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American COP June Digital Edition - Page 32
Norway’s 9/11 The Utoya Massacre: From Heaven To Hell Jeremy Josephs , FMG European Correspondent W hen it comes to the tiny forested island of Utoya, a 40-minute drive northwest from Oslo, the handsome capital of Norway, the superlatives have a habit of flowing thick and fast. “It’s Norway’s island paradise,” regulars inform you. Others have a rather annoying habit of seeking out tiny differences when it comes to providing gushing descriptions, and insist that Utoya was rather, in their view, “heaven on earth.” On Friday July 22, 2011, such semantic debates came to an abrupt end. A 32-year-old Norwegian fanatic and extremist by the name of Anders Behring Breivik had seen to that. By the time he had finished his killing spree, 96 people had been injured and 77 were dead, the vast majority youngsters attending a summer youth camp on the island, leaving Utoya awash with their blood. It was the worst atrocity on Norwegian soil since World War II. Jens Stoltenberg, Norway’s prime minister said of Utoya that “It was a paradise of my youth that has now been turned into hell.” Almost immediately Norway and other Scandinavian countries embarked upon a period of sustained soul- searching. Might tighter gun laws have prevented the attack? Should Oslo’s Pistol Club, of which Breivik was a member, have reported him to the authorities? Ought the police response have been more speedy and effective? It Starts That now notorious day did not even begin with anything having to do with guns — but everything to do with 6 tons of fertilizer. Indicating how meticulously his terror attack had been planned, Breivik had purchased it 2 years previously and stored it entirely without suspicion, in his barn. If any questions would be asked, it was all entirely innocent — the ammonium nitrate and calcium ammonium nitrate were for an agricultural company named Breivik Geofarm, and for the rather wholesome business of growing vegetables, melons and tubers. But with that lethal cocktail he had, in fact, prepared, and earlier that same day detonated, a 210-pound bomb in Regjeringskvartalet. Not just in the heart of Oslo, but right in front of the Office of the Prime Minister and several other government buildings. Eight people were killed in the explosion and 11 seriously wounded. Yet, that was but the start of the day that would change Norway forever. For Breivik, meanwhile, was heading north toward Utoya where, presenting himself as a uniformed policeman who had come to help out and oversee security in the wake of the Oslo explosions, was poised to mete-out unimaginable harm. At the time, Breivik bore a demented half-smile on his face, his body charged with a homemade assortment of drugs so he would not falter in the execution of the gruesome tasks before him. There was, nevertheless, subsequently a wide-ranging discussion in Norway about how anyone could acquire such a substantial amount of fertilizer. But the truth was it was an average-sized purchase for an agricultural business and nothing suspicious about it whatsoever. Still, it was a revealing debate. If legislation cannot control the sale of agricultural products when it comes to someone of evil intent, then why on earth should it be more successful in respect to guns and ammunition? Distortion Breivik had headed off to Prague the previous year, in August and Sep- 32 WWW.AMERICANCOPMAGAZINE.COM • JUNE 2012