Mass Murderer with Headshots? – UPDATED

So, what are we to make of this creature who has handed Norway a horrific grief and who managed, it seems, to continue stalking and shooting his unarmed prey for over an hour?

His background and beliefs will be explored extensively throughout the media, but what I can’t help wondering as I look at these pictures of 32-year old Anders Behring Breivik is: were these professionally-done headshots meant for this moment? Did he have them done in anticipation of seeing them splashed all over the world and included in history books?

Did he mean to look as posed as possible for posterity?

Because that’s how it looks to me. Some accounts I’m reading are suggesting that Breivik was an unmemorable sort of fellow who seemed “well-educated” but not especially noteworthy. It looks like he knew he was going to commit a crime that would bring him lasting infamy, and he wanted to prepare for the fame.

I need to find out when those pictures were taking. It wouldn’t surprise me at all to learn that he made sure he had pretty pictures for the press. We live in a media-savvy age where everybody wants to be as star. Everyone wants to be “special.” Is that partly what this evil is all about?

From Brutally Honest: This grainy photo taken from a helicopter shows the killer standing in the midst of the carnage, apparently looking toward his next victim on the lower left who appears to be pleading for his life.

It is horrific. It is evil. It is cause for us all to seek God’s face.

92 people dead, senselessly murdered at the hand of one maniac apparently in the clutches of another evil ideology evil ideology.

This is the assessment of Archbishop Paul Tscherrig, the Apostolic Nuncio to the country. He called the attack a “great catastrophe”, and emphasized Norway is a peaceful country, which is very democratic and free, and this violence is a gigantic blow to the entire population.

“It is madness,” Archbishop Tscherrig told Vatican Radio. “All these actions are irrational, and difficult to comprehend, whether they had personal or political reasons. In any case, it is always an unbelievable thing.”

The press is running with the “right-wing Christian Fundamentalist” narrative with almost unseemly enthusiasm. Those very words appear in the very first sentence in this New York Times report.

The Norwegian police on Saturday charged a man they identified as a right-wing fundamentalist Christian in connection with a bombing in central Oslo and a shooting attack on a nearby island that killed at least 92 people. Officials said the death toll could climb as they continued to search for the missing.

As stunned Norwegians grappled with the deadliest attack in the country since World War II, a portrait began to emerge of the main suspect in the case as a gun-loving Norwegian obsessed with what he saw as the threat of multiculturalism and Muslim immigration.

Is he a “fundamentalist Christian,” though? In what way is this a verified as fact? I’m seeing it all over the place, but while his ideology is pretty clear, I’m not seeing (yet) where he is pronouncing himself a Christian, fundamentalist or otherwise; I’m not reading about church-affiliations. I’m sure if he has written anything that will emphasize his faith, we’ll be seeing it. He may very well be a “fundamentalist Christian”, but as of right now, I see nothing in the press to back it up beyond they’re saying so.

He’s apparently a Mason, though I have no idea what that has to do with anything. Someone, I’m sure, will find it relevant.

Yesterday, credit for the attack was taken by a Jihadi group looking for publicity. Because they wanted to associate themselves with this sort of evil carnage. What sickness!

Meanwhile, as Rick Rice writes: Blood in the water for haters of Christians the world over. The feeding frenzy will begin in 3, 2, 1…

Let’s continue to pray for the folks in Norway. And for our societies and what they are becoming.

UPDATE I: clued in by Jeff Gill on facebook, found Breivik’s comments online and the google translation: A cursory view shows lots of ranting against multi-culturalism, no ranting about Jesus Christ — none of the bible verses and preachifing that one might expect; some disgust with libertarians and, in 2009, some carping about the “modernist” churches…will have to read more.

Ann Alhouse on the information he wanted you to find: “The man knows about Machiavelli. What would Machiavelli post on Facebook before embarking on a massacre?”

Apparently clicked Christian” on facebook. Fundamentalist, though? Do they have that category? I don’t know. I think for some people any “Christian” means “Fundamentalist Christian.” Some of the commenters at Althouse — who saw the page before it was taken down — suggest that it was fake:

He’s a Norwegian nationalist guy. Why is the page in English, and why are the cultural products mentioned (books, TV, games) primarily English-language? I’m assuming the answer for being in English is that he wanted the biggest possible audience for presenting himself, but why the lack of Norwegian content? It seems like the Facebook page, which was very recently concocted, was created for our benefit, as part of his post-massacre publicity package. [. . .] What I find odd is that I got a chance to look at the FB page before it got shut down. There were no friends, no groups just a bunch of posts about music plus the odd interests in movies/games/tv that were 100% American.

