22 thoughts on “Insane, Or Evil?

  1. MPM

    I believe the blogger is wrong that there is any abuse of psychiatric evaluation. As a poster comments Norway has the option of preventive custody if necessary. If he had been found sane, he could still have been put into preventive custody after serving his sentence. But it turns out the guy is in fact insane and there is a separate procedure for that.

      1. MPM

        Well, I’m not a psychiatrist, but the people who evaluated him were. And to this layperson he looks at least as crazy as Lee Harvey Oswald. In the light of Norway’s option of preventive custody I see no reason to suspect misuse of psychiatric evaluations and in the light of a professional finding he is insane I see every reason to believe he is insane, something that has prima facie plausibility too. And I expect there will be an opportunity for judicial review of the finding (requested by the defense, the prosecution or even third parties), although I’m not sure of that.

        1. Curt Thomson

          I see no reason to suspect misuse of psychiatric evaluations

          He is a danger to innocent people, by his own admission. The state lacks the ability to lock him up indefinitely (a comment on a blog notwithstanding). I don’t think you’re looking very hard.

          1. Curt Thomson

            Forvaring: In Norway preventive detention implies a sentence of imprisonment for persons who have committed a serious crime and who in the opinion of the court constitute a risk for reoffending. The court states a maximum duration and usually a minimum duration for which the sentence must be served. The offender can be conditionally released after having served the minimum duration period.

            I don’t think it’s a stretch to suggest the psychiatrists who evaluated him were concerned with him going to trial and being released after some indeterminate time.

  2. MPM

    A somewhat related philosophical point (made in a fictional context, but clearly dealing with deeper issues of guilt, justice, mercy and punishment) by J.R.R. Tolkien:

    the Wise in the Elder Days taught always that the Orcs were not ‘made’ by Melkor, and therefore were not in their origin evil. They might have become irredeemable (at least by Elves and Men), but they remained within the Law. That is, that though of necessity, being the fingers of the hand of Morgoth, they must be fought with the utmost severity, they must not be dealt with in their own terms of cruelty and treachery. Captives must not be tormented, not even to discover information for the defense of the homes of Elves and Men. If any Orcs surrendered and asked for mercy, they must be granted it, even at a cost. This was the teaching of the Wise, though in the horror of the War it was not always heeded.

  3. B Lewis

    Brevik: Crazy? Evil? Or a man ahead of his time?

    On one hand, he’s right about a lot of things. On the other… eighty dead kids.

    I want to make it plain that I am 100% against killing people except as a last resort in cases of self defense. But who gets to define those terms? Is it wrong to kill those who are actively working on behalf of the enemy, even if they are young? Or is it the distasteful but necessary duty of a soldier?

    How should we think of this man? Brevik the cold-blooded mass-murderer? Or Brevik the defender of the West? I don’t know. I suspect more than a few good people are troubled by their true thoughts regarding this man and the things he did.

    When considering Brevik, one cannot help but be reminded of another man who decided the time had come for deeds instead of words. “These [abolitionists] are all talk. What we need is action—action!

    1. Titus

      OK City: On the one hand, no more Wacos. On the other, dead kids.

      There is no way to frame it that does not tax the conscience of good men.

      1. B Lewis

        Japan, 1945: On one hand, no more World War II. On the other, 300,000 dead people, mostly women and kids.

        And I didn’t mention Hamburg (40,000+ dead people), Dresden (25,000 dead people), or the nukes.

        Trying to deny that dead kids = dead kids won’t work. We have to face the facts. One man who wasn’t afraid to admit the truth was the late USAF General Curtis LeMay, the architect of the Japan air raids of 1945. He once said “Killing Japanese didn’t bother me very much at that time… I suppose if I had lost the war, I would have been tried as a war criminal…. Every soldier thinks something of the moral aspects of what he is doing. But all war is immoral and if you let that bother you, you’re not a good soldier.” [Source: http://to.pbs.org/valo77]

        General LeMay was a hero. He knew that bombing civilians was an objectively evil act. He also knew that allowing the war to continue would have been an even greater evil. He chose to accept the blood of those civilians on his hands and he did so without apology. He submitted his actions to the judgment of legal authority with the full intention of accepting their determination without complaint.

        The question that troubles me is: how is what LeMay did in World War II any different (morally speaking) than what Brevik did this past year? Is it OK to kill kids for the kause as long as one has on a uniform? Are the kids any more dead because the guy that killed them wrote his own declaration of war instead of getting one from the government?

        I don’t know the answers to these questions. I do know this: the innocent kids killed in the OKC attack were not gathered there that day in order to learn how to destroy their own society and surrender the remains to an enslaving alien force. The ones Brevik killed were.

        One thing is certain: There is no way to frame such a deed that does not tax the conscience of good men. Sadly, reality does not always present good men with a choice between Good and Evil. Sometimes, a good man is faced with a choice between Evil and Evil. In such cases, the hero chooses the lesser of the two evils, and then accepts the consequences of his choice.

