Saturday, July 23, 2011

"Lone Gunmen"

The main suspect in the Norwegian Killing Spree (at last count, some 91 dead, unknown number of injured) is blond. He's blue-eyed. In some of his professionally done head shots ::cough:: he's posing as if he were a movie star.

How can this be "terrorism?"

It's merely the act of Another Lone Gunman, who knows why they do these things? They just do. They snap. Bang-bang. Yer ded. It's something like the White Man's Overbite. It's quirky. It's probably genetic. But whatever it is, it's impossible to fully control.

In one of brief comments elsewhere on This Oslo Thing, I referred to the incident as the action of a "berserker," which may or may not be an accurate description of the Lone Gunman in this case.

What's interesting, besides the bloodlust and behavior of this person is his apparent Rightist affiliations - well, they really haven't been detailed. So we need to await further word on them - his Fundamentalist Christianity (again, not specified or detailed) - and his anti-immigrant ravings.

Ah, "purity of the blood." Yes. That has long been important in many white and right people's circles, certainly as much in this country as in any other land populated by Northern Europeans. The Other -- particularly if Brown or Black -- is simply "contamination." To be removed. Exterminated if need be.

Initially, of course, the story was that this incident -- actually "incidents," but who's counting? -- was the work of "Jihadis", a branch of which had claimed responsibility for the Oslo bombing (this was before the massacre on the island, however.)

Of course the Oklahoma City Bombing was at first attributed to mud-people, Muslims, "Jihadis", too. Muslims -- and mud-people of all kinds -- are apparently to forever be the first suspects whenever anything like this happens. It has long been a fixation of the media and the High and the Mighty, and yet we know that in a surprising number of cases, "people you would never suspect" (such as our blond and blue-eyed Norwegian boy up there) are the culprits.

And a fair exploration of what motivated McVeigh and his white brothers (and apparently some sisters) to do these things has never been done adequately. It's always a "mystery." Why would they do things like this? It just doesn't make any sense.

Yes, well. Perhaps it doesn't. Actually the motivations -- so far as we know them -- of white bombers and mass murderers tend to make a lot of "sense" in a certain very uncomfortable way for the societies within which they occur.

Many of the school shooters (remember when that was a fad?) tended to assert that they were "victims", generally of bullying. If we think about it, we realize that "bullying" by selected students has long been a means of managing schools, much as it is used similarly in prisons. It's an administrative tool. And in many cases, the school shooters were members of some despised out group, the kind of people almost ritually bullied in schools for generations. What's odd about their behavior is that they fought back with guns. That was, while it was happening, quite astonishing.

The school shooting phase has largely passed, and it may be in part because many administrators came to understand that managing schools through selected bullies wasn't working out all that well.

The McVeigh motive is largely ignored, but if I recall correctly, he and his cohorts were pretty up front about it: directly, the bombing in OKC was "revenge" or pay-back for Waco. That is not some "mysterious" motivation at all. What happened at Waco was simply appalling on every level. The whole thing was just a monstrous action from beginning to end, and it was utterly unnecessary. The Government came to understand that, eventually, but the rationale for committing this atrocity in the first place was an early example of just how twisted a Government gone out of control -- in an effort to enforce ever greater control -- can be.

To then "revenge" Waco by blowing up a Federal building in Oklahoma City together with all the people in it seems... odd... and yet, when you think about it, it's probably one of the simplest solutions to the question: "What do you do?" when you believe you have to do something to deal with the atrocities taking place around you.

And in McVeigh's case, there was more. He had apparently been ordered to do something -- which he apparently did -- while in the armed service in the Gulf War: he was a bulldozer driver in the Army, and he was ordered to drive his bulldozer over the trenches filled with Iraqi conscripts, some of whom were clearly alive. He did it, filling the trenches, and when he realized what he had done, he was filled with loathing and remorse, for himself and for the country he was serving. He had committed an atrocity himself, under orders, an atrocity that would be considered a war crime if the United States had not been Victorious in the Gulf War.

And so, when it came to "revenge" for Waco, in which dozens of innocents would be killed, as dozens of innocents died in the flames of the Branch Davidian Compound, and as who knows how many Iraqi conscript soldiers were buried alive in the trenchs out of Basra, the pattern of "acceptable" mass murder had already been set. McVeigh didn't claim to be innocent; he claimed to be justified.

And so we come to our man in Norway, and he is said to have posted something on his Twitter account, to wit:

Yes. Let me repeat that: "One person with a belief is equal to the force of 100 000 who have only interests."