It struck me at the time that it was set up like a “spam” site … totally fake for a purpose.

The Althouse comments are very interesting, as usual.

Pub Secrets:

Now it appears that a narrative is building that this sociopath acted out of “Christian fundamentalism,” whatever that is. If that takes hold, and I say this as a thoroughly secular person, it would be grossly unfair and a slander against religious Christians because, unlike Islam, their faith forbids just this kind of action and makes it a mortal sin. The Fifth Commandment is, “You shall not murder.”

UPDATE III: Instapundit links here (Thanks, Glenn) and has many others, too, so check him out.

I’ve already had my first childishly spiteful “nyah, nyah, nyah, fundamentalist Christian haters” comment and since it had no verifiable email address attached I spammed it. the comment policy is in force:

5) Expressing the wish that either I or one of my loved ones die or become seriously ill will have you made not welcome here. Also, if you are going to use a fake email address, be a little less obvious than or If I spot such addresses, they are marked as spam and banned. If, while I am waiting for you to grow up and use your a proper address, I realize that you are a ranting bigot simply looking for an outlet, same deal. My place, my prerogative. I wouldn’t dream of going to someone else’s site and not minding my manners.

I’m not moderating comments yet. If things get out of hand, I will.

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • 588368258

    Thanks for posting this. I’m right with you. I have three articles to write and this is a topic that should be **discussed**, not just mentioned or brushed over. Thanks for giving it the thought and prayer and consideration it is worthy of.


  • 588368258

    You wrote: “Also, if you are going to use a fake email address, be a little less obvious than or”

    LOL’d and still laughing. Thank you, m’dear.

  • kvinne

    What media here in Norway tells us is that this is a man from an upper class home, with good grades and a good upbringing. Quiet, kind but also someone who has become more and more withdrawn from society. He has identified himself online as a Christian conservative with strong nationalistic sympathies.
    It is my personal belief that he is using to the Christian “label” to distance himself from members of other religions, Islam in particular. He seems to favour “Christian culture” more than Christianity as a religion. Identifying “Christian culture” as the bearer of Western traditions. Really calling yourself a Christian on facebook? What does that even mean?

    Lord have mercy on us!
    St. Olav; St. Halvard; St. Eystein; St. Torfinn; St. Sunniva; St. Magnus: Pray for us!

  • lethargic

    Remember how the perpetrator who attempted to assassinate Rep. Giffords was trumpeted as a right-wing fundy Christian Tea Partier … then it became clear that he was a left-wing Bush-hating psychotic, emphasis on psychotic … oops, nothing to see here, move along …

    The only reason the media aren’t calling Breivik a Tea Partier in addition to right-wing fundy Christian etc. is that it’s Norway after all … sigh …

    And if they link the bombing to the shootings … where did that wherewithal come from … connections there will not be friendly to the preferred big-media narrative … will be interesting to learn more …

  • 588368258

    Elizabeth, in all honesty, I can’t get into this. You may remember, when the shooting happened in Arizona, I had to go in for treatment….so I will not be delving into this story, for my own mental health.

    – Lisa Graas

  • dry_valleys
  • dry_valleys

    I am, however, very impressed by the Norwegian political leaders, who have risen above the sort of sniping and bitching that I can no longer resist.

    The fact is that people leapt to the conclusion that he must be a Muslim and were reeling out the usual stuff, including a member of the British Parliament, Tom Harris, a thoroughly abject person. Others leapt to other conclusions according to what their views already were.

    There has just been more than enough charachter assassination of people by the media, and it happened very recently with someone, Rebecca Leighton, who was accused of killing patients in a hospital she worked at. They dredged up posts of hers saying she liked drinking and sex and was sometimes reluctant to go to work, as if they were crimes in and of themselves, or made her more likely to be guilty here. And this shows a staggering failure to be humble after their earlier attacks on other people proved to be totally wrong.

    Of course I do the exact same thing myself, and claiming to be just reacting to others is not an excuse. We should all be learning from this Jens Stoltenberg rather than making our entire lives a fight against THEM, whoever THEY are.

