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Breivik Turns His Trial Into a Platform For His Right-Wing Extremism

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Crime and Capital Punishment

Fisher also points out that the death penalty is banned in Norway, as it is in most of the developed world (excluding the U.S.). The American justice system focuses on “retribution, which is popular but not effective,” with more than half of U.S. convicts ending up back in jail within two years. Capital punishment is popular in U.S. opinion polls but, says Fisher, “expensive and ineffective at deterring crime.”

With all this said, idealizing the Norwegian justice system and society certainly carries its own hazards. Two days after the massacre, Norway’s prime minister, Jens Stoltenberg said at a memorial service for the victims that “Our response is more democracy, more openness, and more humanity.” John Olav Egeland, a columnist and former editor of the newspaper Dagbladet, says in the Guardian that “There have been, as far as I can see, no political suggestions on how to expand ‘democracy, openness, and humanity’,” but rather “‘more security and more safety’” in the form of barricades around some government buildings and 200 additional police officers — a crackdown, though minimal in relation to how other governments might response.

Should a mass murderer like Breivik be given the legal treatment and platform that Norway has allotted him? Could allowing a right-wing extremist to speak so freely really be an antidote to the spread of xenophobia, Islamophobia and hate?

Related Care2 Coverage

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2:05AM PDT on Apr 25, 2012

I have been so pleased with Norway's response to this terrible tragedy. No laws have been enacted to take away their rights, no "war" was declared, no "town hall meetings" where people whined and begged to be stripped of their rights as long as they were safe. I don't know what has happened to America. I am often ashamed of being an American when I talk to my international friends

2:28AM PDT on Apr 23, 2012

The heading for this thread should have read : "Breivnick TRIES to turn his trial into a platform..."

* He has no actual organisations (they only exist in HIS mind..);

* He has no followers (trolls and spammers don't count..);

* He hasn't added anything new nor of any substance to the bigoted neo-nazi, fascist, KKK, white supremacist stupidities and inanities that are already out there in abundance..

People don't HAVE to listen to any of the nonsense and drivel he keeps muttering.

3:09AM PDT on Apr 22, 2012

He should have never lived long enough to get off that Island much less make it to trial.

1:53AM PDT on Apr 22, 2012

Thanks for the article.

2:23PM PDT on Apr 20, 2012

911 was an EXCUSE to start a war which lead to another war. War was a solution that has NOT worked but it has gained us many enemies we did NOT have before. Maybe it is time to pay attention to other countries that do not make most of their money off of war and death.

1:23PM PDT on Apr 20, 2012

I'm beyond humbled and proud of Norway. I'm in awe of Breivik's defence attorney, who took this job, urged by his family, because he wanted to make a truly democratic impact.
I'm also so impressed with all the internet active Norwegians, who continue to reply to online comments urging for violence and hate with calmness and dignity. Well done, Norway.

8:53AM PDT on Apr 20, 2012

In treating the insane, Norway leads the way to a sane society

8:31AM PDT on Apr 20, 2012

I don't know if he fits legal definitions of insane or not, but anyone who is so antisocial is not fit for life in society. There is no way he should ever be allowed to be on the streets ever again.

7:59AM PDT on Apr 20, 2012

"Fisher also points out that the death penalty is banned in Norway, as it is in most of the developed world (excluding the U.S.)." The writer could have stopped at "developed world."

I've been saying for years now that we should close Guantanamo and either try those people in a real court of law, or release them. This pseudo-justice gulag we're running damages us and gives aid and comfort to our enemies. It legitimizes their cause, and delegitimizes ours.

7:57AM PDT on Apr 20, 2012

'.....why on earth are his heavily rationalized right-wing, Islamophobic, extremist, ramblings being given a platform for the ten weeks of his trial(?).....'

Simple really. Because that is how a democratic system of justice works. Unpalatable certainly, appalling painful for the survivors for sure, but that is the way the majority of Norwegians want it and I, for one, think they are right. In this case the (untelevised) publicity acts as a sober reminder of the damage people with dangerous views can cause.

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