Promoting Evil 1

Anders Breivik is a monster. Last year the man took the lives of eighty-seven people in what has to be one of the worst single-person bloodbaths the world has seen outside of war. Even as the country still recovers from the horror of his actions, he is the face of Norway’s nightmares.

Anders is on trial right now and more than a few bits of information have come to light. However, as the world tries desperately to understand the motives behind his actions, the media have a different interest. To the media Anders is a buzzword, something they can use in headlines to get ratings. As the print media has been in a decline for years, the accuracy of these headlines suffers when pit against the need to pull in readers with scandal and interesting correlations. As always these less than honest headlines and stories sensationalise and blame easy targets, taking more interest in Breivik’s video game hobby than the reasons given for playing them. What follows are a few of the headlines that newspapers have used to report this story with.

CNN: Admitted Norway killer Breivik says he trained on video games
London Evening Standard: Anders Breivik: Online games helped me plan killings
Reuters: Breivik used computer war games to plan attack
Al Arabiya News: Breivik: Playing ‘World of Warcraft’ helped me prepare for the attacks
The Irish Times: Breivik used games to plan attack

The majority of these articles claim the same thing; that Breivik can’t distinguish between video games and real life, and that he used games such as World of Warcraft to plan the attacks. The London Evening Standard article even includes the line, “He said his training on World of Warcraft, an online game, focused on situations where he would be flanked by two commando teams.” which shows that Bo Wilson, the journalist who wrote that article, not only didn’t bother to listen to what Breivik said and report on it accurately, but that he never looked into the game to see if it can be played that way (it can’t, as I’m sure you’ve guessed even if you’re a non-gamer). In fact, Breivik did talk about World of Warcraft quite a bit in the run up to the trial as well as the trial itself. He described it as a gift to himself, a year off from responsibility where he could play the game as a reward for what he saw as an upcoming suicidal action.

I deserved to take a year off to do what I wanted to do, especially with the upcoming so-called suicide action – I wanted to have no remorse for what I would lose out on. I wanted a martyrdom gift, so I wanted a sabbatical year.

Some people like to play golf, some like to sail, I played WoW. It had nothing to do with 22 July. It’s not a world you are engulfed by. It’s simply a hobby. WoW is only a fantasy game, which is not violent at all. It’s just fantasy. It’s a strategy game. You co-operate with a lot of others to overcome challenges. That’s why you do it…

Later on Breivik began to see the benefits his gaming could have for what he had already planned and spoke about that.

I played on the idea that: ‘Ooh, I’ve become addicted to games.’ That was my primary cover.

He continued to explain how he could leave the country for a while and say he was seeing someone he met online, be unavailable for ages and blame it on dungeon raids. The game had become an alibi he used to cover up the warning signs that his preparations may have given to others.

The face of evil

Breivik spent an enormous amount of time planning his attacks, with some of his diary entries mentioning the formulation of such plans as early as 2005. He illegally obtained firearms and explosives and his 1,500 page manifesto has details on how he did this. Details that the media hasn’t picked up on. He named his guns after figures from Norse mythology and the media has mentioned this but never once spoken about the obvious connotations to his mental health. He has claimed to have been a member of the Knights Templar and the media have torn that detail to shreds, outing him as someone who has trouble separating reality from fantasy due to that. Yet as soon as he mentions playing Modern Warfare as a way to train himself how the police will react to terrorist actions, it is reported as fact with no questions asked. It doesn’t matter that Modern Warfare doesn’t have any levels like that in the single or multiplayer games, or any way to make your own levels that simulate such things. Gaming as an industry is still new enough to be attacked in this way.

As a gamer I’m appalled by this, but it is as a human being that I am truly horrified. Pushing the attention towards the minuscule gaming aspect of this case is a cheap way for the media to get a few extra readers and show off “a new threat that we all need to be aware of”, but it cheapens the truth of the matter. Anders Breivik is a monster. It doesn’t matter what his hobbies were, or if he imagined those things as essential parts of his training for his actions. He is a killer who has no remorse for his actions and truly believes them to have been justified by an imagined “Islamification of Europe”. We shouldn’t be remembering this as the actions of a poor fellow who got confused by video games but as the rampage of a monster. We shouldn’t be distracted by what clothing he wears when the blood of close to a hundred people is staining that clothing.

