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Anders Breivik is guilty: the fine line between bad and mad

One of the most high profile court decisions on “madness” and crime has concluded. In a unanimous decision, the Oslo District Court in Norway has convicted Anders Behring Breivik of the murder of 77 people…

Anders Breivik was sane when he murdered dozens of people in Norway last year according to a jury. EPA/Heiko Junge/Pool Norway

One of the most high profile court decisions on “madness” and crime has concluded. In a unanimous decision, the Oslo District Court in Norway has convicted Anders Behring Breivik of the murder of 77 people in the streets of central Oslo and on the island of Utoya in July 2011.

As is well-known, Breivik faced trial for multiple counts of murder, following gun and bomb attacks resulting in mass killing of adults and children. Since his apprehension, Breivik has admitted planning and carrying out the killings, and is on record as saying that they were necessary to start a revolution aimed at preventing Norway from accepting further numbers of immigrants.

Breivik’s conviction was based on a finding that he was sane at the time of the killings. In a strange twist, the court’s verdict is a victory for the defence; they had been instructed by their client Breivik to argue that he was sane. The prosecution had argued that Breivik was insane.

The finding that Breivik was sane and the conviction means that he can be punished and he has been sentenced to 21 years in prison. It is possible that Breivik will be detained beyond that period, under a regime of preventative detention. This means Breivik may never be released. The seriousness of Breivik’s offences and the enormous harm they have caused seems to indicate that Breivik’s conviction and sentence will be well-received in Norway.

The issue in Breivik’s trial was whether he was criminally responsible for the killings. If he was insane at the time of killings, he was not criminally responsible. Criminal responsibility concerns the capacities of the accused. If an accused lacks the necessary capacities, he or she cannot be called to account for his or her actions in the context of a criminal trial.

The question of criminal responsibility goes beyond the issue of liability for an offence: it addresses the issue of whether the accused is someone to whom the criminal law speaks. Criminal responsibility lies at the heart of our criminal justice system.

The Breivik trial brings the complex issues surrounding criminal responsibility into sharp relief. It prompts us to where the line between “madness” and “badness” lies and to think about how to respond to offenders whose criminal responsibility is at issue.

Media reports indicate that Brievik has been examined by a total of 18 medical experts. Some of these experts concluded that he met the legal test of insanity, which, in Norway, requires that he acted under the influence of psychosis at the time of the crime. But Breivik himself disputed this diagnosis, claiming it is part of an attempt to silence him and stymie his message about “saving” Norway. Other medical assessments concluded Breivik was sane at the time of the offences, his actions motivated by extremist ideology not mental illness. The judges reached the same conclusion.

Anders Breivik murdered Sharidyn Meegan Ngahiwi Svebakk-Boehn on July 22 2011 on the Norwegian island of Utoya. He killed another 68 people on Utoya and eight others with a car bomb detonated in Oslo the same day. EPA/Svebakk Boehn Family

This difference of opinion among experts should not surprise us. Not only is the process of diagnosing a mental disorder complex, determining whether a disorder had a relevant effect on an individual at a specific point in time, is notoriously difficult. At what point, if any, does ideologically-driven fanaticism become “madness”?

It is tempting to think that Breivik’s crimes were so extreme that he had to be “mad”. How could he think he was performing a “duty” to his country, that such violence was “necessary”? According to this logic, the criminal acts tell us everything we need to know. And criminal responsibility appears to be a trade off between the severity of someone’s mental incapacity and the magnitude of harm resulting from their offence.

But, as a matter of law, in our system, responsibility and harm are separate matters. If an individual is not criminally responsible, the issue of the harm that their actions have caused must be dealt with by means other than punishment. Indeed, treatment for the relevant mental condition may be the most appropriate response when an individual is not criminally responsible.

If this seems too lenient, we must recall that it represents the flipside of a criminal justice system that works on the assumption that everyone is an independent agent, and, in a liberal democratic system, this assumption protects us from excessive paternalism on the part of the state. Our system requires that each individual accused of crime be respected as an autonomous subject of the law.

We must also recall that, even if an individual is not criminally responsible, legal options remain open. If Breivik had been found to be insane at the time of the killings, and not convicted of the offences with which he was charged, he could have been made the subject of a court order, which, in his case, would have seen him detained in a secure psychiatric unit inside a prison. This form of detention could have been just as long as any prison term.

