OSLO NOW AURORA July 22, 2012Posted by wmmbb in Humankind/Planet Earth, Peace.
It is now one year since the bombing in Oslo and the massacre on the Utoya Island. And in recent days there has been the killings in the picture theatre in Colorado.
There are similarities in these two events that occurred in contexts. For example, both alleged perpetrators carefully planned their actions and then apparently gave themselves up. In Norway, government buildings were bombed. In Colorada, the alleged murderer booby trapped his apartment and set off low techno-music, which luckily did not set off a simultaneous killing. Both perpetrators, like the original assassins, used drugs to fortify themselves for their deeds. The Norwegian had a disrupted upbringing, with an absent father, but the American seems to have had a normal childhood and was academically very successful, until for some mysterious reasons recently.
Significantly both claimed they were nice people. Al jazeera reports:
The man behind the massacre in Norway last year which left 77 people dead has told a court on Friday he was a “nice person” who had trained himself to stifle his emotions so he could carry out the shooting and bombing rampage.
Anders Behring Breivik, 33, admitted to killing eight people with a car bomb at the government’s headquarters in Oslo, then gunning down 69 people, most of them teenagers, at a Labour Party summer camp on Utoeya island.
But he has pleaded not guilty, insisting he was defending the country against waves of Muslim immigration facilitated by the political left.
Breivik on Friday said he began consciously training to cut his range of feelings five years before the attacks, when he began to consider using violence to alert Europeans to what he considered the loss of their culture.
“One might say that I was quite normal until 2006 when I started training, when I commenced de-emotionalising,” he told the court.
“And many people will describe me as a nice person or a sympathetic, caring person to friends and anyone.”
“I’ve had a dehumanisation strategy towards those I considered valid targets so I could come to the point of killing them,” he said, testifying on the fifth day of his trial.
Breivik’s matter-of-fact manner as he delivers his account of the worst peacetime killings in Norway’s modern history has chilled his countrymen.(Emphasis added)
At this point the motivation of the alleged murderer in Colorado has not been established. Of course in both instances there is the common factor of the availability of weapons, ammunition and explosives. In Norway people are probably more accountable for the use of fertilizer than they were one year ago. One suspects that nothing will happen in the US in relation to restricting the domestic arms trade as sensible as that might be even as the established milita’s are becoming progressively more militarized.
For the moment this latest tragedy has the attention of the media, but that attention is fickle, and most of us move on with the agenda and we do not draw any deeper lessons from events. Arun Gandhi expressed compassion for the victims:
My heart goes out today to the people of Aurora who have suffered this immense and mindless tragedy. To those who have lost their loved ones and to those who escaped with injuries this incident will never make any sense.
The question WHY? will always haunt them. Already the nation is screaming for more protection, more security. And, yes, the Government has already set the security apparatus in motion and we will gladly surrender more of our freedom so that we can feel safe or, at least, enjoy the illusion of safety.
As much as this is the time for sympathy and healing for those who suffered this tragedy it is also a time for national soul-searching. It is easy to isolate this incident as an evil act of a madman and tighten security and move on with life. We have done this over and over again but the scourge of violence refuses to disappear. Why will it, when we find so much joy in violence that we will suffer any inconvenience to see one set of madmen brutalize and destroy another set of madmen?
We are so enamored by violence that we willingly feed our children a strong diet of violence from the time they learn to walk? It is so much fun to kill the bad guys. This mindset takes root as people mature and so we create a justice system that encounters and eliminates those who dare to put into action the fun games they play as children.
By eliminating the bad guys we think we have created a safer society. We blissfully ignore the fact that violence has become so pervasive that it has overtaken our speech, entertainment, relationships, politics, culture, religion and, in fact, every aspect of human life.
Michael Nagler further elaborated in his comments:
I want to make an offer to my fellow Americans who are, like myself, reeling from the worst “random” shooting the country has ever seen. My question: Have you had enough? Because if you have, I can tell you how to stop this kind of madness. I know that’s a bold claim, but this is not a time for small measures.
We cannot fix this tomorrow, because we didn’t cause it yesterday. We have been building up to this domestic holocaust since – to take one milestone – television was made available to the general public at the conclusion of World War Two.
If you are still with me, you are prepared to believe that it was not a coincidence that this massacre took place at the scene of an extremely violent, “long-awaited” movie. Psychologists have proved over and over again that – guess what – exposure to violent imagery produces disturbances in the mind that must, in course of time, take form in outward behavior. The imagery can be in any medium, nor does it matter whether on the surface of our minds we think what we’re seeing is real or made up. This is a natural, scientific law. Exactly who will crack next and in what setting is nearly impossible to predict, and in any case it’s ridiculous to try to run around stopping the resulting violence from being acted out after the mental damage has been done. The only sane approach is not to do it in the first place.
As Lt. Col. Dave Grossman pointed out in his book, Let’s Stop Killing Our Kids, the video games that the Army uses to prepare ordinary men and women for combat, in other words to wipe out the normal empathy and inhibitions against hurting others that we’ve built up over millennia – a process known as civilization – are the very same games our young people buy across the counter throughout the country.
Of course, there are other factors. At some point we will have to talk about readily available weapons; at some point we’ll have to realize that a nation that engages in heartless drone warfare, torture, and extrajudicial killings cannot expect to live in peace. But until we liberate our minds from the endless pounding of violent imagery I fear we won’t be able to think clearly about those factors (or for that matter anything else).
With rare exceptions, film and video game producers will not stop turning out these dehumanizing products as long as there is profit to be made from them – and not enough sophistication about culture or the human mind to warn us about their dangers. But there is a way, one that has worked well on the small scales on which it has so far been tried: don’t watch them. Captain Boycott had the right approach.
Nothing happens in the US without a conspiracy theory, which is just to remind us that we live in the age of new media: