On July 23 2011 20:41 Aylear wrote:
If I may, I want to briefly give some opinions on how we as a nation have handled this thus far. Some of you may have read my post in the other thread (my reply here
), and this is a bit of clarification and some more of the same.
It may surprise some of you - especially if you live in the United States, where sensationalism and fear drives the news - to know that the government, the police department, and the media have all been very honest and straightforward in covering this tragedy, and that the people of Norway remain calm and composed (if a lot more sombre than usual) despite the enormity of the tragedy.
For instance, after the explosion and the early reports of the shooting on Utøya, the news simply recycled what they had previously stated: That a bomb had exploded in or near a government office building, that there was a related shooting in a political youth camp on Utøya, and that people had been killed in both of these cases. The ticker line at the bottom of the screen wasn't some quote from a news anchor or the prime minister -- it was the phone number for a hotline offered to the families of the victims.
From the first, there was no public outcry of, how did this happen, how did you let this happen, who is responsible for this travesty
. There was no speculation or debate, no expert-witness criticism of foreign or domestic policy, no guesswork. In fact, when an Islamic extremist group claimed responsibility for the attack, few newspapers even deigned it worthy of mention -- the claim was either ignored completely, or there was a small notice buried under other headlines dealing with the actual facts.
At the end of the day, it seems that this was the correct approach: The entire tragedy now appears to be the work of one individual, who in fact had anti-Islamic views. Planned, yes, and executed with chilling efficiency, but to muddy the waters with sensationalist guesswork like some news channels in the UK, the US, and elsewhere did before they even had any of the facts in hand is the kind of thing that can partially obfuscate the actual events in retrospect, especially for onlookers abroad that by nature get a more peripheral glance. In that regard, I am very impressed with how the aftermath has been handled locally.
Later yesterday evening, the prime minister and the minister of justice held a press conference. It was excellently handled. The prime minister, his expression stoic, opened by saying that this abhorrent event will not bring Norway down; that we will be able to remain proud of our strong democracy, and that the open discourse and debate on every topic - no matter how controversial that topic may be - which has been a staple of our freedom of speech, will remain intact -- that we will not be cowed into silence, and that our politics should become even more open in the aftermath, as that is the correct response when faced with this kind of terror.
He also stated that the first priority over the coming days is to save lives, and to provide medical aid to the victims. Later on, there will be further statements as regards to the perpetrator, but for the moment the focus is completely on providing immediate aid.
The media questions at the press conference were of a similar nature: Who is this man, has he given a motive for his actions, what will you do in the coming days, can you clarify this one small thing. Very to the point. And, again, worth of note and admiration: When asked his opinion on the alleged claim of responsibility by the Islamic extremist group, the prime minister said simply, "These groups often claim responsibility for actions they had nothing to do with in an attempt to seem more capable than they really are." It was a great response.
All in all, I admire how the aftermath of this terrible incident was dealt with, and how open and honest the police, the government, and (most of all) the media have been in reporting this obscenity to us and the rest of the world.
To switch topics a bit, I've noticed that some people appear to be baffled at our justice system. I will address this briefly by taking on this composite quote:
"He deserves to fry. Norway's justice system is retarded for giving him decent living conditions for the rest of his life."
Really? Killing this human being would bring back the other human beings? Would it lessen the blow of our loss? Most Norwegians don't see it that way; we don't agree with this biblical desire for vengeance. Granted, in this particular case I'm sure some Norwegians will feel differently, but we aren't going to completely alter our justice system for just one man. Even this depraved individual will not get that dubious honour.
Our justice system is one of rehabilitation and reintroduction to society. Those individuals who are simply too damaged to ever be released (of which there are very
few) are simply imprisoned for life. Bad people, yes, but still human beings. We won't publicly kill a fellow human being just because we feel
like it, out of some desire for revenge. How is that any
better than killing someone over an ideological viewpoint? Both are abhorrent. Both are murder.
As for us having a "retarded" justice system? While you were reading about the appallingly decent living conditions provided to our prison population and the leniency granted to our criminals, you should have also looked up some numbers, namely the per capita crime rate and the number of repeat offenders
. In both cases, that number is extremely low. The justice system is working a hell of a lot better than that of most countries.
Lastly, the comment that the political youth camp equals indoctrination and likening it to Hitler-Jugend is so ignorant and insulting that I don't even want to tarnish the English language by crafting a response to it, but I'll call it out anyway in order to prevent its propagation as anything but drivel: The young men and women who suffered this living nightmare yesterday were nothing more than enthusiastic youths who were personally and voluntarily
interested and engaged in politics, young men and women who take an interest in and care about how the government runs their home.
So, with all that said, how is our country failing again? Please, let us know -- we desperately need to improve our standing in the Human Development Index.
Seriously, can we at least agree that this misguided socialist country of ours appears to be doing something
I'll end on a much more optimistic note. I mentioned this in my previous post as well, but it's worth repeating: Shortly after the call went out for blood donors, hospitals had to start publicly declining offers from further donors because they had already acquired more than enough of even the rarer blood types. That's
how quickly Oslo responded. I think I'm more happy about that than anything else.