I am catching the headlines about the gun man in Norway who massacred at least 80 young people at a political camp.
Everyone is always shocked at these inevitable headlines. But, to me, it is surprising that these events aren’t even more common. For example, in America, there are some estimated 150 million guns. What people will say about that is that it points to responsible gun ownership. And I can’t necessarily disagree with the logic. I am sure that Norway has a very tight gun control law, which we will probably be hearing about in the near future. Yet, something like this happens.
In America, we had the Giffords shooting in January. People were shocked about that one, too. In immediate news reports, they tried to say that the perp, Jared Lochner, was a crazy guy. I am sure they’ll be saying it about the Norwegian guy soon enough.
Some accounts had this as possible Muslim terrorism. Notice how, when it’s a Muslim, it’s easier to put the word “terrorist” in there. Somehow, though, the non-Muslim is not considered a terrorist. What could this guy in Norway be, if not a terrorist? Timothy McVeigh was a terrorist, right?
No one has the good answer to this problem, especially in America. We should have our legitimate right to a gun; but we also have the right not to be shot at.
[Update: This one kind-of reminds me of a long-forgotten terrorist attack on a German bus in the summer of 1988. There were two men who held a gun to young women on the bus, and shot one, whose name was Silke Bischoff. The portrayal of the perpetrators was that they were angry, lost youth. Not nuts, just angry and alienated. The Europeans like to talk as if they are more advanced than the Americans—even though we put Europe back together in the last century under New Deal-style social norms. It will be interesting to hear what commentary comes out of the Norway tragedy in terms of what the European governments propose to do about this sort of terrorism and its roots. In America, we usually just change the channel, in a manner of speaking.]