Breivik is insane.
As soon as I read he’d lifted entire passages from Ted Kazinski, I thought: No sane person would swallow that! (Also, it was clear from the start that while he had the brilliance to meticulously plan and execute – sorry to use that word – two terrorizing attacks, he lacked the social acuity to realize that they would be almost universally condemned and would fail to ignite the reaction he presumed. In short, he’s brilliant but socially inept. A recipe for insanity, which means a lack of ability to realize that one’s own thoughts, plans, and expectations are totally off base from consensual/socially-accepted reality.) Plus, his comment about his body being in the “best shape it’s ever been” was a tip-off for me – this, in the context of his grandiosity and photos of himself in fantasy clothing.
Paranoid or paranoid- schizophrenic individuals are extremely bright. They are detail-oriented. (They are, in effect, deluded obsessive-compulsive type individuals.) They lack empathy and an ability to correctly read social cues. They believe their own minds and not reality. Thus they may be grandiose. They are secretive. They can be very, very dangerous.
As his lawyer has now said, he’s insane.
So we can stop talking about terrorism. And start talking about rabble-rousing politicians and/or unhinged pundits and their minions, whose own provocative language is such that paranoid individuals begin to imagine their thoughts and (potentially) planned deeds will be welcomed by society.
In my view our greatest danger is not these paranoid individuals. It is people like the US Tea Party, whose own group delusions feed the phantasies of crazy individuals. Not only that, the belief on the part of Tea Party folks that we can simply cut government services – such as diagnosis and treatment of the severely mentally ill – is itself contributing to the inability to identify and protect society from individuals whose lack of reality-testing poses a danger to everyone.
Christianity has nothing to do with this case. Because Breveik is insane! He is unable to reason clearly or to see that his views do not accord with those of Jesus.
As Christians, our first duty is compassion and care for this very, very troubled man.