        As LeMay did, and as Brevik has.

        Note: I appreciate your point of view. I find this topic deeply unpleasant, but I can’t ignore the moral dilemma implicit in the story. If I have made an error of fact or logic, I’d appreciate it if you’d point it out to me. Thanks.

        1. rickl

          Some would say that a government which is actively and deliberately undermining its own nation’s culture is insane.

        2. Karl Hallowell

          It’s worth noting that there are rules and processes for war. First, declaration is public. Second, in a proper war, the sides are clearly marked. Soldiers wear uniforms and there is a clear distinction between soldiers and civilians. Finally, there is provision for the surrender of the enemy.

          Even if we were to grant, and I see absolutely no reason to do so, that these children were proper military targets, Brevik didn’t issue a proper declaration of war against whoever he supposedly was fighting. He also didn’t wear a proper uniform, instead disguising himself as a police officer to worm his way into the camp. Finally, he shot unarmed people without giving them the opportunity to surrender. There is no valid moral comparison with LeMay.

          1. B Lewis

            Thanks for the reply. There is much of value in what you say. I must admit, however, that I’m not convinced that Brevik is “just” as mass murderer. Yes, there are rules and processes for war, but the conquest of Europe by Islam is not that kind of war. If our country were being invaded by a foreign cultural and linguistic population, and if that invasion were being facilitated by traitors within the government and power structure, I wonder how many of us would sit idly by and wait for that selfsame power structure to declare war on itself.

            Oh wait, that’s exactly what is happening — in Arizona, and elsewhere.

            The Islamic faith is intrinsically warlike. It is based upon conquest and assimilation. We have a “declaration of war”. It is called the Holy Koran. And the men who fight for it do not play by the rules of war. They are not going to do us the favor of dressing in distinctive costumes, like COBRA on the old G.I. Joe cartoon show, so we’ll knw they’re the Bad Guys. Neither will they do us the courtesy of recognizing any distinction between soldiers and civilians. The daily headlines are proof of that. And to whom is our enemy to surrender when asked? The government? The same government that is betraying its own people and collaborating with him in the destruction of the nation?

            Brevik issued a declaration of war: his manifesto, published the same day he attacked. It is true he didn’t wear a proper uniform. Neither did his enemy. He disguised himself as a police officer. His enemy disguised themselves as the youth wing of a political party. He shot unarmed people without giving them the opportunity to surrender. The Enemy kills thousands of Europeans and other non-Muslims every year without batting an eyelash. I don’t mean to be contentious, but if killing the enemy is forbidden, the only thing left to do is sit calmly, moral hymen intact, and do nothing while they destroy everything you believe in.

            Again, I’m against killing anyone except in self-defense and even then only as a last resort. And if I could go back in time and prevent Anders Behring Brevik from killing those kids I would. He has done tremendous harm to the cause of the West.

            But what are men of good will to do? The first duty of any government is to protect the nation. If the government of a given nation is not only failing to do so, but is actively working with an enemy to hasten the destruction of the nation, what course of action is a good man to take? Voting? Pointless. Writing letters to the editor? The enemy doesn’t care. “Occupying” a public space? Meaningless. When the government won’t defend the nation, do the people of a nation not have the duty to defend it themselves?

            That is the heart of the question that Anders Brevik poses for us. And I don’t have the answer.

            Thanks for your insightful comments.

          2. Karl Hallowell

            Here’s the thing, B. If we stoop to the level of the vermin we oppose, then we become vermin ourselves and do not deserve to win.

  4. MPM

    Interesting link Curt, thanks.

    The court may also prolong the maximum duration. In 2002 “forvaring” replaced the order of “sikring” in Norway. “Sikring” was not a punishment in the judicial sense. The court ordered a sentence of “sikring” when there was a risk of re-offending due to the offender’s psychiatric condition or his mental
    state or abilities.

    Interesting. I had interpreted “forvaring” to be what this quote reveals was the previous policy, called “sikring”.

    In Holland we have something similar, called TBS, which is not punitive, but can only be imposed after a conviction and only in the case of insanity. There’s another measure called ibs which is also not punitive and also requires insanity but not a criminal conviction. Both have lighter regimes than ordinary prison and both can be of indefinite duration. The intent is to protect society and to attempt treatment where possible.

    I’m not aware of any measure that allows indefinite incarceration of sane people who are a threat to others, like terrorists. I’ll have to ask some legally knowledgable acquaintances about this, it appears to be a possibility that was overlooked.

  5. Curt Thomson

    I’m not aware of any measure that allows indefinite incarceration of sane people who are a threat to others, like terrorists.

    We’ve got issues there too. Fortunately we also have predators and hellfires, and the will to use them. The issues remain, though mitigated.

  6. Fletcher Christian

    He ought to have been given a medal. Given that all (yes, all) of the victims were late teens (not kids) who had been thoroughly indoctrinated in the prevailing dhimmi attitude of the ruling classes in Norway.

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