As I said at the beginning of this article, Anders Breivik is a monster. To focus on anything but that is to cheapen the deaths of his victims.

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36 thoughts on “Promoting Evil 1

  1. I agree. Breivik is extremely manipulative. He is playing a game and has been for perhaps his entire life. This game goes on, and now the media is actually playing along. He has, himself, claimed that his worst enemy is silence; that nobody would pay him attention. Well, it seems he won't have to worry about that.

  2. And, according to media, he is facing only 21 years of imprisonment. I mean, 21 years is lot but for what he did, definitely not enough.Also, what I am afraid of is the possibility that some TV or movie producer could come with idea to make a movie about him one day.

  3. In the US, it is illegal for a person to make money from a book or other result of his crime.I've been wondering about that 21-year limit, too, Darko … but I hear Norwegians say that he will never get out. The only thing that I can think of to get around the 21-year limit is to sentence him to 21 years on each count … 87 × 21 = 1827 years … I'm pretty sure he wouldn't live long enough to serve all of that. Plus, there have to be other illegalities committed by him to run the total up.As to naming his weapons from mythology, I always called my 1911 .45 automatic "Mjøllnir".

  4. Well, they can always say that he is insane and permanent danger to society but latest medical exams proved that he was totally sane when he killed those people.

  5. In Scandinavia the maximum imprisonment is 21 years. It's considered life time, and you can not have multiple life sentences.There are actually two different reports on Breivik's sanity. One saying he is psycotic, one saying he is merely dysfunctional. This is quite outstanding because normally in Scandinavian law suits you never have second opinions, because this would open up for everlasting trials. The actual trial will go on for the next ten weeks, and there is much more to this than the Utøya killings (official number 77). For some reason it seems that Breivik's bomb attack on the Norwegian governement buildings in Oslo, that took place the same day, has been moved to the background. The detonation of 950 kg. of explosives in front of a governmental building combined with the massacre on Utøya makes this a genuine terror attack, which is to be considered a 'crime against humanity'. This opens up for an international persecution and a punishement that fits the crime. However, this will only happen if the preliminaries find the perpetrator 100 percent sane.(A Norwegian newpaper deleted all mentioning of Breivik from their internet site and claimed it was because they did not want to parttake in the show which 'Breivik is orchestrating'. Good thing, I guess, but one could very easily get the suspicion that it was only because they wanted to sell more printed copies, because the printed issue held lots and lots of Breivik stuff.)

  6. There are two reports on his sanity for good reason – people don't want to think that someone who can carry out such an act is sane. To a degree he's not, as no-one could choose that way to do things and be completely sane. But the way he planned this, the way his manifesto was filled with half-truths and "accidentally released", the way he has played the media; the guy is coldly calculating in that aspect, almost genius level (as shown by the fact his Lacoste clothing was newly bought before his arrest). The fact is that he's a monster; just insane enough to be dangerous and sane enough to plan and get further in his schemes. They need to keep the opinion that he may be completely insane so that they can indeed keep him locked away beyond the maximum sentence. I doubt he'll survive in jail anyway, as suicide/murder will be the perfect way to bring the last bit of attention to his cause and martyr him.

  7. He wants to die. In an interview he said that to him there were only two options, either a total acquittal or death. Statements in his manifesto and on different internetsites say the same: a martyr either goes free (to have another go at it) or dies fighting for his cause. A cleverly orchestrated suicide is definitely an option. I say, go ahead Anders. If you do it now you can do your beloved country a real favour, and good riddance!

  8. Originally posted by Furie:

    break the image he tries to portray.

    That would be a key task. Otherwise, another Breivik will appear, sooner or later.

  9. Until a load of easily led fools believe in his "work" and start their own chapters. Put him in jail, show him up as human, break the image he tries to portray. Then allow him to bugger off to death when no-one remembers his name.

  10. One will, anyway … it seems to be some sort of messianic delusion that crops up every now and then.Notice how he idolises Hitler, someone whose ideas would seem to have been destroyed long ago; or this fellow Tuhin Rahman, in this very community … the post being: MY GRANDMOTHER'S GRANDFATHER-TIPU SULTAN, THE MUSLIM SULTAN OF INDIA by Tuhin Rahman, who is more than a little anti-semitic.I'm afraid we all carry the seeds of this sort of tripe (apologies to those who like tripe soup) within us … the American psychologist who examined captured Nazi bigwigs at Nürnberg said that the most alarming thing that he found was not that these men were "monsters", but that they were so "ordinary".So it's up to us, individually, I reckon, not to be monsters … and it's not as easy as it sounds.

