Anders Breivik Meets His Cushy Fate

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The human being we’re talking about here is, of course, Anders Behring Breivik, who on a July day last year was a very bad boy.  And the apartment we’re talking about is, at least in a narrowly technical sense, a prison cell.  In a recent piece for the Atlantic, Max Fisher ponders the curious approach to criminal punishment that led to Breivik having such a cushy set-up.  While most justice systems, he notes, are “built on an idea called retributive justice,” Norway’s “is built on something called restorative justice,” which aims not at punishment but at “healing.” The convict “is encouraged to grapple with the wrongness of [his] actions” and become a better person – the assumption, of course, being that he’s capable of such a transformation, an assumption that in Breivik’s case seems, shall we say, naïve.

Though he admits that a guy like Breivik isn’t a promising candidate for “restoration,” Fisher nonetheless says he’s been convinced that restorative justice “works, as long as you don’t consider retribution to be its own inherent good.” Still, Fisher isn’t a total convert to Norwegian-style imprisonment.  He admits to feeling that there’s just plain something wrong about it – it subverts certain human desires, not necessarily for revenge, as some champions of the Norwegian approach claim, but for a real sense of justice.

Yes indeed.  And I would add something else.  Fisher focuses on retribution vs. restoration, as if these were the only two relevant considerations.  But what about deterrence?

Reflect for a moment on the following: although Norway has weathered the international financial crisis relatively well, thanks to its oil fortune, there are still plenty of homeless people on the streets of Oslo.  The city has a disproportionate number of drug addicts awaiting methadone treatment and individuals with severe psychiatric problems who can’t get the treatment they need.  Norway’s reputation as a soft touch has drawn more and more gypsies from the other end of the European continent.  At night Oslo’s main drag swarms with aggressive Nigerian prostitutes and unsavory types from heaven knows where who want to sell you drugs.  And don’t forget the innumerable hard-working nine-to-fivers who pay exorbitant rents for tiny digs – or the tens of thousands of Oslo-area Muslims who, back in their homelands, could only have dreamed about living Breivik-style.  Is it absurd to assume that one or more of these persons, at some point, knowing what luxury (relatively speaking) awaits them on the far side of the police station and the courtroom, might decide to commit an unspeakable atrocity in order to acquire a flat like Breivik’s?  Is the concept of deterrence, in short, really a dead letter?  Or is the Norwegian government being as foolish, in the post-sentencing kid-glove treatment of its all-time number-one felon, as it was in its pre-July 22 failure to take elementary, commonsensical measures to protect its people from his mad designs?

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  • crackerjack

    Murder rate Norway 0.6.
    Murder rate USA 5.7.

    Hillarious that anyone should even contemplate Norway taking any advice from the US on how to deal with social dissorder and crime. LOL.

    • Ron Karsh

      Bruce Bawer moved to Norway to be legally married to his male partner, because it was not possible in the US to freely chose who you'd want to spend the rest of your life with, and have that choice legally and socially sanctioned. In the US: no same-sex marriage and retributive justice; in Norway: same-sex marriage and restorative justice.

      • Baby_Blue

        For the life of me I can't understand why gays aren't just satisfied to live together just like so many straights in the West who either claim they're not ready for marriage or don't believe in it. And if they want to endow thier relationship with something special then come up with some unique gay celebratory rites and "get married". This is all about undermining Christian (and other religions, for that matter) traditions and using the married state to be able to acquire various state directed benefits.

        • Banastre tarleton

          true enough …it's not about tolerance, it's about RESPECT ….they are trying to ''normalise'' abnormal sex practices into ''gay pride '' ….what's next , wankers pride , group sex pride , incest pride or maybe animal sex pri de ? sheeesh

      • Mo_

        Go live there, then.

        And stop forcing your morality on us.

      • Kufar Dawg

        I wonder if the new islamic future of Norway will be allowing same-sex marriages, or even breathing privileges for the LGBT crowd. Maybe you should ask Norway's rising muslime population what they think — seeing at they are Norway's future.