If he had been tried here, and found not to be criminally responsible, Breivik could have been subject to detention – perhaps even indefinitely. But, in that case, our legal system’s response is not so much a moral condemnation of blameworthy conduct, but more forward-looking action aimed at avoiding further harm – to the individual and others – in the future.

The crucial difference with this response is that it is not based on the responsible subject otherwise at the heart of criminal law and process.

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  1. Chonyi Taylor

    logged in via Facebook

    The diagnostic criteria for bipolar disease includes

    Inflated self-esteem or grandiosity

    Decreased need for sleep

    More talkative than usual or pressure to keep talking

    Flight of ideas or subjective racing of thoughts

    Distractibility

    Increase in goal-directed activity

    Excessive involvement in pleasurable activities that have a high potential for painful consequences.

    While these are suggestive and not definitive, they illustrate the difficulty of differentiating between 'normal' and 'mad' behavior. This also explains why psychiatric disorders can go unrecognized. The 'logical' basis for Breivik's behavior, a Muslim plot in Norway, does sound like paranoid thinking. Quite often the arguments of a paranoid person seem completely plausible and since the paranoia has internal consistency, the assumption can be that therefore the person is sane.

    Sanity is relative , after all.

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    1. Chonyi Taylor

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Sounds as if I wouldn't want to know them! Of course one can be both mad and bad. We can also be one without the other, or even neither. I was trying to point out the blurry grey line that separates normality from madness. This also applies to badness. Killing a human is definitely bad (though you might debate this in times of war or extreme provocation), but is killing a mosquito bad?

      Because this line is so blurry bipolar disorder can remain unrecognized as such.

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    2. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Chonyi Taylor

      Yes Hitler, Stalin mad and bad - and Byron too I'm advised.

      Oooh yes very much so re the under-diagnosis. Not until the poor sufferer is a full frothing at the mouth bankrupt with several marriages under their belt.

      While some folks seem to potter along with a merry manageable sort of issue with the odd frenzied outbursts and long flats. Depends how tolerant the family and friends are I suspect. And the impacts of the behaviour.

      Sad thing is that some folks - I suspect quite a few - treasure and cherish their episodes and outbursts. They are energised, creative and running on high octane fuel. Unlike the rest of days which can appear dark and bleak by comparison.

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    3. Meg Thornton

      Dilletante

      In reply to Chonyi Taylor

      Chonyi,

      As a person with a mental illness (chronic endogenous depression - aka "my brain hates me") I feel I have to point out that there's no universally accepted positive definition of "sanity". There is one universally accepted negative definition - sanity is defined as the absence of insanity. However, as the wrangles and quarrels over the DSM V are proving, "insanity" has a pretty wide definition in and of itself; once the DSM V comes out, there may well be no sane people left on the planet…

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    4. Dianna Arthur
      Dianna Arthur is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Environmentalist

      In reply to Chonyi Taylor

      As a sufferer from bi-polar, I second what Meg Thornton has stated and I am adding that the vast, overwhelmingly huge majority (99.999999%) of bi-polar sufferers are more of as danger to themselves than anyone else.

      Further, the description you have provided fits more with psychopathic tendencies than it does bi-polar.

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    5. mal barr

      toxicologist

      In reply to Chonyi Taylor

      The diagnostic criteria of all major conditions in DSM-1V are mere guideliens.
      clinicians use rigid scientific criteria for simple obvious cases but are aware of dozens of variations. this is why clinical application of scientific theory is more of an art than a science.

      this topic is missing important issues as to why the police were underprepared in such a rich country with enough funds to properly protect their resources but not their population.

      m. barr

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  2. john tons

    retired redundant

    It is tempting to dismiss Brevik as a madman. The reason that needs to be resisted is simply this. If Brevik was mad then others, who are of a similar ideological persuasion as he is must also be mad. Therefore we need to protect society against people like that and lock them up in insane asylums. That was indeed the line Russia took with dissidents - it was incomprehensible that anyone would be opposed to the regime so therefore they had to be mad. Once we go down that track we will find ourselves locking up dissidents and freedom of thought and expression will be confined to those who accept the dominant paradigm.

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  3. Shane Bryan

    logged in via Facebook

    What sort of modern country gives someone 21 years in jail for 68(+) murders? What a complete farce.

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    1. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Shane Bryan

      Shane,

      If this bloke is deemed a hazard to shipping after 21 years he will not be released. 21 years is the maximum sentence allowed under the law. They make laws to deal with the norm. This massacre business does not happen.

      The truly great punishment for this bloke - I want to forget his name - is the response of the public - and the political response of tolerance and increased openness to other cultures.