  11. Well said. A great blog post. I'm guessing this might be the worst monster you've spoken about on these pages.Originally posted by gdare:

    And, according to media, he is facing only 21 years of imprisonment. I mean, 21 years is lot but for what he did, definitely not enough.

    We've got something called "forvaring" or containment in Norway. Basically, it allows us to give him an additional five years of imprisonment every five years after he's served his original sentence. In theory this can lead to life imprisonment. I'm thinking this could very well happen with Breivik.And yeah. I'm a little pissed about the sensationalist headlines, and poor source referencing in Norwegian newspapers during the trial.

  12. Originally posted by Furie:

    Put him in jail, show him up as human, break the image he tries to portray. Then allow him to bugger off to death when no-one remembers his name.

    This. Definitely.

  13. "He named his guns after figures from Norse mythology…" May I suggest to limit access of the public to norse mythology as it obviously inspires people to an extremely violent behaviour?

  14. If only he *was* inspired by Norse mythology – he would probably have only conducted a bit of fighting and pillaging, partaken in some rape and then settled down somewhere overseas.I fear these random murderer people above all, because they are so unpredictable (and thus hard to spot and defuse) – and intensely destructive on so may levels – this dude has become like one of those exploding, out-of-control dragsters you can see on youtube etc. – a short, sharp and very destructive nightmare event, now forever viewable from the safety of one's living room. The best way to defuse this little anti-human's power may well have been to disappear him, but of course life, law and the media will never let that actually happen. He may indeed become the subject of a right-on bleeding edge cartoonist – who knows.Personally, I believe that if he hadn't been able to hang his destiny onto the 'Islamification of Europe' excuse, he would have become a mass murderer in some other way – secretly leaving bodies of his victims in the undergrowth or buried in the garden, until he was discovered, like others we have known and expressed shock and horror about. Sane? Fuck no, he's obviously totally as mad as a meat axe.

  15. It is very common for traditional media to misinterpret and "cry wolf". I think this may change in the future thanks to social media if it works like here, trying to dig deeper into facts behind stories. Although, there is always the risk the social media only strengthen the rumors. Therefore I recommend telling the primary sources and provide links where they are found ;)Originally posted by Furie:

    Should prisoners be forced to wear prison clothing from the day they're brought in, if only to protect the police and prison services from potential legal action brought by paranoid brands?

    Of course not. What Lacoste now have done is actually the very opposite. By making such big noise out of it makes the company look very selfish. I would not even notice Breivik uses Lacoste clothes if not seeing this story here.

  16. Originally posted by drlaunch:

    We've got something called "forvaring" or containment in Norway. Basically, it allows us to give him an additional five years of imprisonment every five years after he's served his original sentence. In theory this can lead to life imprisonment.

    A rolling sentence with a minimum term. Hmmm, is Norway run by the mobile networks?

    Originally posted by clean:

    Originally posted by Furie:

    Put him in jail, show him up as human, break the image he tries to portray. Then allow him to bugger off to death when no-one remembers his name.

    This. Definitely.

    Originally posted by gdare:

    That would be a key task. Otherwise, another Breivik will appear, sooner or later.

    Originally posted by derWandersmann:

    One will, anyway … it seems to be some sort of messianic delusion that crops up every now and then.

    These people are men, like any of us. They are flawed. They have good sides and bad, no matter how we come to learn of them. And they break. Keeping people safe from people like this without creating a state that allows this sort of personality to flourish is the key, and it's one that has yet to be found.

    Originally posted by derWandersmann:

    So it's up to us, individually, I reckon, not to be monsters … and it's not as easy as it sounds.

    It's exactly as easy as it sounds. As easy as saying no, when the mob is saying yes. As easy as standing up for what you believe, no matter the cost. We call ourselves humanity and are protected by human rights. Well I say we have to earn those rights every single day by being the best damn version of ourselves that we can be. Yes, humanity has the capacity to become monsters, but that cannot be true without the flipside also being true. There can't be the ability to become a demon without the ability to be an angel.

    Originally posted by Pineas2:

    May I suggest to limit access of the public to norse mythology as it obviously inspires people to an extremely violent behaviour?

