Sunday evening UPDATE — Heh:
…anyone got tape of fundamentalist Christians taking to the streets to celebrate? Pass it along, please.
It was written last night, before the “manifesto” came out (and which I have not read) along with other stuff.
This is intended to be a review of the world’s immediate reaction, not some great world-historical document.
Remember James W. von Brunn?
Oh, come on: he was that “Christian” “neo-con” “white supremacist” who shot up the Washington, DC Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2009, leaving a black security guard dead.
Ah, yes. Von Brunn was going to be the next byword boogeyman, up there with Timothy McVeigh, whose name had become such a handy combination curse/schoolyard taunt (“I know you are, but what am I?”).
But alas, McVeigh was so… 1995. Finally, the intellectually lazy figured they’d finally have a new moniker they could toss around when debates became uncomfortable.
A name from this century, even!
That was until von Brunn, according to later reports, also turned out to be a 9/11 “truther” who hated George Bush and the Weekly Standard, and believed that something called “WESTERN SOCIALISM” – emphasis his – “represents the future of the West.”
Those revelations, as Politico’s Ben Smith wrote daintily at the time, “complicates any view of the racist shooter in contemporary left-right terms.”
One wag mused, “I guess he’s from the conservative-hating wing of conservatism. Big tent!”
And so, the name “James W. von Brunn” was erased from the white board in the Law & Order writers’ room, and thence from the memories of barroom bores and most members of the general public.
Except I did have occasion to remember von Brunn this week, after those mass murders in Norway prompted folks on all sides to rush to judgment.
Many of my fellow bloggers assumed the attacks had been carried out by Muslims. They had good reason to.
But my gut told me otherwise, so I refrained from posting anything on the story the day it broke.
Sure enough, reporters eventually identified the perpetrator, Anders Behring Breivik, as both a “Christian fundamentalist” and a “Freemason,” which is as likely a combination as a “Hindu Rastafarian.”
(PS: I gotta ask –will “Behring” turn out to be the Norwegian equivalent of “Wayne”?)
Breivik was also, according to news reports, an “extreme rightwing” “Zionist,” a “climate change denier,” a “white supremacist” and an opponent of Muslim immigration and multiculturalism.
(And while we’re on the topic of racial superiority, how about a big hand for Maclean’s, for this piece which should really be retitled: “There’s nothing to worry about, as long as you only count white corpses!!”)
However, journalists on both sides of the Atlantic often use “extreme right wing” to describe individuals who otherwise don’t seem like a very good fit: “old Euroleftie secularist” and cartoonist Lars Vilks; “gay hedonist” Pim Fortuyn; “anti-monarchist coke-snorting nihilist” Theo van Gogh; and his muse, “liberal black feminist” Ayaan Hirsi Ali, to name a few.
We are informed, too, that Brevik “held several positions in one of Norway’s biggest [political] parties,” that is, the Progress Party.
The Progress Party is being described (sometimes in the same news report) as a “fringe” “extremist” group and the second largest party in the Norwegian parliament.
That’s some fringe.
No doubt adding to the confusion, at least for North American journalists, is Wikipedia’s description of the Progress Party as “conservative liberal.”
Now, journalists are frequently confused by the meanings of words associated with other people’s deeply held beliefs, perhaps because journalists find other people’s deeply held beliefs too disturbing to contemplate.
(One thinks of the BBC producer who described some Catholic nuns as members of the “Karma Light” order...)
So while we wait for the commentariat to sort out their adjectives, and review what I’ve heard is the shooter’s 1500 page “manifesto,” I’ve been struck by other interesting aspects of the case of the man I like to think of as “the Bill Ayers of Norway”:
* Norway’s gun control laws are fairly strict, at least compared to those in the United States. Gun registries are supposed to prevent mass shootings, yet Breivik’s guns were registered.
* The day before the shooting occurred, the Labor Party youth group targeted by Breivik demanded that Norway formally “recognize the Palestinian state” and cheered when the visiting Foreign Minister declared, “the wall must be demolished and it must happen now.”
During the shooting, according to one survivor, “Some of my friends tried to stop him by talking to him. Many people think on the island that it was a test … comparing it to how it is to live in Gaza. So many people went to him and tried to talk to him, but they were shot immediately.”
* Three days before the shooting, a woman was raped on the steps of the Norwegian parliament by a “15 year old North African asylum seeker,” while security guards and others failed to intervene.
Furthermore, according to Oslo police, every rape investigated between 2006 and 2009 had been “carried out by non-western immigrants to Norway.”
Speaking of the local constabulary:
“With buildings so badly damaged, police were reluctant to search them until they had been made safe.”
(The NYPD could not be reached for comment. Especially the dead ones.)
So far I haven’t read any heartfelt calls for the rest of us to “understand the root cause of the terrorist’s resentments” — or should that be “insurrgent’s”? — in light of “Norwegian foreign (or domestic) policy.”
And I’ll be watching for stories in the “lifestyle” sections about the “surprising” number of people “converting” to Freemasonry.
Ah, well: early days, as the kids like to say.
We’ve been hearing loudish tsking about “hijacking,” too, from the very folks who really shouldn’t stick their necks out about it.
You see, you’re confusing a hijacker with a pilot.
The left hijacked the Holocaust Museum guy right out of the gate, because he was an old white guy.
My _subsequent_ pointing out of the FACTS about him was the moral equivalent of a pilot taking the controls back from the hijacker.
“The lunatic runs to the East. His keeper runs to the East. Both men run to the East. Their purposes differ…“