This is said to be a quote from John Stuart Mill, but I haven't found any source. Doesn't mean it isn't there. What I got from the statement, however, was that it was an expression of almost pure Libertarian/Objectivism, the utter and final triumph of the Individual as Master -- through "belief." Of course, an Objectivist/Libertarian would argue it is no such thing, because... "belief" is not rational. Yes. Of course.

That's the irony, isn't it?

I do not by any means propose to know the motives of any mass murderer; I merely note there is a consistency among those who use the tactic in that they are typically white and male and often strongly individualist -- and typically OUTRAGED!!!!™ by something the "collective" -- the We in as in "We the People" -- has done or permitted.

Belief, whether it is Christianist or Objectivist or something else, particularly in the Power of the Individual to shape or control general events, is (or at least appears to be) fundamental to their action.

The murder of so many innocents will forever be the legacy of that tragic Belief.


Note: I've been following the story mostly on Run it through Google Translator and it's pretty comprehensible, though of course, unless you understand Norwegian, the videos may be a bit hard to follow. Their coverage has been darned good given how difficult the story is for the people of Norway. They have interviewed a couple of Muslim teenagers who were on the island when the shooting started. Even though I don't understand more than a tiny bit of Norwegian, these interviews are powerful refutation of the widespread European and American caricature of Muslims out to murder us all in our beds.

Meanwhile, it is almost impossible to imagine how heartbreaking, let alone terrifying, this all must be for the Norwegian people. It's way beyond shock. The stories at the NRK news site give some sense of what the Norwegian people are going through right now.

As awful as it is -- and my heart goes out to the People of Norway -- at some point, we and Our Rulers need to grasp the horrors that have been unleashed by The West on myriad Brown and Black Peoples around the world, horrors that are the day in and day out reality for so many of them. Death from Above -- or just plain Death -- is all too real to them, nearly every day. That is what "we" are too often seen to do in the world. It must stop.


  1. Dear Che,
    This comment doesn't belong here on this post (it is OT - God, I hate the idea that I have learned to speak internet), but I wanted to draw your attention to something I just read on HuffPo with great alarm.
    Maybe this is my scared old lady alarm bell ringing randomly, but I don't think so. I will not be hurt if you think I am over-reacting; in fact, I will be relieved. In any case, see this Ryan Grim article:

    You surely see where this is going, don’t you? Eventually, you have all the laws written by a small group of elite members of Congress, with the entire balance left as mere window dressing up-and-down Congressional "voters" to give the faintest tinge of a “democracy at work” blushing to what is actually a junta ruling over the country. There is no limit to the number of issues which could be declared “important” enough to be handled via a fast-track through the elite Super Congress. Why not all of them? It’s ALL important stuff, right? They are ALL vital issues, right?

  2. Oh, Che, I also meant to show you this interesting interview I read about Libya and the questionable legality of the US "recognizing" the rebels as the de facto government there. I had originally asked a question at UT about the issue and no-one was interesting in it. I followed up a couple of days later after doing my own research and posted this as a comment:
    I questioned in a previous post if would be legal under international law for the US to just name the rebels in Libya as the “government”. I did some research, and it is, of course, blatantly illegal to do so. I came across this fascinating discussion. The interview below is with John Bellinger, the former legal adviser to the State Dept., now with the Council of Foreign Relations (you know you’re in trouble if those guys don’t like your nation-building policy).

    Bellinger is concerned that this latest move is ill-advised and, in fact, against international law. He also clearly states that not all the members of the 30 country coalition has “recognized” the rebels; in fact, and making a lie of the media statements in the US that the entire 30 country coalition had used that phrase, he points out that most of the other countries involved merely avowed a willingness to “deal with” (i.e., “work with”) the rebels, and fell far short of officially recognizing the rebels as the de facto government.

    [Here I gave a couple of lengthy excerpts from the article.] The article is found at:

    This is a very interesting discussion and I highly recommend reading it in its entirety.
    Well, this follow-up comment was also completely ignored, which I found a tad oddish on a blog dominated by lawyer types, but I no longer post at UT (the queen bees finally chased me off for good - my refusal to endorse Ron Paul brought forth a bevy of scathing insults; of course, I think it is stupid at this point to think the election will matter to the planned course of events in the US. I did get some small chuckles out of the fact that all the Ron Paul people were using as their only reasons for liking him crap like 'the media hates him', 'the GOP hates him', 'the elite hate him', 'he will shake things up in DC', 'he is honorable', and 'he is honest', rather than presenting any actual policies of his that they endorsed, and all of which I kinda sorta remember as the very reasons given for endorsing one Barack Obama. But, yeah, Ron Paul is the exception for sure this time. The change agent. LOL. I likened it to being raped by someone who has the courtesy of telling you he's going to rape you before he does it - I've actually read the guy's position papers - and then I just gave up and left the joint) and so won't bring it [Libya article] to Greenwald's attention again.
    I'm not suggesting you use the article for anything; just that the interview is a compelling read about the legal (NOT) tendencies of the Oblahblah administration.
    You are building quite a good body of work, Che. You have my admiration.

