This morning, Ed Morrisey reported on the sentencing of Anders Brevik, the Norwegian who set off a bomb at a government building, then proceeded to murder 77 people on a retreat. We all know that Norway doesn’t believe in capital punishment, so it’s pretty obvious that they would put him away for life, right? Wrong. The judge gave Brevik a maximum sentence of 21 years in prison or 99.5 days per victim. As Ed speculates, it will likely be less than that.

Hugh would probably get on my case for listening to too much Dennis Prager, but I can’t help festooning over the moral tragedy this story indicates. The sentencing brings two moral questions to my mind. How does this give justice and closure to the families of the 77 lives this man took? And how does this make a statement to the people of Norway that this behavior is evil?

To answer the first question, I will state the obvious: there will be no justice done for the murders of their loved ones (at least in this life). The judge has done the equivalent of telling Brevik to sit in a corner and think about what he’s done. With his ruling he has communicated some very telling truths about the morality of their nation.

  • Norway holds the life of an unrepentant murderer with more regard than he has for his victim(s).
  • They don’t believe in setting an example to other potential murderers that this behavior will be dealt with severely.
  • They don’t care about the grief of the families of the 77 now ended lives and that the life of the murder is more valuable than the life of their loved one(s).

In this post modern world, the question of making a statement against evil to the people of Norway is somewhat more complex to deal with. However, I believe that Norway, in refusing to deal harshly with this man, has stated that they do not believe in good or evil. They merely view actions and behaviors as tolerable or less tolerable. On a basic scale, what is more evil than taking the life of an innocent let alone the lives of 77 innocents? No, they do not believe that there is evil in the world and they will fail to fight it when it appears again. The questions I walk away with are things like, how would Norway have reacted to terrorists crashing planes into buildings? Would they hunt down a man who wanted to cause the deaths of its people a la Osama Bin Laden?

They have lost all credibility with their people and with the world for their light view of mass murder.