Sunday, 24 July 2011

Shock In Oslo

There has never been an act like it.  Though the cruelly-executed mass-murder in Oslo is not numerically the worst terrorist outrage in human history, it is hard to think it is not the worst single-person act of murder, barring mad dictators.  The individual in question seems to have acted alone, stepping out of central casting as half Nazi-arch-villain, half Scandinavian lone wolf, a Kierkegaard with bullets.

Too often the phrase cinematic is used for these insane projects, but this one was timed with the grandiose perfection of a brilliant engineer, and has the hallmarks of a barely-plausible Stieg Larsson thriller.  It is unbelievable to think one man could set off destruction at the heart of a nation's political centre only to use that as a diversion to strike at the heart of its youth, miles away, on a pleasant summer island, dressed as an officer of the law.

It is ironic, and demonic.  It is made worse when one realises the killer surrendered calmly, in no sense compelled to do himself in.  This one wants attention for his manifesto.  Like all megalomaniacs, he is possessed of terrible purpose, and a mediocre mind.  Evil, sadly, has an excellence though - in that it excels at horrifying the human soul.  The Oslo carnage can still shock us, as we reflect on how some who walk among us are so insulated from compassion as to see fellow humans as less-than-nothings, moving targets that need to be eliminated, point blank.
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