Via fjm and Charlie Stross, a number that puts the tragedy in Norway into perspective: 80 people dead out of their population is the equivalent of 5000 out of the United States. (Though the final number may have changed since that was posted.) That’s the scale of loss Norway has suffered.
And it’s a very, very targeted loss. The “summer camp” was a political one, organized by the social-democratic Labour Party. The youths killed there were politically engaged, passionate about their cause. Some of them might well have been potential Prime Ministers, Members of Parliament, movers and shakers in the Labour Party’s future. It’s like killing thousands of the most committed Young Democrats, or Young Republicans.
As most people know by now, Breivik is not an Islamic terrorist (contrary to the utterly unfounded assertions made by various media figures, at least in the United States, immediately following news of the attacks); he is a self-identified right-wing Christian who opposes multiculturalism and the spread of Muslims in Europe. This post, and this quote from it, sums up the inequality of the reactions based on who’s to blame:
“[T]hey’re now pleading for the world not to do what they’ve spent their careers doing — assigning collective blame for an act of terror through guilt-by-association.”
And this one . . . this one just makes me want to punch people in the face.
But you know what gives me hope? A quote, whose source I have now lost, from (I think) the Prime Minister of Norway, to the effect that “the proper response to an attack on democracy is more democracy.” Amen. I hope the Norwegians don’t surrender their ideals because of this terrorist’s actions.