    • davarino

      There may be other factors coming into play here that you have not considered. I think comparing Norway and the USA is like comparing apples and oranges, or your brain and a normal persons brain

    • Mo_

      Remarkable, how the first comment (at least, at this writing) is someone defending a mass murderer.


      Norway? Ally of nazi national Socialist Germany.


      Quisling (play /ˈkwɪzlɪŋ/; Norwegian pronunciation: [ˈkʋɪsˈlɪŋ]) is a term used in reference to fascist and collaborationist political parties and military and paramilitary forces in occupied Allied countries which collaborated with Axis occupiers in World War II, as well as for their members and other collaborators.


  • HermitLion

    Well, then I guess it's proven – to get ahead in Norway, one has to be a homicidal muslim… or just plain homicidal.
    The system works.

  • davarino

    So I guess it wouldnt be a big deal if one of the victims relatives killed Anders out of revenge. Then he'd get Anders apartment, sweet deal.

  • guest

    As a mass murderer, he is far behind Islam, as is satan.

    • Kufar Dawg

      On an off year muslimes probably kill more people, in the name of Islam, than Breivik ever dreamed of.

  • Schlomotion

    This article is on point. Anders Breivik was rewarded with a lifetime supply of a state college single dormitory, meal plan, word-processor and gymnasium. Throw in a daily bottle of Jack Daniels and it's a writer's paradise.

    • Advocatus

      Agreed. You are clearly no writer, but you might still enjoy one of those luxurious prison cells. Come to think of it, I could actually see landing in one as a fine career goal for you. Best of luck on that score!

  • BS77

    21 years for killing 77 people, mostly youths….and wounding many more. He should be doing hard labor in a Devil's Island type prison…….but Norway is what we now call Orwell Land. Everything is run by happy shiny faced liberal bureaucrats and other assorted new age morons…everything is upside down…the courts, the immigration, the welfare state, the taxes are insane, the endless rules and micro managed society are something straight out of science fiction. If you rebel, they put you on medication. This is what The Stepford Wives was all about. Go to Norway and become Rototized.

    • dmw

      Imagine a Viking being time transported to contemporary Norway. Perhaps Norweigians are atoning — to the extreme — for their formerly barbaric ways. Wonder what will happen when the oil runs out. And when the Muslims get to their tipping point? Easy pickings (as in, first, ticking the natives off, then, picking the natives off).

  • BS77

    Go to Norway and become Robotized.

  • AntiSharia

    That's progressive "justice" for you. The criminals get it better than the victim. They should learn a thing or two from Texas. Oh, and for the Euro weenies touting the criminal justice system of Europe as superior because of a lower crime rate, don't get too smug. The crime rate is soaring because of strict gun control(that didn't stop Brevik) and mass immigration. America, being far more heterogeneous than Europe, has a higher crime rate but its a falling crime rate, and has been falling for twenty years. Europe's crime rate is surging, liberal policies, and uncontrolled immigration. See how safe the streets of Oslo are when the Muslims are running them.

  • Advocatus

    It's highly commendable that Norwegian elites are into restorative justice. Perhaps they could try to restore Breivik's victims to life, too.

  • amused

    All I can say is UNBELIEVABLE ! Truly STUPIFYING ! Just think , he can theoretically go out and do it again , and actually get out of prison again to spend his old age as a free man !

  • Hank Rearden

    No Internet access??!!

  • Ghostwriter

    It's a shame Brevik's still going to be breathing. This guy's a poster child for the death penalty. After killing seventy-seven people,he deserves to be swinging from a rope,not writing books.

  • BS77

    In Norway there is no term in their language for "hard time".

  • WilliamJamesWard

    Curiously he smirks and laments he did not kill more people. No matter what his temporal
    circumstances are, in the end he seems to be set up for outer darkness and eternal misery,
    he will face judgement that deals with the unrepentant, the real luxury he has is time to change
    and beg forgiveness, not likely but it is there………………..William

  • David Ashley

    How come "restorative justice" doesn't include, say, work on a chain gang or military style boot camps – like those few prisons in the US with a (relatively) low recidivism rate?