July 22, 2011: Twin Terror Attacks in Norway, By a Lone Norwegian!

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A Brief History

On July 22, 2011, a deranged Norwegian right-wing Islamophobic paranoid schizophrenic conducted a bombing and a mass shooting, Norway’s worst attacks since World War II.  A total of 77 people were killed, and over 300 wounded.

Digging Deeper

Anders Breivik, a 32 year old extremist had been plotting a terrorist event for years, and was a regular visitor on right wing extreme websites, notably some emanating from the US.  He had gone to Prague to buy guns, even though he already owned a shot gun and a rifle, but failed to purchase any there.  He returned to Norway and legally purchased a Ruger Mini-14 5.56mm semi-automatic rifle and a Glock pistol.  Despite stringent Norwegian gun control laws, apparently no one was aware of his mental illness.

Breivik bought fertilizer which he mixed with fuel oil and created a bomb which was placed in the back seat of his car which he parked near the office of the Prime Minister in the capital city of Oslo.

The 1 ton bomb blew up as planned, killing 8 people and injuring another 209.  Police failed to make the connection to Breivik in time to prevent him from traveling to the island of Utoya 2 hours later.  Wearing a fake police uniform with fake police badge and ID, Breivik was admitted to the island where a youth summer camp was taking place.  Nobody else on the island was armed except Breivik, making it a free fire zone for the gunman, yelling “You are going to die today, Marxists!”

Breivik shot and killed 69 people there, wounding over 100 more.  The dead ranged from 14 years old to 51. When police finally arrived, Breivik surrendered meekly and was arrested.  The attacks were over.  Charged with numerous crimes, Breivik pleaded “necessity,” claiming the attacks had to be done for the good of Norway.  Not surprisingly, he was found to be insane, but was later ruled by 3 judges to be sane, and was sentenced to 21 years of “preventative” custody to keep the public safe from him.  The sentence allows continuous 5 year extensions if he is still deemed a threat to the public.

Investigations revealed his purchase of fertilizer put him on a watch list, but he was not considered a threat and was not watched.  It was further revealed that police took an hour and a half to respond to the island due to lack of a helicopter to transport them, and then confusion while waiting to secure a boat for transport.  Critics say police could have just commandeered small boats and gotten to the island much quicker.

Breivik had promulgated a manifesto borrowing from the “Unabomber’s” manifesto, complaining of “Marxists” and “muslims.”  He also released a video explaining his views on the internet 6 hours before the attacks.

Norway’s response?  Limit the sales of certain violent video games!  Once again, nothing about screening gun buyers for mental fitness.  Copy-cat terrorists in Poland and the Czech Republic were foiled in time to prevent attacks in those countries.

Where and when the next deranged killer will strike is anybody’s guess.  Question for students (and subscribers): What is your guess?  Please let us know in the comments section below this article.

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Historical Evidence

For more information, please see…

Borchgrevink, Aage and Guy Puzey.  A Norwegian Tragedy: Anders Behring Breivik and the Massacre on Utøya.  Polity, 2013.


About Author

Major Dan

Major Dan is a retired veteran of the United States Marine Corps. He served during the Cold War and has traveled to many countries around the world. Prior to his military service, he graduated from Cleveland State University, having majored in sociology. Following his military service, he worked as a police officer eventually earning the rank of captain prior to his retirement.