Anders Behring Breivik
The New York Times provides some details on the Norway mass murderer.
When Anders Behring Breivik was not plotting mass murder and fine-tuning the bomb he detonated here last week, he was busy playing video games and blogging, listening to Euro pop and watching episodes of â€œTrue Bloodâ€ â€” except on Sunday nights, when he usually dined with his mother. …
For years, Mr. Breivik, who is 32, participated in debates in Internet forums on the dangers of Islam and immigration. It is not clear at what point he decided that violence was the solution to the ills he believed were tearing European civilization asunder. Before the attacks that he has admitted mounting on government buildings and a childrenâ€™s summer camp on Friday, he was careful never to telegraph his intentions.
â€œHe didnâ€™t say anything you could remember,â€ said Stig Fjellskaalnes, who knew Mr. Breivik when he was a member of Norwayâ€™s conservative Progress Party in the early 2000s. â€œHeâ€™s one of the crowd, if you know what I mean. You forget him.â€ …
With the 1,500-page manifesto, which he said took three years to complete, Mr. Breivik endeavored to find common cause with xenophobic right-wing groups around the world, particularly in the United States. He quoted extensively from the anti-Islam writings of American bloggers, and cut and pasted a whole section of the manifesto written by Theodore J. Kaczynski, known as the Unabomber, into his own, replacing â€œleftismâ€ with â€œmulticulturalismâ€ as the object of aspersion. …
He attended the elite high school where the countryâ€™s current king, Harald V, and his son once studied. Former classmates remembered him as quiet but intelligent, with a small rebellious streak: he was a prolific graffiti artist. …
To earn money for the attacks, he wrote that he had started a company that earned him millions. Neighbors cast doubt on this claim, however, saying that they thought he had inherited some money from relatives.
As he went about gathering six tons of ammonium nitrate fertilizer and turning aspirin powder into pure acetylsalicylic acid for his bomb, he led an active life online, railing against Muslims and Marxists in debate forums.
He once approached Hans Rustad, the editor of a popular conservative Website called Document.no, with a proposal to create a pan-European movement modeled on Tea Party groups in the United States.
When not surfing conservative blogs, Mr. Breivik was fighting virtual demons, ogres and other fantastical creatures in online role-playing games. He was a regular in talk forums for players of â€œWorld of Warcraft,â€ using a busty female as his avatar and the handle Conservatism.
Mark Steyn was annoyed to find himself quoted in Breivik’s manifesto and points out some of the illogic of the commentariat’s reaction.
It is unclear how seriously this â€œmanifestoâ€ should be taken. Parts of it simply cut and paste chunks of the last big killer â€œmanifestoâ€ by Ted Kaczynski, with the occasional [insert-your-cause-here] word substitute replacing the Unabomberâ€™s obsessions with Breivikâ€™s. This would seem an odd technique to use for a sincerely meant political statement. The entire document is strangely anglocentric – in among the citations of NR and The Washington Times, thereâ€™s not a lot about Norway.
Nevertheless, Breivikâ€™s manifesto seems to be determining the narrative in the anglophone media. The opening sentence from USA Today:
Islamophobia has reached a mass murder level in Norway as the confessed killer claims he sought to combat encroachment by Muslims into his country and Europe.
So, if a blonde blue-eyed Aryan Scandinavian kills dozens of other blonde blue-eyed Aryan Scandinavians, thatâ€™s now an â€œIslamophobicâ€ mass murder? As far as we know, not a single Muslim was among the victims. Islamophobia seems an eccentric perspective to apply to this atrocity, and comes close to making the actual dead mere bit players in their own murder. Yet the Associated Press is on board:
Security Beefed Up At UK Mosques After Norway Massacre.
But again: No mosque was targeted in Norway. A member of the countryâ€™s second political party gunned down members of its first. But, in the merest evolution of post-9/11 syndrome, Muslims are now the preferred victims even in a story in which they are entirely absent.