Commentary Magazine


Re: Justice and the Norwegian Prison System

Alana Goodman pens an excellent post regarding how little jail time the confessed Norwegian terrorist and killer can expect for killing scores of civilians, both in his initial truck bomb blast and then in his shooting spree on Utoya island. According to some Norwegian analysts, he might expect a maximum of 21 years, or approximately 83 days per murder and, as Alana points out, will serve his time in relative luxury.

This certainly is outrageous, but unfortunately it’s the rule rather than the exception in many European states as postmodern theories of compassion and rehabilitation trump the importance of justice. Just take a look at that other mass murderer on the other side of the North Sea: On August 20, 2009, a Scottish court released Libyan agent and Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi after serving just 11.5 days per murder for downing Pan Am Flight 103 and killing 270 people. Scottish authorities defended Megrahi’s release on the grounds of compassion: He had, after all, only weeks to live. Never mind that today he appears to be doing quite fine in Tripoli.

It’s well past time for Europe to put justice first and reserve compassion for the victims of crime and terror, not the perpetrators.