  • dry_valleys

    Comment about this has faded away. (Not the link, the one with a load of text). Now I am nostalgic for the times when this used to happen regularly ;)

    [I think b/c you commented three times in succession, or something -- found you in the spam filter! -admin]

  • youngcanadianrcmale

    Great, so he just had to kill Muslims or children of middle eastern descent? And the MSM is calling him a Fundamental Christian? There’s only one conclusion that will come about his actions … more dead Chrisitan/Catholic brethen in the Middle east, and possibly more 9/11 attacks from militant Muslim extremists. With the MSM and secular society attacking us legally on the left (e.g. homosexual equality and state laws breaking seal of the confessional in Ireland), and Muslim extremists blowing us up on the right, I’d say Catholics are gonna hit another wave of persecution in our history. Some other Bloggers like Catholic Knight and Mark Mallett are hinting that we are approaching the Great/Minor Chastizement before the Anti-Christ is coming.

    Any agreements/disagreements?

  • casey

    Just a minute ago the reporter on CNN was positively gleeful in calling him a “Fudamentalist Christian”.

    I am not a Tea Party person, but I feel sorry for them… they will be compared to this evil man in no time.

    By the way, I thought the cable news coverage of this was terrible. This is a MAJOR world event and it was getting squeezed in between really trivial stories.

  • jkm

    youngcanadianrcmale, I say this kindly: the young part of your screen name may account for some of your feeling that these are the end times. Persecution of Christians is no new thing, nor do I believe it is more intense now than at other times in history. Persecution of believers of all faiths and persuasions within faiths is an inherent part of life in our fallen world, because the Enemy (whether you define him as a personal Satan or as the principle of entropy) seeks always to fling us back into the primordial abyss of Chaos. Jesus was plain and direct when he told us to count ourselves blessed when we are persecuted, because it means we are living our Faith and resisting Chaos.

    That said, I agree that the media (and the Oslo police, who initiated the characterization) are catering to prejudices by characterizing this very uncomedic Chevy Chase lookalike as a fundamentalist Christian based, as far as has been documented, on the pages he likes on Facebook. It’s as bad as one of the survivors saying he had “Nazi hair.” But media is about shortcuts: sound byte first, verify later if you have time to bother. If we expect otherwise, more fools we.

    The world’s more full of weeping, as Yeats’s faery queen said, than you will ever know. It’s up to us to call the horrors (not only in Oslo and Iraq and Somalia, but everywhere) to the attention of those who will join us in fighting them with prayer and action, and to witness to our Faith in the face of the worst Chaos can throw at us. At times like this it is very hard to remember, but Chaos does not win.

  • c_reasoner

    I just heard a report of this on NPR. They interviewed an official from Norway, who described the gunman as “someone like those in the Tea Party in your country.”

    Nevermind that there has been no reported violence from any known Tea Part member….Let the liberal media narrative persist. Repeat a lie often enough and people believe it is true.

    Prayers for the families of the victims.

  • jennifer_fitz

    Elizabeth, re: the christian fundamentalist affiliation:

    In my limited experience, a bizarre and illogical obsession with religion is a characteristic of certain mental illnesses / psychotic behavior.

    (Another one: bizarre & illogical obsession with legal things — forms, legal documents, etc. Seen that one too, whoowee bob.)

    It takes about thirty seconds on-topic to tell the difference between a fervent practitioner of a particular religion, movement or political cause, versus someone who is just plain nuts. (And, sadly, sometimes in a scary evil way.)

    That a crazy person who goes on to do evil things claims affiliation with this or that organization says nothing — repeat: NOTHING — about that organization, other than that the crazy person is claiming affiliation.

    It takes some in-person investigating before you can really know anything more.


    (My first thought when I saw this news on your blog yesterday: It takes a special kind of evil to bomb Norway. Who bombs Norway? You’d have to be crazy to bomb Norway. I am so sad for all involved.)

  • youngcanadianrcmale

    Thank you jkm for the reflection. I just saw this update on another one of the blogs I read, The Catholic Knight in the USA:

    I am mixed at this. Relieved he was not the “Christian Fundamentalist” the news is making him out to be, as the Freemasons are the total opposite of Christian (even rumoured to be related to Satanism). However, the fact that he was a freemason gives me the creeps somehow that I can’t put my finger on.

  • retlaw

    I’m still annoyed with Bush and Rove for disengaging during “Bush Lied People Died” and “Bush’s War for Oil”. But at times like these I understand.

