Pampering the Oslo Killer

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Finally, there’s the Norwegian psychiatric establishment, with which, owing to my involvement in the care and treatment of a close friend or two, I happen to have a good deal of familiarity.  I have, let it be said, met some highly admirable doctors, nurses, and orderlies.  I have also encountered, time and again, an almost robotically bureaucratic mentality that manifests itself in a variety of ways – a general lackadaisical attitude, want of urgency, and unimaginativeness; a stubborn disinclination to entertain valid alternatives to obviously unsuccessful approaches; and a misguided notion that putting reasonable restrictions on patients in order to prevent them from doing harm to themselves or others is an unforgivable violation of their rights, dignity, and personhood.  (So it is that raging, violence-prone psychotics who have been forcibly committed are, for example, allowed out to go on daily walks.)  I know that none of this is unique to Norway, but the problems seem to me considerably more exaggerated here than in, say, the U.S.

It is this last assumption – that putting reasonable restrictions on patients is some kind of crime – that is particularly challenged by the case of Breivik.  Nobody wants to see this guy on the loose.  Yet even the most “high-security” psychiatric wards in Norway are laughable in their lack of security.  Any motivated patient could escape from any of them with relative ease – because the very concept of security, real security, is, consciously or not, perceived, culturally and institutionally, as morally offensive.  Better to let people in the clutches of utter insanity slip out and do harm to themselves than keep them closely guarded and work as hard as you can to help them get better.  What we are dealing with here, I have gradually come to understand, is a profound lack of individual responsibility masquerading as exquisite societal sensitivity.

As it happens, the authorities have pretty much admitted that no psychiatric facility in all of Norway is equipped with the kind of security features necessary to ensure that Breivik won’t escape.  Hence it was reported on January 24 that one of the options being considered is – no kidding – constructing an all-new “one-man hospital” on the grounds of Ila Prison, just for Breivik.  Since Norwegian law dictates that convicts who have been diagnosed with mental disorders must be held in hospitals and not in prisons, officials have reportedly been looking into whether the installation of Breivik in a hospital built inside prison walls would be legally permissible, or whether the government would have to ask the parliament to pass new legislation to allow for this special case.

Such are the considerations that confront Norwegian officialdom – and Norwegians generally – as the trial of Anders Behring Breivik approaches.  It will, to say the least, be interesting to see how all this plays out as the developments of the next few months shine an increasingly bright light on the system’s inherent contradictions and – yes – absurdities.

This piece has been corrected. The author thanks Alvaro for noticing the error.

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  • Alvaro

    "The most Breivik can get for his 77 murders is 21 years in jail (although for persons with mental disorders who have been determined to be a danger to themselves and others, there are purportedly ways of arranging for further detainment)."

    If Breivik is sentenced to "tvungent psykisk helsevern" because of insanity, he can in theory spend the rest of his life in a psychiatric institution. On the other hand, if he gets well – off he goes.

    If Breivik is sentenced to 21 years in prison (assuming a reversal of his diagnosis), and if there is great danger he might commit new crimes, the prosecution can ask the court to prolong the sentence for five years at a time. They can in theory go on like this as long as Breivik lives.

    I really don't have a problem with you disliking Norway. As a matter of fact there are a lot of things I dislike about Norway myself, and I usually enjoy reading your articles. But at least get your facts straight. I don't know why you are here, but the fact you live in Norway makes readers think you know what you are talking about, while you in this case spread false information.

    • DWPittelli

      I think you are in agreement with the author, who wrote of sentence length:
      "The most a “sane” perpetrator can get for 77 murders is 21 years in jail (although prosecutors may then request extensions at five-year intervals);"

      So I don't know what "false information" you are decrying.

      I don't think the author dislikes Norway either.

      • Alvaro

        Never mind. The article was edited and everything looks correct now.

    • Fred Dawes

      will he get a book out of this mass killing of kids? that monkey needs a rope and a tree.

    • Fred Dawes

      He needs to see the kids he killed, Now if you know what i mean? if this was 1930 he would be on the end of a rope by now. But this is good we must all hope for the Nut house sentenced, maybe he can be used for some experimantal thing like removing his evil heart.

  • Mike

    Heres a simple explanation to it all:

    Labor party opens its country to a huge number of Muslims. Muslims don't assimilate and they keep their same barbaric, backward way of living. The goal of Islam is to take over by force or from within. The labor party's main goal was to obviously build their voting base by allowing the huge influx of muslims. The freedom loving people of Norway have the common sense it takes to see this for what it is; A threat to their very way of living. So you get this guy like Breivik who is fed up with what the labor party is doing and he takes action. The labor party did this to themselves. End of story.

    • Alvaro

      Spot on. I would also like to add that anyone voicing concern over this issue are getting demonized, intimidated and silenced. Sometimes even physically attacked. Tolerance for diverging political views in public is extremely low in Norway.

      So the people has not been asked if they wanted this unprecedented transition of Norwegian society, and they can't really object to it without risking getting ostracized, losing their jobs – or teeth. No wonder at least one person snapped. Unfortunately I expect there will me more people like him if this goes on.

