Crime and No Punishment: Norway Killer Legally Insane

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With a tradition of stressing rehabilitation rather than punishment, Norway does not impose the death penalty, and the maximum criminal jail sentence is 21 years. So at most, Anders Breivik, the self-proclaimed neo-Knight Templar behind the July bombing that killed eight in Oslo and the nearby massacre of 69 more people, would spend 100 days in jail for each of the mostly youthful victims he systematically hunted down and, as he put it, “executed.”

But now, a report released by court-appointed “experts” has declared him legally insane, which means Breivik could be held in a mental health institution rather than being imprisoned at all. He could even be released if such experts later determine that he is no longer a threat to society.

Psychiatrists claim Breivik had developed paranoid schizophrenia and was psychotic at the time of the attacks, and that his condition persists. Their report describes examples of different forms of “bizarre delusions,” according to a prosecutor:

They especially describe what they call Breivik’s delusions where he sees himself as chosen to decide who shall live and who shall die, and that he is chosen to save what he calls his people.

A lecturer in forensic psychiatry at Oxford University expressed polite skepticism at the diagnosis:

From the initial reports that came out about him, he came across as someone who planned this extremely carefully over a long period of time and was terribly well organized. Usually, with people with severe mental illness, their lives are slightly more chaotic than that…

People with severe mental illness are at increased risk of committed violent crimes – although that’s often in the context of drug and alcohol problems, which he doesn’t appear to have.

Others are more outraged and think that perhaps it is the Norwegian justice system that is insane. “This is completely incomprehensible,” said a leader of the populist Progress Party, which campaigns for tougher criminal sentences. “How can someone who has planned this for such a long time… be considered insane?”

Good question, but careful premeditation isn’t necessarily an indicator of sanity. Case in point: Jared Loughner, the lunatic shooter of Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. He had been fixated on Giffords for years as his sanity unraveled, ever since she apparently did not adequately answer an insane question he once asked of her. He planned his attack and even left behind a note saying, “I planned ahead.”

A more appropriate question might be, “How can someone whose motivation to kill stems from a rationally constructed ideology be considered insane?” Loughner’s attack, like that of John Lennon’s shooter Mark David Chapman or Ronald Reagan’s would-be assassin John Hinckley, Jr., was premeditated, but did not derive from any ideological motivation. The Left and its propaganda mouthpieces in the news media jumped at the opportunity to make the case that Loughner was a rightwing gun nut directly inspired by conservative talk radio, the “violent and racist” Tea Party movement, and Sarah Palin’s campaign strategy map, which was dotted with gunsight icons. Of course, he was utterly ignorant of those sources and apparently uninterested in politics. Like Chapman and Hinckley, Loughner was quite simply unhinged.

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  • Alvaro

    First of all, you are wrong that 21 years imprisonment is the maximum sentence. It is possible to convict someone to 21 years of "forvaring", meaning that it will be evaluated if the person is still a threat to society when the sentence is nearing its end. If Breivik had been declared sane, he would almost certainly been in prison for the rest of his life. It will probably not be very different in a psychiatric institution, and I doubt that we will see Breivik on the streets again, no matter what.

    "But he committed those murders in the name of his beliefs. We must not declare the ideologue to be insane."

    If the man is insane it does not matter much in whose name he did it. He also sees himself as a commander of war and a possible future regent of Norway. His views on the threat on western civilization is shared by a large part of the population, but then again, other things he says shows he is a total nut.

    "If we do, then we deprive ourselves of the opportunity to hold believers and their belief systems accountable for their victims."

    Did you mispost this article? Was it intended for a leftist blog? Leftists in Norway are in a rage because they wanted to use the Breivik case to silence everyone that opposes mass immigration of islamists, and to whitewash their toleration of misogyni, discrimination of Christians, etc. in the name of multiculturalism. Yes, let's hold the attitudes of law abiding tax payers who hate terrorism responsible for Breivik's deeds and silence them, while Hamas-supporting leftists who died at Utøya are remembered as the true saints they were.

    • rjukan

      After being within site of the towers going down on 9-11 I felt for what the Norwegians were about to go through after the 22nd of July. A completely different scenario yet the feelings would be the same. They pulled through it united and I found it admirable. Being a musician I released a single with the help of many great Norwegian musicians, it is still providing comfort and healing. It was the least I could do for living in a great country. feel free to share it, Jerry

  • ObamaYoMoma

    If he is insane, why not Osama bin Laden or another Islamic terrorist as well?

    Actually, there is no such thing as Islamic terrorists, as terrorism in the Islamic world is un-Islamic, an act of blasphemy, and therefore a capital offense because terrorism, as opposed to jihad, is a Western manifestation only.

    Indeed, since Anders Breivik was a non-Muslim Euroloon that murdered a bunch of unhinged delusional leftists, his act was a legitimate act of terrorism as opposed to violent jihad.

    On the other hand, had Anders Breivik been a Muslim instead of a Euroloon and then perpetrated the same act against the same bunch of unhinged delusional leftists in the cause of Allah to make Islam supreme instead, then that would have constituted a legitimate act of violent jihad.

    Moreover, jihad in stark contrast to terrorism can be both violent and non-violent, and non-violent jihad relative to violent jihad is employed against the West astronomically far more prevalently than violent jihad simply due to the fact that there are exponentially far more non-violent jihadists as opposed to violent jihadists in the world.