  3. Hm. Interesting. I'm curious why this Rule By Commission notion (which is what this proposal basically is) is being pressed so hard now. Obviously, if the Rs are now proposing it as the Ds did with the Simpson-Bowles Commission, there is something going on in the backrooms we don't -- and won't -- know about.

    Our Corporate Overlords are finally getting serious about their generous take over of American governance? I don't know.

    Rule by Commission was a feature of the Early Progressive Movement as a response to disaster. Cf: Galveston after the Hurricane in 1900. San Francisco after the 1906 Earthquake. Etc. It became an entrenched notion that a Commission was on the whole better at governance than icky Democracy, because it bypassed all the corrupt Interests that were vying for pre-eminence in a Democratic system. Instead, an impartial Commission (of Experts) would do what was necessary and right -- for the Good of the People, of course.

    That was the theory anyway. You could still have your petty "elections" -- even electing Commissioners sometimes. So that was good.

    But actual rule and accountability for that rule was taken out of the People's hands. It was thought to be better that way, and I suppose in some ways, it was.

    On the other hand, to see what they want to use the Commission system for now -- that is to "reform," reduce and remove the People's rights and earned benefits, for the specific purpose of further enhancing the power and riches of the highest and the mightiest, under the concept that we don't have any other choice... that's just wrong.

    I can imagine the Leadership sees it as the way forward, though, because (at least when it comes to Social Security and the Debt, and quite a few other things, too, such as military base closures) they've used it before, successfully. From their point of view, I imagine it makes sense to do it again, given the impasses in Congress that are only getting worse. For them, it's a relief valve and escape hatch.

    Could it lead to reducing Congress to a vestigial body? Sure. Congress became what amounted to an adjunct advisory body of the Executive Branch during the Bush era, which was pretty hideous. Obama has actually tried to restore it to its rightful, constitutional place, but as he does, factionalism increases. The Body is paralyzed by factionalism to such an extent it is a danger to the nation -- at least if I am reading the Debt issue right. So it sounds like the leadership are trying to find a way around the factional paralysis.

    The problem, as I see it, is that what they want to do via the Commission process is wrong on its own account and should be stopped by any means possible.

  4. teri,

    Also, regarding the Libya rebel recognition question... (your comment got filtered by Blogger's spam program over which I have no control, so I didn't rescue it from the spam folder till later... sorry).

    I'm not sure that these fundamental questions of international law and the consequences of ignoring or working around them are of priority concern to the Palace (no matter who is on the Throne). The operative belief seems to be that they're gonna do what they damn well want to. And they do.

    This whole Libya Thing has been a mess from the get go, though, and apart from control of the Oil, it's not at all clear what the point is.

    (And that makes me wonder if Venezuela is next. I just heard yesterday that Venezuela's proven reserves are now the largest in the world, even greater than Saudi's. And that pardo/zambo Chavez is too uppity for his own good.)

    Libya is one of those issues that Scott Creighton over at American Everyman has been following with consummate cynicism. You might want to check it out.

    As for the disinterest of the legal minds at UT, well, I'm not surprised. Unless they are told to be interested in something, they tend not to be. I think it has something to do with the legal mindset.

    I'm surprised though that the Queen Bees (I can only imagine who!) ran you off for insufficient Ron Paul-love. You've been an outstanding contributor.

    As you say, though, when one deals with Paul's positions, and even more so the likely consequences of enacting them, rather than the old coot's vaunted "integrity" or whatever is being Hailed at the moment, he just doesn't seem to have all that much stature, does he? As far as I'm concerned, he's nothing but a neo-Confederate. It really doesn't matter how "principled" and "honest" he may (or may not) be. I'd rather not see the Confederacy revived in any form.

    Call me contrary, I guess!

    You're welcome here anytime you want, but I do tend to get off on tangents from time to time. Be warned!