Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Oslo Massacre

FYI, a piece about certain revelations about Anders Behring Breivik - the alleged perpetator of the horrific bombing/shooting in Oslo, Norway - is now up at The Other Blog.

I know that there are Norwegian readers and fans of this blog and the attendant shows/series; and I encourage other readers to keep them in your thoughts, prayers etc. during this period and to keep discussion of the tragedy respectful (re: I WILL delete insensitive/confrontational comments regarding the tragedy) and to donate to charitable organizations of your choice when/if the ability to do so is made available - for those in Norway: I am told that Ullevaal Hospital - where some victims are being treated, is in need of TYPE 0 BLOOD donations.


Sylocat said...

It's "Type O," not "Type zero."

Rob said...

First off: Incoming newsreports are sketchy and it will be months before we truly know what happened and opinion know is not based on 100% fact.

Second: I am an atheist.

I have read newsreports saying that he did it because he is a devout (christian word for fundamentalist) christian.
He is also to have said "I didn't want to do it, but it had to be done."
The modern western world is quick to judge muslim and hindu (mid-east and India/pakistani) behaviour as bad because of the societies they live in and the less developed nature of their countries.

But Norway is one of the most progressive countries in the western world. They got rid of capital punishment in 1902, that's over a century ago.

I think this supports my opinion that all religion is just as terrible as any other, no distinction between them. And that there is no more place for it in a world where so much has been proven and disproven by science.

motyr said...

I agree, there should be a discussion as to the role of video games in violent crime and their relationship to the perpetrators.

If it's more or less agreed that alleged killers like Anders Behring Breivik are prone to play violent or ultra-realistic video games (as opposed to violent video games being prone to cause people to want to commit acts of violence,) I wonder what the next step would be in that conversation.

I think this opens up another discussion about the merits of video games as art. If video games qualify as art, then should they be subject to censorship?

In the comments of your post, Bob, you used the example of metal music and how fans and musicians strove to distance themselves from "skinheads," who tended to also enjoy the same style or sub-genres of music.

What comes to my mind is the apparent role of The Catcher in the Rye in Mark David Chapman's killing of John Lennon, Robert John Bardo's shooting of Rebecca Schaeffer, and John Hinckley Jr.'s assassination attempt on Ronald Reagan. Although those scenarios do not feature as direct a correlation between the "influences" and the "actions" as Anders Behring Breivik's case, they offer up three instances where a respected work of art played a prominent role in influencing or directing the perpetrator's actions. Does The Catcher in the Rye tend to attract a certain audience of readers who are prone to interpret the novel as a message to kill? Seemingly so. But the novel maintains its position of one of the greatest works of fiction ever. These instances have not "tainted" the book's reception. In fact, although The Catcher in the Rye has been banned and challenged in the past, this is always because of the main character's use of coarse language, sexual references, or the promotion of drinking and smoking. In other words, The Catcher in the Rye never got a bad rap for the people who read it, it was only ever judged for its content and remains, in most literary circles, as a seminal work.

What I'm trying to say is the reasons for Anders Behring Breivik's acts of extreme violence and terror are much deeper rooted in his own mental instability than his tendency to play violent video games. Perhaps Call of Duty was a trigger, but this does not say anything of the game itself. Instead, we must look at the individual's disturbed psyche for answers.

Rob said...

@Motyr, I think that people who have a lot of frustration in their life try to find an outlet. Some work up a sweat, some play videogames.

Some just snap under the frustration and the pressure. Often times their family, friend, neighbours and environment can get to a person, get them some help. But in rare cases they go on a killingspree. Every murder is one too much, but as a person who's been through depression and has played every videogame I could get my hands on since I was 7, I always thought the connection between games and violent behaviour was as ludicrous as the heavy metal in the 80's, punk in the 70's and rock and roll in the 50's and 60's.

We're just dealing with several generations in a row making the rules and oversight smaller and leaving people discovering things and boundaries on their own. This can work for many young people, but we may have gone too far.

Now there were always rotten apples in the human society, but I personally think I might have turned out different if my parents didn't hit me once or twice (slap with a palm, never punches or fists). I am not advocating physical punishment, but maybe we should be a little less hippie and just a little bit more tiger mom.

Amethyst Angel said...

I think this supports my opinion that all religion is just as terrible as any other, no distinction between them. And that there is no more place for it in a world where so much has been proven and disproven by science.

That's right! It's all religion's fault! It had nothing to do with him being a nutjob who wanted to kill people and who used elements cribbed from existing ideologies to create an excuse to do so! Just like Jim Jones! His religion was completely to blame for his behavio--oh wait... He was an agnostic who ran a church that by his own estimation was 90 percent atheist. Oh well. I guess we have to ban atheism, Marxism, and every existing ideology in the entire world because there's always a chance it could get corrupted into something evil. (Okay look. I'm no big fan of religion. But blaming it and it alone for all of the world's problems always seems a bit shortsighted to me. Ideologies are merely tools. It's the people who use them that are the problem. In a world free of religion, we'd still find excuses to be dicks to each other.)

Rob said...

@Amethyst angel

Making a pretty big jump there to convincing people to drink cyanide.
And even Jones' church started out christian.

Ofcourse we'd find excuses to do things, but it would be far less likely because people wouldn't be indoctrinated from birth.
The guy is calling himself a "New Templar Knight".

hoblescotch said...


Clearly indoctrination would still exist, duh duufus, it already exists in many forms.

Removing religion simply removes the only part of the indoctrination that includes morals outside of laws. Without religion, we will see a progressive slump as the new generation gets taken for a whirlwind ride down the new-consumerist-slavery-highway.

human today, machine tomorrow! human today, machine tomorrow!