The Trail of Evil Can Europe's Populists Be Blamed for Anders Breivik's Crusade?

REUTERS

Part 2: How Does an Average Citizen Turn into a Mass-Murderer?


Breivik is a child of the middle class, the son of a diplomat and a nurse. After his parents were divorced, he grew up with his mother and stepfather. He lived with his mother again for a period before the attack in Skoyen, a neighborhood in western Oslo where there are few Muslim immigrants. It's a pleasant neighborhood with flowerboxes and Thuja hedges, not far from the fjord. Breivik had lunch with his mother every other Sunday, say the neighbors.

It is in that neighborhood, where he grew up and where his mother lived until she was taken away on the night of the attack, where people are particularly appalled by the events. Before the massacre, locals thought of Breivik simply as "Anders," just another young man from the neighborhood.

An elderly woman with gray curls and pink lipstick is sitting on a chair, leaning against a flowered cushion, in Café Valentin behind Möllhausen Torg, a small shopping center with a supermarket and a flower shop.

The woman, who prefers not to mention her name, says that Breivik's mother is her best friend. She calls it a tragedy, this thing that the son has done to her best friend. The mother, she says, was proud of her son. He was quiet and reserved, and he had never had any problems or been a troublemaker. Perhaps he was a little too shy, the mother had once told her friend in confidence, but she was also quick to point out that it was probably a sign of great intelligence.

"I don't know," says the elderly woman. "He was too quiet. And he was very much alone. Always."

Just Shy

Breivik's mother doesn't even have a computer in her apartment, not even a mobile phone, says the woman. The mother told her that young Anders was a real technology buff, something she had respected and encouraged. "She did everything for her children. There was nothing they didn't have." The woman talked to her friend about Anders' loneliness, his reclusive nature and his visits on Sundays. She said she thought it was odd that he wasn't in a relationship and never brought home friends. But the mother dismissed her friend's concerns, saying that he just happened to be shy and that he would grow out of it.

It was by no means obvious that Breivik saw himself as a chosen one, a "Knight Templar," a member of a Christian conservative avant-garde, named after the medieval order of knights that not only protected pilgrims to Jerusalem, but also used violence to spread the Christian faith in the Holy Land. Breivik claims that in April 2002 he went to London to attend the re-founding of the Knights Templar, an international network dedicated to the fight against a global Muslim conspiracy and its "cultural Marxist" backers.

This sounds odd, and yet a website operated by Paul Ray, a founding member of the anti-Islamic English Defense League, displayed photos of two men posing in Templar T-shirts featuring a red cross on a white background. One of the men in the image is Nick G., a former neo-Nazi from the Bavarian town of Marktredwitz. A film from Malta has also surfaced in which Ray, Nick G. and a third man, seemingly evoking the Knights Templar, pose next to a suit of armor. Ray has told the Telegraph newspaper that while he may have been Breivik's inspiration, that was the extent of his involvement. Nick G. confirmed that the "Knights Templar" movement exists, but he refers to the Oslo killer as a "lunatic" who has "brainwashed himself." He characterizes Breivik's alleged "initiation" in London as "pure fantasy."

It is one of the few trails that lead from Breivik's confused intellectual world into reality. It remains to be seen how many others exist.

Europe's Declining Morals

Breivik compiled, concocted and wrote some outlandish things. He wrote speeches for Knights Templar to give in court if they happened to be arrested. To describe the deterioration of morals in Europe, he used conversations on Facebook to compute a quotient for the sexual morality of women in 17 European countries and the United States. Scandinavia was at the bottom of his ranking, while Maltese women were apparently the least licentious.

In general, Breivik writes in his manifesto, women should have three options: "be a nun, be a prostitute, or marry a man and bear children." This, he writes, would lead to an increase in the birth rate.

For those who simply cannot do without it, Breivik envisions a sex enclave, a sort of Las Vegas in the desert, whose residents can be as profligate as they wish -- an idea that sounds more like a swinger club than 1950s patriarchy.

None of it sounds rational. Breivik's thought system sounds neither logical nor convincing. This is the question that is on everyone's mind, from the courts to those who seek to interpret and somehow cope with his murderous crime. How normal is Anders Behring Breivik? Some might find it comforting to call him a lunatic, but is he one?

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iqrassooli 08/02/2011
1. Slaughter in Norway
I am amazed that the editors of Spiegel are unable to comprehend Breivik's dastardly action. He is NOT a Christian fundamentalist; a nut case or a NAZI. Having bothered to STUDY his rambling Manifesto (Unlike most newspaper editors) the ONLY conclusion is that he is a Norwegian Nationalist who has been FORCED by the endemic Political Correctness of the Left-Liberal party in Norway (where in, no ONE can criticise or reveal the FACTS about Islasm without one being pilloried and FALSELY accused of Racism)to make a POLITICAL point by slaughtering suppoters and family member of the ruling elite. He truly believes that the Norwegian leadership is flushing his country into the sewer of Islamization. Breivik has spent almost NINE years preparing for this. He is focused, determined and was able to turn himself into a killing machine. Blaming anyone else is not only stupid but defeats any attempt to understand what motivated his satanic deed to prevent another one from happening. It is time to reflect upon this unbelievable event and not play the blame game. IQ al Rassooli
lol1232 08/02/2011
2. malice aforethought
Reading the article was like trying to read tea leaves. It's pretty irrelevant as to the speculation of his motives and ideological accomplices. The point is that he is a Murderer in the first degree. My question that I have and haven't seen answered anywhere, is where did he get the police uniform that fit him? When did he have access to it or did someone else provide it for him. Everything he did was deliberate,premeditated and not of diminished capacity since he obviously knows the nature of his act (he is a crusader and feels no guilt for his actions). He is a threat to the community, but not to himself ...another sign in touch with reality. He may identify himself as a Templar or crusader but that doesn't mean he has to act out in a killing spree, that in and of itself is irrelevant to the deed. He needs to get life without parole because of his serious endangerment to society and community. That's all I have to say...oh, yeah and may he rot in hell forever.
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