The atrocity committed by a right-wing extremist in Norway is appalling, even if only in terms of the numbers of people dying from a lone assailant, now named as Anders Behring Breivik. It is alleged that he had expressed right-wing, anti-Muslim sentiments. It serves to underline the impossibility of protecting ourselves against the insane – wherever that insanity stems from. On this occasion, the assailant was a crazed, right-wing fanatic, although the police have not yet released details of which particular organisation. It could just as easily have been a religious maniac carrying out some kind of paramilitary attack.
This incident reminds us of the ‘Oklahoma bomber’ Timothy McVeigh, and his killing spree sixteen years ago. It is always the innocent that are caught up in these spectacular examples of horror, but what makes this incident even worse is the fact that the killer had chosen a youth group as his final target.