The sheep in gun-free zones are sheared or slaughtered
August 15, 2011
by Joseph P. Tartaro
The horrible recent events in Norway and the punditry they have provoked reminded me of a query I received some 20 or more years ago.
This was back when the Irish Republican Army (IRA) was regularly blowing things up in Northern Ireland, justified by their continuing struggle against 400 years of British rule. The Gun Week reader sent me a challenging letter.
He objected to a Gun Week’s reference to IRA “terrorists” in one of our reports of a particularly grizzly bombing in Northern Ireland and wanted to know why the IRA “freedom fighters” were termed “terrorists” while Colonial Americans who fought the British were considered “patriots.”
Aside from the fact that history is always written by the victors, I responded that there was a difference, since the IRA were putting nail-bombs in shopping malls and mail collection boxes to kill innocent, non-partisan civilians of all ages, while the American revolutionaries were mostly fighting regular British troops.
Freedom fighters have been battling against colonialism for centuries, but most try not to kill or injure the people they claim to be fighting for.
I suppose that lesson should be read to people like 32-year-old Anders Behring Breivik, who is more than a “suspect” in last month’s Oslo bombing that killed at least six and his gunning down of some 70 young people at a youth camp on the nearby island of Utoeya. Breivik has admitted to the crimes, but pleaded “not guilty” at his arraignment.
He claimed that his acts were part of an undeclared “war” against Marxism, Islamification of Europe and any other cultural or political problem he deemed contrary to his own visions of Norway and the rest of the European community.
The fact that he made such claims and had written what was described as a “1,500-word manifesto” of his political beliefs, prompted many in the media to devote secondary attention to the actual crime and place primary emphasis on his so-called right-wing or conservative beliefs.
Juan Cole on AlterNet.com immediately suggested that American conservatives were responsible for Breivik’s heinous crime. His commentary was headlined “What Norway’s terrorist has in common with the American Tea Party and right wing.” Cole cautioned that “The movement to ban the shariah, the castigation of a progressive income tax as “Marxist,” the condemnation of multiculturalism as a threat to Western values, are all themes commonly heard in the US Tea Party and in the right wing of the Israel lobbies.”
Curiously, Cole plays games with words when he says “It would be wrong, of course, to suggest that anyone who hits these themes is a terrorist in waiting or supports violence.” But then he proceeds to do just that.
Cole was far from alone in his linkage of Breivik’s atrocity with conservative philosophies.
Robin Wigglesworth in Oslo and Quentin Peel in Berlin writing for the The Financial Times, in a piece claimed that the “killer personifies the rise of new far-right.”
“Experts and Norwegian politicians say Anders Behring Breivik in many respects typifies a new breed of conservative extremists who have risen in prominence in recent years, in Norway and across Europe, supplanting longer-established but often withering groups of mostly white supremacists,” they wrote.
“He’s representative of a new type of rightwing extremism. Rather than the old neo-Nazis they are pro-Israel and driven by radical anti-Islam,” a senior Norwegian Conservative politician told the two writers.
Spending so much time talking about Breivik’s politics rather than his crime, does a disservice to his innocent victims, and certainly won’t help future generations.
Breivik is not a political philosopher; he’s a nut case, pure and simple.
He was able to do what he did because people and governments want to forget that evil exists, and that people like Breivik will always commit heinous acts.
What is worse, they think that disarming everyone is the answer, when the opposite is the more rational solution as John Snyder suggests in the news item on Page 1 of this issue.
Consider some of the known facts in this case.
1. Norway has some of the strictest gun laws in the world, laws that disarm the innocent good guys, but don’t prevent the lunatics from obtaining not only guns and ammunition but far more dangerous bomb-making materials.
2. Few of the police are armed in Norway, supposedly to send a symbolic but useless message about peace, tranquility and social order.
3. Breivik set off a bomb near the Norwegian capital, presumably to kill the former prime minister.
4. After the bomb detonated and claimed about a half-dozen lives, Breivik had time to don a “police uniform” and illegally transport at least two firearms, described as a pistol and a shotgun, together with their ammunition, to a youth camp-school located on a nearby island.
5. At which point, Breivik has about 90 minutes of uninterrupted time to concentrate on murdering some 70 youngsters. More than a minute a victim!
Uninterrupted because no one is able to prevent Breivik from his murderous intent, or put him down. No police appear on the scene, a matter which is largely swept under the rug in most news reports.
And, even if the police had appeared and done more than watch his killing spree because they didn’t have a boat or helicopter to get to the island, they were not armed anyway.
The foregoing is not just my assessment of the situation. Here’s what the New York Times reported.
“When a man dressed in a police uniform began slaughtering young people at a Norwegian summer camp last week, one of the first to be killed was a real police officer named Trond Berntsen, who for years had worked in security at the camp. Whether Officer Berntsen tried to stop the gunman is still being debated. But facing a man carrying multiple guns and ample ammunition, there was little he could do. Like most other police officers here, he had no weapon,” The Times said.
“By law, Norwegian police officers must have authorization from their chief to gain access to a firearm, but they have rarely needed to ask, until recently. Violent crime has been steadily increasing, jolting a society used to leaving doors unlocked and children to play without fear. Coupled with growing criticism over the police’s slow response time to the attacks and confusion about the death toll, which was lowered to 76 from 93, there are growing questions about whether the police are equipped to deal with the challenges.”
Of course, politicians and bureaucrats will discuss any number of after-the-fact solutions to the vulnerability of Norway and its citizens. Politicians and media in other countries will also discuss such pointless things as further disarming decent citizens to prevent them from fighting back against the predatory villains the police cannot deal with.
Bombings, the current preferred methodology for mass murder, will be ignored. Guns will be targeted. Average citizens will continue to be docile sheep waiting to be sheared or turned into mutton.
And anti-gun American politicians, who still don’t understand what the gun debate is all about, will try to score points.
The reigning House queen of the anti-gun movement, Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY) has already claimed that Breivik exploited weak American weapons laws to arm himself for the attack, noting he claimed mail-order purchase of 30-round magazines from an unnamed US supplier.
What’s the final word? Simply this: The Norway rampage culprit is reported “calm.” He won’t go to trial for several weeks, or even months. If anything, he expects to spend no more than 21 years in jail, because he knows that is the maximum sentence for even multiple murders in Norway, a gun-free killing zone.