    As a matter of fact, most non-violent stealth and deceptive jihadists see violent jihad as being extremely counterproductive and harmful because it invites unwanted scrutiny, attention, and focus on Islam and Islam's stealth global jihad. Hence, to a certain extent non-violent stealth and deceptive jihadists will on occasion cooperate with the West in stopping impending violent acts of jihad.

    Nevertheless, since PC multiculturalism pervades the West today, jihad is always conflated and morally equated with terrorism, which as its name implies is always only violent, Thus, because jihad, which can be both violent and non-violent, is always conflated and morally equated with terrorism, which again is always only violent, the many varieties of non-violent stealth and deceptive jihad being employed against the West by the Islamic world as a consequence occurs today completely unopposed, undetected, and unacknowledged.

    Therefore, mass Muslim immigration to the West for the purpose of stealth demographic conquest to make Islam supreme, which is a variety of non-violent stealth and deceptive jihad, for instance, occurs today totally unopposed, undetected, and unacknowledged, and the biggest cause allowing it to occur completely unopposed, undetected, and unacknowledged, is this insane PC multicultural practice of always conflating and morally equating jihad with terrorism

    Thus, when this writer, per the dictates of PC multiculturalism, also conflates and morally equates jihad with terrorism, then he is actually perpetuating the problem. Indeed, he is part of the problem!

  • Almarri

    One cannot condone Breivik's actions but at least one can understand his rage at the suppine way in which Western governments and media grovel before muslims and their invasion by stealth of Europe and the US

  • jacob

    In order to determine whwther somebody is insane, the following test should be
    performed :

    Place a significant size turd on a plate, put it on a table with fork and knife and
    invite the subject to eat it.

    If after realizin g what it is, he says I will be back later, rest assured he is as crazy
    as a FOX…! ! !

    • Roco

      Wow, so PTSD, clinical depression, manic states, delusions, period fits of massive hallucinations don't exist in your mind? Glad you aren't allowed to practice in the mental health field.

  • Catmann

    I don't think it's insane to kill one's enemies. I think it's the most rational act to act to preserve one's own life. Nazi's are worthy targets for the rationally minded.

  • Ben

    This is the tipical reaction of authoritarian society on ideological rebellion.Frightening ideas can be declared mad more easily then counter-argumented.In 19th century Russia of Nicholas 1 the famous intellectual Chaadayev was declared mad for his critics of Russian slavery.

  • mikeb

    Norway is doubly screwed up. First for not recognizing what a bunch of liberal, anti-Semitic moonbats they have running the country and indoctrinating their children at summer camps. Second for declaring Breivik insane for the wildly extreme but rational act of killing a bunch of them.

  • curmudgeon

    what anders breivik did was behave exactly like a muslim. breivik was against the islamic invasion (just like muslims are against any western invasion), and anders breivik responded in the muslim fashion–he murdered some people of his own kind who were aiding and abetting the invasion (just like muslims do). the analogy breaks down with the reaction of norwegians, who did not celebrate in the streets( as muslims would have done), but instead condemned the violence. this will all be corrected when the muslims overrun norway, and install sharia. then the norwegians will applaud violence, like good muslims.

  • Ghostwriter

    In my opinion,Breivik was a sicko. He lived in his own sick universe and that's what drove him to kill. He may have had some political motivation but he was also a madman. I don't care whether he's in an insane asylum or jail,just as long as he is locked away for many years to come.

  • http://Frontpage Leonidas

    Justice is when punishment fits the crime,so Breivik deserves the death penalty.

  • Fray222

    I'm surprised a frontpage mag would be making this type of argument. From his manifesto, it would appear that Breivik's ideology was pretty much mainstream European conservatism.

  • Ron F

    Anders Breivik is perhaps one of the most profound examples ever of the inadequacy of insanity in courts of the world as an affirmative defense to murder (let alone on the scale perpetrated here) in the overall scheme of justice. The underlying assumption is that because something, anything, is wrong with his psyche, he bears no responsibility or culpability whatsoever for his actions. Thus, the gunning down of 77 people is reduced to a tragedy, not much different than a natural disaster. And while he might ostensibly spend the rest of his life in a mental institution (or he might be set free in a few years depending on what the doctors say), the courts will fail to hold him responsible to even the smallest degree for what he did.

    But is that really just? Can we really claim that, through no fault of his own, Anders carried a defect in his ability to process and act that made it impossible for him to make a decision about the rightness or wrongness of his actions, and then act upon that decision? That his careful planning, cold, deadly execution, and subsequent rationalization don't constitute a conscious decision for which he can be held accountable?

    And if so, then who decides what states of mind qualify as "insane" in such a way as to absolve one of any and all responsibility for whatever horrible atrocities they might commit? Who's to say that a heartfelt belief that Muslims are everything wrong with Norwegian society is any more crippling of one's responsible decision making than the chemical influence of PCP acting upon the brain of an addict?

    If we are really honest with ourselves, the notion of justice through strict adherence to a system, no matter how carefully thought out that system may be, is a fantasy. Following the letter of the law, as written in Norway, cannot produce justice in this situation, whereas deviating from the law might produce a result that could almost universally seen to be more just. The argument that the integrity of the system must be preserved, even at the cost of a desirable result, is a reflection of our inability or unwillingness to accept responsibility for choosing to make a decision rather than relying on an imperfect, predetermined set of rules to do it for us.

  • donnahume

    Even if this guy is considered to be legally insane they definitely shouldn't let him out later on. How does someone go from being insane to being sane? Are there relapses? Once they are out where will they live, get a job? My feelings are that a relapse would be much more probable if they cannot find a way to be released into society without stress. Stress will lead to a relapse.