Friday, November 9, 2012

Proof of insanity?

Picture a man making these complaints:
  • his coffee is served cold 
  • he does not have enough butter for his bread
  • he is not given moisturiser
A hotel, right?  Probably not a good one, though, because these days there's almost always moisturiser in the bathroom.

Actually, no, it's not a hotel. 

Another clue?  Okay, his quarters are three rooms, one for sleeping, one for studying, one for exercising.

Ah, you got it - a college dorm!  Fancy, too, right?  Three living areas?  Way posh.  Shame about the lack of butter but hey, otherwise not too shabby.

Oh, wait.

Not a dorm.

Okay, the last clue comes from this gentleman's other complaints:
  • poor decorations and no view
  • his quarters are too cold, forcing him to wear three layers of clothes
  • he has to rush his morning shave and brushing of teeth
  • light and television switches are outside the quarters, so he has to ask for help to change channel or sleep
Am I allowed to use the word "douchebag" here?  I suppose so, it being my blog.  I'd use worse but who knows, some kid might wander by after googling the name of a man who murdered 77 people, most of them teenagers.

That's right, Norwegian mass-murderer Anders Behring Breivik isn't getting enough butter and he doesn't like the drapes.  Full story from the BBC here.

So my question in the title refers to whom. . .

Is Brevik insane for writing a letter to complain of these privations?
Is the Norwegian government insane for putting him in such nice digs?
Or is the BBC insane for writing a story about a mass murderer who'd like more butter?

Of course, no reason why it can't be all three.


  1. It's # 2. I feel like that d-bag fooled everyone over there. Now he gets to live rent-free and complain about the lack of butter. Then again, you know how I feel about murderers, especially child murderers.

  2. @Lisa, Does anyone feel positively toward child murderers? That's a bit of a red herring.

    To the post: Brevik is not insane for complaining. All humans complain. There would be no blogs without that truism.

    The Norwegian government houses offenders in such digs for perfectly good reasons: Their prisons are safer and recidivism rates FAR lower than ours. Americans have absolutely no business criticizing their system when ours is bloated, dysfunctional and produces worse outcomes.

    As for the BBC, they're not crazy, either. They know sensationalist garbage journalism draws eyeballs and despite their high-brow pretensions they've got to compete with Rupert Murdoch. The fact that you reacted to the story shows they were right that it would draw attention.

    Indeed, if anyone's crazy, perhaps it's somebody on the other side of the globe from Brevik moaning about his condiment preferences. The three you named are all acting in their own self interest, but I don't see why an Austih prosecutor/novelist (is that still the right order?) has a dog in the fight.

  3. Errr, Grits, you know this was not a particularly serious post, right? You're right, I have no dog in this fight and find the whole thing mildly amusing, which is why I raised it here. Your tone is a little hostile, but maybe I'm mistaken, hopefully so.

  4. Brevik is not insane. This is a man who spent years planning his assault, and executed it with precision that a whole special forces team would be proud of. He bought and ran a farm simply as cover. He is highly intelligent, highly disciplined, and takes the long view. Now he's in prison, with nothing but time on his hands to think about what to do next. And he could have committed suicide like many other mass killers, but he didn't. He wanted to live, because he still has things to do. You can believe that every word of this complaint was carefully crafted for maximum effect. And it's working. He's playing the press - and the bloggers who make up much of the press these days - like a concert piano.

  5. Jason, I've not followed the case as closely as you, but that's interesting to know. And like you, I have no sympathy for him and his imagined woes.

  6. Not hostile toward you personally, DAC, but I admittedly get a little frustrated at hackneyed tuff-on-crime tropes like coddling criminals, etc., being passed off as a joke, not to mention prosecutors who label anyone who disagrees with a max-tuff mindset as "crazy." Norway's approach toward crime is a lot more effective than ours, judging by outcomes. As Christ asked, "why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own"?

  7. No worries, Grits, I took no offense. You and I probably agree on this topic far more than you realize -- I agree that Norway's approach to crime is more effective, I do wish we could head that way ourselves. Unfortunately (or not), I can't get too serious in this blog because of my profession and so tend to resort to highlight the ludicrous fringes of events/situations.

    And I truly have little sympathy for mass murderers like Brevik, I don't think he's a poster-boy for rehabilitation. I don't know about motes, but I'd happily chuck him in a moat and mix in a few crocs.


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