      • Mike

        I have a feeling more people will follow Breiviks lead too. You're right, the people were not asked. It was all pushed by the Labor Party. This idea that we have to be open to multiculturalism pertaining to muslims is just a bunch of bull. Everywhere in the world muslims cause problems in the name of Islam no matter what area they inhabit. They subjegate, oppress, torture, and rape in the name of Islam. I support the Norwegians who are against the muslims being there that aren't assimilating. I feel for the Norwegian culture because I see the country falling apart due to the Islamic takeover just like in France and England. I see the political correctness and the hypocrisy and I know the frustration.

  • JasonPappas

    Most of the Norwegian links don't work.

  • John

    One of the curious features of our current social system is the incompetent citizen. You can be judged such a nut case that the laws do not apply and at the same time retain all the rights of citizenship. This gives full freedom to people who can not be held accountable for their actions.

  • BS77

    Norway is the poster child for delusional liberalism……

  • tagalog

    My former wife and I, who both worked for years in a mental hospital with the severely mentally ill, including the criminal mentally ill, both agreed that the vast majority of the mentally ill are no more likely to be violent than the rest of the population, but that those who are, are so unpredictable and prone to extreme violence that if they murder they ought to be executed BECAUSE their mental illness makes it impossible to insure that they won't do it again if they ever go free.

  • Ghostwriter

    Although he deserves to be in an insane asylum,what Breivik also deserves is the death penalty. It's a shame that Norway doesn't have it. If anyone on earth deserves it,it's Anders Breivik.

  • Brujo Blanco

    Norway is obviously the victimof its own political correctness. I suppose we should talk after paying $750,000 to put in a soccer field for the terrorists locked up in GITMO. This Norweigan nut bag ultimately might be granted the opportunity to kill again. My solution is if one is guilty of murder one receives life. Norway needs to come to terms with a seriously flawed legal system.

  • W. C. Taqiyya

    The question is not whether Breivik is or isn't insane. The question is why they initially ruled him insane and it appears their motivation was to avoid the publicity of a trial. A public trial would, after all, give Breivik a platform from which to clearly enunciate his views. And, like most countries, Norway suppresses all politically incorrect opinions. In addition, the brave Norwegians don't want to 'inflame' their peaceful Muslim brothers. Now that the insanity ploy has been discredited, they decided to charge Breivik with 'terrorism'. Very convenient. Again, this charge has been levied because it is so awful it dehumanizes and discredits Breivik. So, it's essentially the same thing as calling him insane. Mission accomplished. Interestingly, terrorism is such a wonderfully nebulous concept it can be applied to almost any unwanted circumstance, person or group. After all, is not any murder an act of terrorism or any robbery or rape? So, the question of the day is not whether Breivik is insane or whether he is a terrorist, the question is, who isn't? It's a given that regimes such as Norway will find terrorism to be a very seductive charge and will soon apply it far and wide in their justice system. After all, proving you guilty of a nebulous concept is so much easier and no punishment can be too extreme. Yup, that's what I call a great leap forward in the field of political repression. I mean, criminal justice. Chuckle.

  • Hank Rearden

    Well…these are the guys who gave us Quisling. I thought that was an aberration, but maybe not. Seems to confirm the definition of a liberal – "someone who is so broad-minded he won't take his own side in an argument."

  • WilliamJamesWard

    Who really runs Norway? I am thinking that maybe it is Hannibal Lecter on steroids. If Breivik is ill with
    a serious illness, it may be the beginning of and all out plague and a variant may hit the Muslims
    and all of them will be killed by a kill mad society which is the end result of years of insane liberalism.
    Liberalism is really dancing with the Devil and Breivik was on a dance marathon………..This horror
    story is not over, the band is still warming up…………………………………..William

  • Tanstaafl

    Vikings are looking better and better.

  • Im_Old_BBart_School

    Liberals have been waiting since 9/11 for a deranged madman they could call a "fundamentalist Christian terrorist" to justify their denial of an Islamic threat — not to mention the "disastrously stupid" policies which result from the denial.

    Read more:

    In Anders Behring Breivik, the Oslo mass murderer, the media finally have their man.

    And they got a bonus inasmuch as Breivik is an "Islamophobe."

    That is, he apparently recognized the danger of a strong Islam in a weak Europe. Yet, because of his demented psyche, he harmed rather than helped his country.

    The Arabs and/or Muslims of today control 22 nations… 99½ percent of the ENTIRE Middle East land mass

    ……..While Israel occupies only a 1/2 of 1 percent speck on this same map.

    But that's still too much land for the Arabs to spare.

    • Smokewater

      For the liberals Breivik is close to "posterboy" when it comes to terrorist. And ofcourse they call inn a fundementalist Christian. This one terrorist evens out all islam-related terror through out history. But the guy isn't a Christian. He has no relation to God or Jesus.

  • Fred Dawes

    why is he still alive????