Monday, April 16, 2012

Gunman in Norway Claims Self-Defense as Trial Begins

April 16, 2012                   
Gunman in Norway Claims Self-Defense as Trial Begins
The article that I have chose to blog about for my final religious and law assignment deals with the recent court case of a gunman who is accused of killing approximately 69 people on July 22, 2011 at a youth camp in Utoya Island Norway.  The defendant Mr. Anders Behring Breivk, age 33 acknowledges committing the act of mass murder, but on the grounds of self defense given his belief that these individuals were involved in a plot to overrun Norwegian society with Islamic immigrants.
 Mr. Breivk is claiming self defense due to precede threats from Islamic radicals.   Mr. Breivk, according to the article is using the intense media focus/and or coverage of his trial to deliver his radical ideology to a broader audience.  Initially it was believed that Mr. Breivk was acting in concert with some type of organized group, however this theory has been disproven by the investigation.  Mr. Breivk is apparently a long wolf acting solely on his own accord promoting hatred and division.  Mr. Breivk stated that he does not recognize the authority of the court and continue to be defiant throughout the legal proceedings by challenging legal protocols and court room etiquette.
In order for the court to proceed with the prosecution of Mr. Breivk, Norwegian law requires the court to determine the mental status of the defendant.  If Mr. Brevik is determined to be sane under the definition of Norwegian law, then he can be sentenced up to 21 years in prison with a provision to keep him behind bars longer if he is still considered dangerous.  If Mr. Breivk is found insane he can be kept in forced psychiatric care for as long as his illness persists.
I completely disagreed with the actions of Mr. Breivk, he is a criminal and deserves to be persecuted to the maximum extent in which Norwegian law allows.  However I believe that Mr. Breivk actions represent a broader problem that exists in Western Judicial Christian society regarding a prejudicial attitude.
Islam is viewed as a religion of uncivilized and barbaric people by many white Christians Europeans. This institutionalized religious discrimination goes beyond race or ethnicity but is deeply rooted in religious intolerance and bigotry stemming from mid-evil wars such as the crusades.  Islam is seen as an inferior form of Russia and Christianity is viewed as the correct way to believe in worship God.  These two religions are classified and separated based on imaginary line then ratified and stratified depending on the predominant society.
My final issue with this case involves the attention given to Mr. Breivk based on his mental health status.  The term used sane vs. insane are prejudicial and offensive.  It is clear that the court as well as most modern so called civilized societies would rather attribute criminal behavior to individuals with some sort of medical defect or illness rather than acknowledge the fact that individuals who are deemed normal are more capable and likely to commit heinous crimes than those who are quote (un-quote) insane.
In this secular modern  and civilized society it is regrettable that that the majority of citizens still hold on to fairytale of good and evil where the mentally ill are viewed in mid-evil terms similar to the devil or similarly evil characters, while sane individuals are viewed in more favorable and angelic terms maintaining hope for redemption and salvation.



Aanal P. said...

I have to agree with you, there is no way the court can accept the claim of self-defense as an explanation for pre-meditated mass murder. If Mr. Breivk's actions are considered in the religious realm,he has definitely infringed on the rights of Muslims to freely practice their religion.But I believe this case can be decided on criminal grounds even without seriously considering the religious aspects of the case.

crunchycheetos said...
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crunchycheetos said...

I think the defense of 'clinical insanity' is not sufficient in this case. As Jacob stated this is not a reasonable defense and does not excuse criminal actions, regardless of the justification used. Cases similar to Mr. Breivk's take away clinical insane legitimacy in other cases. It also detracts from the overarching issue of religious intolerance (on Mr. Breivk's behalf). The Norwegian government should recognize this as an issue and the over medicalization of problems; does not constitute exemption from conducting oneself under legal constraints.

Preston L.

Charlesha L. said...

I too disagree with the decision of the court to sentence Mr. Breivk based on his mental state. I also agree with your statement that the most sane individuals commit the most henious crimes. In this case Mr.Breivk committed a premeditated act which should be treated as an unlawful crime. His mental state should not be observed. it seems that they are using this as a possible cope out of this crime in the religious sphere.This is definitely an example of religious intolerance.