And denying law-abiding citizens from owning guns won’t shut down the black market.  Just as illegalizing drugs hasn’t made drugs unavailable.  Make something illegal and a thriving black market will develop.  Which will be lucrative for criminals.  So much so that they will use extreme violence to maintain their market share.

Let’s imagine a fictional world where we ban all guns.  Would it be a better, more peaceful world?

On September 11, 2001, Islamic fundamentalists armed with box cutters hijacked 4 commercial jetliners.  Two of these planes crashed into the Twin Towers.  One crashed into the Pentagon.  The passengers on one plane fought back with what weapons they could find.  The plane crashed.  They died.  But they prevented the terrorists from successfully completing their mission.

Since 9/11, some people carry guns on airplanes.  You know why?  Because a gun can stop a passionate ideologue with a box cutter.

DON’T IMPOSE YOUR VALUES ON ME

Ideology is far more dangerous than guns.  And yet, when something bad happens with a gun the Left wants to enact another level of gun control.  But when a militant Islamic fundamentalist kills Americans, the Left cautions us not to rush to judgment.  Because we may anger the Muslim world.  Who appear only to get angrier however we may try to appease them.  And yet we continue to try.  Even if it compromises our national security.  There comes a point where you have to ask yourself, why?  Why do we adhere to a lose-lose policy?

They don’t like us.  They never will like us.  Trying to make them like us only portrays us as weak.  Which makes them feel more contempt for us.  And emboldens them.  For they respect strength.  And only strength.  Which is something the Left does not understand.  Nor will they ever.  For they think that if you just apologize enough people will like you.

Of course, the Left has no compunction about attacking Christianity.  They have no problem with pornographic films with priests and nuns.  A movie where Jesus Christ has an affair with Mary Magdalene.  Or placing a crucifix in a jar of urine and calling it art.  But they would never, ever, show such disrespect to Islam.  Why?

The Left does not like the Christian Right imposing their values on them.  So they attack Christianity.  And support Islam.  In the name of religious freedom.  Christianity must accommodate Islam.  And we must forgive every transgression of Islam.  Anyone who disagrees is a right-wing extremist.  Intolerant.  And un-American.  The Left couldn’t ask for a better group of people to exploit.

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