    You feel like a dope for engaging at all with people who wonder what the motive might be when the killer’s on tape screaming “Allahu Akbar!” but lead with “Christian Fundamentalist” when it turns out the guy’s not a registered Democrat.

    Thanks for engaging, Anchoress.

    “Fundamentalist” was an epithet in the 19 teens and twenties when the Left started their long march through the mainline churches – they had to get our missionaries out of China and Africa to make them riper for Communist take-over. Conservative churchmen professed to like fundamentals, so they began describing themselves the same way.

    See, this evil pretty-boy with his headshots – where’s his cross, where’s his crucifix, where his “In Hoc Signo” tattoo? If only he’d included more Christian props in his PR package, he’d have got ten times the play.

  • johnscott

    Thanks for touching on all these points. I’m particularly sensitive to the characterizations of this monster as a Christian, as what he has done is so fundamentally opposed to our life in Christ: hate as opposed to love, hideousness as opposed to beauty, fathomless grief as opposed to life-changing joy, destroying others rather than serving others, impenetrable darkness as opposed to light. It’s as if the media are acting on the orders of the deceiver himself – the enemy – twisting the truth, misleading the ignorant. Insinuations. Lies.

    Certainly I’ve seen no remarks in any international media making the connections between this man’s evil acts and, say, Freemasonry. Or why not focus on the dark links between mass murder and his occupation as an organic vegetable farmer? He likely spent more time involved with farming than with his presumed “Fundamentalist Christianity”. And he undoubtedly WAS both a Mason and an organic farmer, where his grasp of authentic Christianity was obviously non-existent.

    It’s ridiculous to make such connections, of course, but even more so to insinuate that his “Christianity” was relevant or even causative to mass murder. There’s no question that the international Christophobic media have a definite agenda. And it will only grow worse over time.

  • 556552526

    Hi, I am the tech admin for the web site that published all the comments he left in 2009-2010. I’ve been reading all I can about this whole crazy situation, including his political manifesto that was timed to be consumed by the media in the aftermath.

    It would be quite incorrect to call this man a Christian fundamentalist. He is no doubt a Christian, but that is not the driving force behind his whole political ideology and raison d’etre. If you read through his manifesto, there is quite little about religion or God or Christianity.

    He almost seems to use Christianity (the cross of St. George) as a symbolic thing, as it doesn’t really pertain to anything he wants to accomplish, other than maintaining the status quo of the Lutheran Church in Norway.

    Instead, he is quite preoccupied with multiculturalism and Islam, and the Marxist multicultural proponents that he sees as traitors to the country.

    The most fitting label to put on the guy is Islamophobe, seeing as how he fears the take-over of all of Europe by Muslims, and that the “traitors” in the European halls of power are either willfully or naively allowing the Muslims to annex all of the continent through subterfuge.

    Right-wing is also an accurate label, as he literally wants to execute these Marxists that he deems to be traitors to the country for allowing the Muslims to take over. In other words, he’s a conservative in that he wants to conserve the native culture and not allow other cultures to develop there.

    If I were to play the label game, I’d go with “Militant Right-Wing Islamophobe”. Doesn’t quite roll off the tongue, but at least it’s dead accurate.

    Oddly enough, no where in his manifesto does he advocate any violence or killing of Muslims, at least not that I have seen or read. His violent rage is 100% focused on his fellow countrymen for being traitors. This is likely a result of him also advocating anti-racism, that the entire basis for the ideology is to center around preservation of culture, not racial purity.

    The guy is brilliantly evil.

  • donalbain

    Unseemly haste? As I said in my previous comment that you deleted, I noticed that you were VERY quick to run with the idea that the attacker was a Muslim, even updating with irrelevant information about Muslims after it became clear that he was not. Something here about motes and beams.

  • sparks1093

    I think the thing that shocks me the most is that (according to an article I just read) he can receive a maximum sentence of only 21 years. 21 years for killing 95+ people. I realize that final judgment belonds to the Lord and I oppose the death penalty but 21 years? I am keeping all in my prayers.

  • dry_valleys

    Is it really a coincidence that he attacked a meeting of a leftist organisation?

  • anneg

    Yesterday my husband happened to be flipping through youtube videos on AppleTV for something about some kids singing when he came across a vid of Knights Templar. Thinking it was an educational lecture he opened it, with me in the background telling him of all the wackos on youtube.
    It was a white supremacist vid with all kinds of invective mixed with factoids and historical fabrications. It called for doing away with multiculturalism by violent overthrow, etc. Really bad. But it talked about being initiated into Knights Templars. On BBC they said Anders Breivik calls himself KT. I think this is where some of this stuff comes from.

