Anders Breivik, the man accused of murdering 77 people in Norway, testified yesterday before a five-judge panel which will decide whether he’s guilty and whether he’s insane. There’s more than enough evidence for the guilt; he’s admitted to the attack. But Breivik’s performance in court yesterday should remove any shred of doubt that he was sane and fully aware when he allegedly carried out the massacre.
And it really was a performance. Walking into the court, the accused killer gave a Nazi-like fist pump. He told prosecutors his one regret was that he attacked a youth camp instead of a journalism conference nearby. And he showed zero remorse for the massacre, calling it “spectacular” during a drawn-out explanation of his motivations:
Norwegian gunman Anders Behring Breivik defended his massacre of 77 people, insisting today he would do it all again and calling his rampage the most “spectacular” attack by a nationalist militant since World War II.
Reading a prepared statement in court, the anti-Muslim extremist lashed out at Norwegian and European governments for embracing immigration and multiculturalism. …
Breivik has five days to explain why he set off a bomb in Oslo’s government district on July 22, killing eight people, and then gunned down 69 others at a Labor Party youth camp outside the Norwegian capital. He denies criminal guilt, saying he was acting in self-defense, and claims the targets were part of a conspiracy to “deconstruct” Norway’s cultural identity.
“The attacks on July 22 were a preventive strike. I acted in self-defense on behalf of my people, my city, my country,” he said as he finished his statement, in essence a summary of the 1,500-page manifesto he posted online before the attacks. “I therefore demand to be found innocent of the present charges.” …
According to Breivik, Western Europe was gradually taken over by “Marxists and multiculturalists” after World War II because it didn’t have “anti-communist” leaders like U.S. Sen. Joseph McCarthy. The senator dominated the early 1950s with his sensational but unproven charges of Communist subversion in high government circles in the U.S.
This isn’t the argument of an insane person; it’s the argument of a twisted and ugly ideologue. Breivik’s beliefs are certainly delusional, but his actual argument follows the thought-pattern of someone who is sane and lucid. He is clearly aware of the gravity of the massacre and discusses specific ways he would alter his plan if he had a chance to do it again. He offers a motivation for the attack and lays out his case for self-defense. They are appalling, to be sure. But those who argue he’s insane are denying the real evil that appears to have driven him.
Moreover, the panel of judges sat through Breivik’s extended rant, in essence giving him a prominent international media platform to spout his extremism. When victims’ families asked why the court was allowing this, Breivik threatened to stop speaking at all if his diatribes were curtailed:
Mette Yvonne Larsen, a lawyer representing victims’ families, also interrupted Breivik, saying she was getting complaints from victims who were concerned that the defendant was turning the trial into a platform to profess his extremist views. Her remarks prompted the judge to again urge Breivik to wrap it up.
Breivik replied if he wasn’t allowed to continue he might not speak at all.
Breivik has admitted to massacring 77 people – including teenagers – and seems proud of it. For that, he faces a maximum sentence of 21 years in prison and was given a courtroom platform to espouse his noxious political beliefs at length. Plenty has already been said about the disgraceful leniency of the Norwegian legal system as it applies to this case, but seeing photos of Breivik strolling into the courtroom with a smile on his face and a fist bump really emphasizes the injustice of it all.