    One of my points entirely. This fact is mentioned in almost all reports, merely as a fact and sometimes with a list of the names and pictures of the weapons. That's news reporting about a simple fact of the case. However, when video games are mentioned…

    Originally posted by FlaRin:

    I fear these random murderer people above all, because they are so unpredictable (and thus hard to spot and defuse)

    No quite related but I have an upcoming article that will definitely interest you. It looks at the difference between the way the media portrays criminals and the way they portray regular guys.I'd like to think that I'd be able to spot a guy like this before it happened, or at least see some warning signs. Hopefully I'll never be given the chance to find out.
    Originally posted by FlaRin:

    Sane? Fuck no, he's obviously totally as mad as a meat axe.

    The key here is the measure of clarity with which he carried out his crimes. Something went wrong with his psychological make up to make him think that is the way to do things, but the planning, covers and the way he's played things since. He's probably more sane than some of us to be able to pull that off.
    Originally posted by serola:

    Therefore I recommend telling the primary sources and provide links where they are found

    I would actually do that if it weren't such a pain in the arse on this site. I've even considered moving over to Tumblr as it has such a better service (especially for mobile users) and better tools for doing such things but I'd miss the readership I've built here. It's rare to find people who have opinions and know they can express them in ways that go beyond a Like button.

  17. Originally posted by Furie:

    I've even considered moving over to Tumblr as it has such a better service (especially for mobile users) and better tools for doing such things

    I wouldn't. I tried their app and it won't let you publish more than one media type in a single entry. I tried their site in Opera Mobile and it won't let you edit the text field, and I tried their mobile site in the built in browser and it won't let you format or add media to your posts. Well, I could be missing something, or you could be perfectly content writing your blog posts entirely in HTML on your phone.If anything, Jooid for Joomla seems to be the only mobile publishing app I found that lets you edit rich posts on your phone. But good luck getting a following by installing it on your own web server.I recommend My Opera on Opera Mobile with a zoom of 125% in landscape mode, and using either a note app or the notes in Opera Link on the web for your post template. It's at least the best mobile blog solution I was able to find.

  18. Originally posted by Mik:

    I'd like to think that I'd be able to spot a guy like this before it happened, or at least see some warning signs

    Me too, but to be honest, there are a lot of weird people out there and as a rule we tend to steer clear of them socially – perhaps if one worked with someone such as this, one might start to think about it…but….unless you had genuine cause to think 'this dude is just gonna start killing people, I'd better tell the police' (and assuming the police actually took any notice of you, not totally guaranteed)…the blue touch paper could burn quietly away for years before the firework exploded in everyone's face….It's worrying.

  19. Attempting to justify his actions via the idea of an 'Islamification of Europe' is one of the things that shits me, too. I don't see anywhere in the media commenting on the very obvious: Islam does not equal terrorists. Some terrorists use their interpretation of Islamic teachings to attempt to justify their atrocities. It doesn't follow that all Muslims are terrorist. It's something (obvious to everyone here, of course) that isn't said often enough in the media.

  20. We have something called "Sicherheitsverwahrung". So under certain circumstances you could be jailed for life and go after twenty years to another prison until you are healed from your distratctions, either by a therapy or dead. "Some terrorists use their interpretation of Islamic teachings…" Yes, that is true. They could also be christians or hindus. Baader and Meinhoff would today probably claim to be jihadists or European crusaders like Breivik.

  21. There have been terrorists through the entire history of modern society. To some (at least themselves) they are 'freedom fighters'. During WWII there were groups of freedom fighters in every German occupied country in Europe. They were terrorists too. Bombing Nazi headquarters and domestic companies that did business with the occupation, killing what they considered traitors and whistleblowers, sabotaging railways and roads. Some of them weren't the nicest people around. I have read stories about the Danish resistance movement, and they did questionalble things, especially in the months after the war. And still, they are considered heroes.I am not in any way supporting Breivik or calling him a hero, but when things like this happens, I wonder about the bigger perspective. Who's side are we on? And do we absolutely have to choose sides all the time?

  22. Originally posted by Pineas2:

    They could also be christians or hindus.

    Undeniably there are people from all religions who twist dogma to their own ends. I wasn't singling out Islam, of course. It was just pertinent to the discussion.