  • laurapie

    I would have some modicum of respect for the secular media if I heard a rational differential of possibilities as to the nature of this man’s disorder causing him to conclude that execution of innocent people was something good. How about jumping out of the political realm and including such mental disorders as schizoaffective, frank schizophrenia, delusional disorder with grandiose features. How about some discussion of personality traits: schizoid-spectrum, narcissistic? To me this line of discussion would be responsible and show some concern for the welfare of all involved, even the killer. The discussions SHOULD be narrowly focused to the welfare of those involved and to the welfare of Norway.
    In my opinion, I can pray for the good of all in this wretched situation, and perhaps I can find a way to further help via some aid process.
    I my opinion this is the way a person of good will would approach this tragedy.

  • 1323550849

    Sounds to me like the guy is nuts — like one of those insane people who claim income taxes are illegal and have notebooks full of legal info to prove it. How many people have written 1,500-page manifestos? As Jennifer Fitz said above, it is usually the work of a few minutes to tell when a madman is fixated by a supposedly political or religious idea.

    There are real problems with Islam in Europe — and, I’m sure, with anti-Muslim hysteria. The fact that this nut got fixated on Islam doesn’t mean it’s not a real problem. Unfortunately, some people will downplay the real problem because of this psycho.

    As far as the head shots go — Anchoress, he is supposed to be a middle class, well educated guy. Maybe his parents just wanted pictures of him, and he went to a studio like anyone else. It does no good to speculate.

    The poor Knights Templar! The real ones, I mean. Wiped out centuries ago (I know, I know, some of them just changed their names to another order and are still around…) and STILL being conjured up by weirdos. What a world!

  • stevem

    Re: laurapie

    Agree Breivik may suffer from some sort of mental illness, but the symptoms of those serious disorders are usually apparent to others. The fact that Breivik has led a life within the bounds of apparent normalcy makes you think.

    About Breivik’s “Christianity”. Agree with the implied observations from some others here. I.e., Breivik is more anti-Muslim than pro-Christian.

    For him, Christianity is not theological. It is just a label pointing to a pole opposite from Islam. Of course the MSM and especially the NY Times don’t get that.

  • rcareaga

    I was visiting friends at a vacation home in California’s wine country yesterday, (no internet, no television; they were about half a day behind the news curve) and they were vaguely aware that several Norwegians had been shot “by a Syrian.” When I advised them that the “Syrian” certainly looked as though he’d stepped right off a Hitlerjugend recruiting poster, they were astonished.

    Had the gunman/bomber been in fact a “Syrian” (or even a Scandinavian convert to Islam), we wouldn’t be hearing the terms “nut” and “psycho” being bandied about. The discussion would instead be framed in terms of “global jihad” and “clash of civilizations,” and this would not have been entirely unjust regardless of the mental stability of the perp: his actions would have proceeded from an ideological stance (restoration of the Caliphate in the case of our hypothetical Syrian; resistance to “Marxist multiculturalism” on Breivik’s part). I think it’s mistaken to regard violent episodes from Muslim stances to be invariably the acts of coldly rational agents of a globe-girdling conspiracy; equally mistaken to regard Breivik as a nutjob outlier operating without regard to some of the hysterical right-wing rhetoric infecting the infosphere.

    I have found some of the writhing reactions of the execrable “Gates of Vienna” blog (in alluding to which I intend no association with this infinitely more responsible venue) mordantly amusing. Their contributors’ first impulse was to blame Teh Islamists: thereafter they’ve gone the “lone crazed gunman, nothing to see here, move along, Olaf” route, but since Breivik’s online manifesto is so eerily similar to their own long and lamentable xenophobic trail of slime, there’s a certain hesitation to their denunciations.

  • donaldj

    He’s a rightwing Islamophobe. People with that particular form of hatred often (not always) claim to be Christian.

  • manny

    He lists himself as “moderately religious” on his Facebook (?) profile page. He was not a fundementalist. After reading his profile and viewing his video, I would say he’s nationalist and in Europe a nationalist has a weak tie to the national religion.

    I’m amazed at how many people he killed all by himself. What kind of military background did he have? This is almost like Rambo.

    I agree, they are going to shove his religion down our throats. The Scandenavian countries are not favorable to religion as it stands. They will unfairly smear all Christians with this.