Words of Advice:

"If Something Seems To Be Too Good To Be True, It's Best To Shoot It, Just In Case." -- Fiona Glenanne

"Flying the Airplane is More Important than Radioing Your Plight to a Person on the Ground
Who is Incapable of Understanding or Doing Anything About It." -- Unknown

“Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level
and then beat you with experience.” -- Mark Twain

"Stay Strapped or Get Clapped." -- probably not Mr. Rogers

"Eck!" -- George the Cat

Monday, July 25, 2011

Lone Wolf

In reading through a lot of the coverage of the Norwegian massacre three days ago, it all reminded me that the murdering asswipe has given the world a good lesson in the near-impossibility of countering an attack by an individual acting alone.

For the most part, the vast internal listening apparatus that has gone up in this country and others depends on loose-lipped idiots to trigger it. It depends on people doing really stupid and suspicious things, such as buying large amounts of chemicals for no apparent reason.

Asswipe apparently planned his actions for several years. He jumped through all of the strict hoops in Norway to legally purchase weapons. He purchased or made a police uniform so that nobody would question his open carrying of weapons. He picked a "target rich" environment with no security and no means of escape for his shooting victims. He bought a farm and operated it as a cover for the purchase of ammonium nitrate fertilizer. Farms use diesel fuel; not having a tank of diesel on his farm would have been unusual. It was probably easy for him to carry out pre-attack surveillance; nobody would have thought anything about a blond Norwegian male walking around either location.

Most critically, Asswipe apparently talked to nobody. He did not join any groups neo-nazis or the Norwegian equivalent of the Arizona Minutemen. He allegedly did not have a big online presence and he seemed to have kept his heavily plagiarized rantings to himself until a few days before he carried out his attacks. Compared to the Norwegian Asswipe, the Oklahoma City and Ft. Hood Asswipes were blabbermouths.

One of the keys in recent years to preventing terrorist attacks has been capitalizing on the mistakes of the plotters. Whether faulty bombs or plots that are complicated enough to bring in people who will inform to the authorities (or agents provocateur who instigate the plotting), there has to be some trigger for law enforcement to realize that something is afoot.

But when the attacker is operating on his own, is not acting on impulse and does nothing to alert the cops, then it is going to be almost impossible to prevent an attack. Unless we are prepared to give up all freedom of movement and submit to 1984-levels of surveillance, then all we can really do is try to create an environment where such actions are not acceptable, even to the fringes.

I am not going to riff on the fact that Asswipe apparently will do no more than 21 years in prison, as that is the maximum prison sentence in Norway. So he is going to do roughly five weeks in prison for every person that he slaughtered. Here, even in no-death penalty states, he'd be doing consecutive sentences and would be sentenced to a minimum prison term of 2,000 years or more.  So pardon me for expressing the hope that he gets shanktified sometime during those two decades.


Justin Buist said...

A Norwegian weighed in on that 21 year thing in another online forum I'm on.

Yes, the max sentence is 21 years but they are permitted to review the convict before releasing them. If they still find he's a danger to society they can hold him for another 5 years and they can repeat that review process every 5 years.

It's rarely used he says, but in this case he figures the guy will actually spend the rest of his life in prison.

w3ski said...

Weird that 40 plus years ago they were called "mass murderers" not "extremists". Political 'involvement' was marginalised.
And, mostly the justice system put them away for good.
"What a world, what a world"

Eck! said...

Extremists is newspeak for mass murderer.

Why? because you cannot legislate the random mass murderer but extremists are a hazard to public


montag said...

If he was just a mass murderer, Pam Geller wouldn't want to have his baby.

Doug Alder said...

Considering that Norway's recidivism rate hovers around 20% compared to the US's 80% Id say it's pretty obvious that they are doing something right in treating crime as a disease rather than something to be revenged

Comrade Misfit said...

Doug, I am not saying that they are not. The case of Asswipe, though, may be the exception to the rule.