  23. Well, in our days it's all about religion in the terrorism-buisness as marxism is dead. Some years ago it was all about freedom, the proletarians and communism. Names change, hate stays. "During WWII there were groups of freedom fighters in every German occupied country in Europe." This included even Germany itself. Schenck von Stauffenberg was a terrorist, the Edelweisspiraten were terrorists. Most of these folks were dead when they were declared freedom fighers to fill the need for "good germans."

  24. It's quite interesting to see how this is reported in media outside Norway. The gaming hasn't been a big issue here. He claimed having used Call of duty for shooting practice, but I only remember reading that in a sentence (followed with the accuracy he had executed the kids with headshots).Instead, my feeling is that media here focuses on trying to figure out whether he's sane or not. Yeah. Good luck with that.

  25. Well, all I can do is repeat what I said on the day after … I'm glad I wasn't the one to find him. My karma's got about all that kind of thing that I can handle, now.

  26. Now there's a point. How amazing are the people who see these things happen (and there really is no training that can get you ready for it) and still bring the perpetrator in to face a fair trial? How much control must they have of themselves? So many of us would be making the next headlines, makijg ourselves just as bad. We're wired for it. To keep control like that truly amazes me.

  27. …I agree though…the individuals who capture rapists, child molesters, murderers…and 'bring them in', without burning them to death slowly with cheap cigarette lighters, have my respect.Having said that, Harold Shipman is suspected of murdering over 250 people (oficially, it seems 215)…..is the fear and horror a numerical matter, or a dramatic matter???

  28. It's a bit of both. The capacity to take a life is within all of us, whether to protect those we love or get what we want. There’s no getting away from it; even the most moral person has a line that will make them a killer. This is a single event though, something so hypothetical that it wont ever happen for many. The sheer number of dead is what adds to the drama here. It makes people take notice, not because more deaths is worse than even a single stolen life, or because this is a worse tragedy, but because we erroneously believe that the warning signs should have been somehow more noticable for those who commit larger acts of violence. No matter how manly we play it, we know the effect that one hypothetical murder would have on us, deep down. We think that someone capable of committing mass murder or someone committing a string of them should somehow be much more noticable. Like the fairy tale monsters of our childhoods, their evil should be shown in some way on their being. It's the Disney way of seeing the world. The fact is that the worst monsters the world has ever seen are, as was mentioned earlier, regular guys. They are able to commit such acts not becuse they are more evil, but because they are more human than the rest of us. Their ability to compartmentalise things is better evolved. The thing that makes humanity thrive is the very worst conditions, the thing that makes this species worth saving, is the very thing that makes these people able to do what they do. And that is what horrifies us so much.

  29. I haven't heard the Danish media mention the gaming as a "thing" either. And speaking of branding and La Coste: I read that the Norwegian mobile company Netcom aren't advertising as much as usual in the media that covers the case about Breivik. It seems like a lot of companies don't want their names associated with him. He's a monster, and that's all there is to it. Sane or not, I don't give a fuck. I hope he'll remain in prison for the rest of his sorry life.

  30. I have spent quite some time in different rehab institutions and there I have met some really damaged people, mostly criminals, but also what we call 'ordinary' men who were living ordinary lifes, schoolteachers, craftsmen, etc. who suddenly was in a situation where they lost everything. This can have a very profound effect on a man. Divorce, financial problems, the death of a child – things that might happen to everyone – simply makes the parts of our personality that we built up crash over night, leaving nothing but the most primitive instincts alive. I've been there myself. One week I was a news magazine editor, good reputation, promising prospects, a good four thousand quid monthly wage, even a young, pretty wife. Next week I was a bum drinking from a bottle, sleeping rough. This situation may cause similar incidents. Suicide is the mildest choice. It can be worse.

  31. Breivik is a monster, no doubt there. I don't EXACTLY know what all his ideas are, but I know enough to know that he is anti-Islam. At that point he seems like a Norwegian "Geert Wilders" to me, except Breivik prefers to kill people to bring over his message (which isn't really the best way).Anyway, I'm not posting here to show my own (kinda pointless and non-original) opinion, but to show this:

    I could say something about the vid, but I think it speaks for itself. Breivik only unified Norway… against himself.

  32. Breivik, Mundlos, Böhnhardt… they are all living in their own parallel-dimension with violent and murderous interferences with our dimension. I cannot see any difference to the al-quaeda-guys.

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