I’ve been trying very hard to keep abreast of the updates concerning the trial of Anders Breivik after the murder of 77 people in Norway last year. Every now and then something horrifying such as this will break into the public conscience and we all mourn, fight and judge to hope that something of this nature will never happen again.
I can’t help but think of those young people who survived and their strength in fighting for their lives and the remorse and personal guilt they feel for their friends whom they could not save. There was the 20 year old girl that pulled a bullet from her thigh and then swam to another island whilst people died in the water around her, adamant that she’d rather drown than be shot dead by that man. The poor boy who had to cling to a cliff face for hours and watch his best friend plummet to his death in the same attempt. The girl who was shot in the face, both forearms and left breast and still got in the water and swam to save herself. I think of them and their bravery and I feel ashamed for the way we live and the things we care about. If people who’ve been shot can swim 600m in cold water then why can’t we look after our own bodies ? If a boy who has been shot in the chest can still think and be resourceful enough to hide in the bushes and camoflauge his face and skin with soil to keep himself hidden and alive then why can’t we overcome the trivial and menial trials of our lives?
I feel ashamed.
In Norway a stipulation of their law is that if the defendant can be proven to have been mentally unstable at the time of the event, regardless of his mental state generally, then the defendant will serve their sentence in psychiatric care rather than jail. Breivik seems inhuman but whether or not that also implies that he is insane is another question altogether. He himself wishes to be found sane as he wants the full implications of his radical message to be digested as the beliefs of a sane man. He believes that his argument will lose weight if he is declared insane. I don’t suppose the judges can take that into consideration but I believe that a man who has the capacity to think of and orchestrate a crime such as this has the mental capacity to endure the punishment that comes with it and ought to take full responsibility for it. Breivik is not a vulnerable man and I think leniency in the face of mental incapacity should only be given if the defendant is vulnerable.
Perhaps it is easier to believe that a person must be insane to commit a heinous crime such as this rather than to believe that there are still supremacists in this world, still full of hatred for other cultures and religions, still determined to purify and eradicate diversity. I do not envy the jury their decision as whatever the outcome, nothing can provide justice in this case. If only it could be taken back.
I’ll think of those victims, both those that survived and those that died whenever I feel that I can’t acheive or I can’t deal with a situation. I will hopefully never have to overcome the adversity that they’ve had to traverse and I can only hope that for those that have survived they will be able to keep their strength and defiance in the face of horror and be what they deserve to be, even if it’s just to spite that bastard.