A bombing, then a shooting. Norwegians reel from the Oslo and Utoya massacres. The casualty count has hit the nineties.
Early reports mentioned jihadist terrorism, but the malefactor appears to be Norwegian, white, and Christian. “It’s not just that Anders Behring Breivik is not a jihadist,” wrote Jesse Walker at Reason.com. “It’s that he hails from the wing of the right that defines itself by its opposition to jihad, and to the leftists that it sees as jihad’s enablers.”
Like so many examples of jihad in the Mideast, Breivik’s “anti-jihad jihad” is as puzzling and self-defeating as was the anarchist “propaganda by the deed” of just over a century ago, as pointless as it is horrific.
What’s worth noting is the demonstration of that too-human propensity to adopt the tactics of one’s enemies. Desperate, hate-filled zealots of Islam commit horrible crimes, indiscriminately killing innocents. Everyone with a lick of sense opposes such horrible actions (including most Muslims). But some people really worked up about this decide not only that “some have got to pay,” but that terrorism itself is worth emulating.
Human history is filled with such irrational over-reaction: feuds, vendettas, even wars.
Norway’s prime minister immediately assured everyone that his government’s reaction will be “more democracy, more openness.” “More democracy” might be vague, but he foreswore naivety, and besides, the sentiment is spot on. We who oppose violence must never resort to matching the criminals’ criminality.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.