      Meanwhile he will be spending 21 years essentially in solitary confinement in three cell rooms inside a maximum security prison - isolated for his own protection from other prisoners. Prison might be the only safety this bloke will ever know.

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    2. Sandra Kwa

      Grad Cert Ethics and Legal Studies, CSU

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Good point, Peter! If only everyone in the world who wants to see him punished would just punish him more and more by being more and more tolerant and open! Oh, how that would make him writhe in his cell!

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    3. Sandra Kwa

      Grad Cert Ethics and Legal Studies, CSU

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Agreed. I was more directing the point to the Shane Bryans around the world baying for more blood, longer sentence, hoping Breivik will "slip his soap" in prison (saw that one on social media!), etc. Though quite likely many didn't realise the Norwegian government may never release him "under a regime of preventative detention" (this article). I didn't know. 21-but-10 years minimum non-parole would seem to be a light sentence indeed.

      But it would be wonderfully ironic if the "revolution" he sought to start went the exact opposite direction. So yes, it's about us really.

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    4. Dianna Arthur
      Dianna Arthur is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Environmentalist

      In reply to Sandra Kwa

      Sandra

      I find the baying for blood noisome - even regarding the likes of Breivik - who is unlikely to see freedom, as you have noted under the "regime of preventative detention."

      I may be wrong, but believe those for whom incarceration is not enough are pro-capital punishment.

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    5. Shane Bryan

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Sandra Kwa

      Direct to @Sandra Kwa

      I find your comment "the Shane Bryans around the world" extremely offensive, and also distasteful.

      You do not know me, you do not know my views.

      If there was a poll done today I bet it would turn up just as many "Sandra Kwa's of the world" boring everybody to death with their self righteous, no real world life experience, education from a box Uni Post Graduate skill set.

      I expressed surprise at the maximum sentence that Norway can legally hand out in a case like…

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    6. Sandra Kwa

      Grad Cert Ethics and Legal Studies, CSU

      In reply to Shane Bryan

      Unreserved apologies Shane. It was wrong of me to use your name in that way. You actually wrote very little in your original post apart from suggesting Norway's justice system was a complete farce for a modern country. I admit I had been prejudiced by reading some disturbing, tasteless, comments flooding other sites, but should never have made any connection of those views to you beyond what you actually posted.

      I was relieved to learn here of Norway's regime of preventative detention, and if…

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    7. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Sandra Kwa

      Yes Ms K,

      From the little I understand of the Norwegian - most of Scandawegian places perhaps -is that there is a rather humane approach to human nature, recovery or "redemption" - take you're pick. Either way it seems to have the place rather law-abiding as a rule.

      But I suspect that without some unlikely Damascus moment this man - such as he is - can never be released with such an attitude to ends and means. No matter what he thinks about Islam or anything else - to believe that one can further any cause by selectively hunting unarmed teenagers on an Island is insanely evil. Real leather mask territory.... a Nordic Hannibal Lechter.

      For his own safety if for nothing else I cannot see him ever being released. Not unless he is redeemed in some way - but that would require acknowledging the horror of his cowardly crime. I don't think anyone could actually live with that.

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    8. Sandra Kwa

      Grad Cert Ethics and Legal Studies, CSU

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Hi Peter, (and btw if you'd rather be addressed as Mr Ormonde do let me know - I seem to have filled my quota for being offensive in this forum, for which I am, genuinely, repentant, and I'm not talking about the pedantry), this has been a very intriguing Conversation for me. I was once obsessed with researching violent crimes in Australia, having supported the 18yo Cambodian Choi Tang convicted of the Mango Tree Murder of 1997, visiting him numerous times in Parklea, Silverwater, Lithgow, Goulburn…

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    9. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Sandra Kwa

      One of the more alarming aspects of the local quilters - is that while repentance is welcomed - even encouraged - on occasion with implements - it in no way mitigates one's liability to the pelting punishment of your pals.

      Yes an interesting set of issues to think about. But do not think about this man too much. Think about Norway's civil response and how we can rise above horror, anger and revenge. But also some thoughts about what fear and twisted thinking can do.

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    10. Yoron Hamber

      Thinking

      In reply to Shane Bryan

      I'm not a Norwegian but a Swede, and yeah Shane, sometimes a shot seems more appropriate, and final, than leaving someone in the 'care' of a civilized system. But it's about whether it ever is 'lawful' to kill other beings, and also, maybe, to allow someone the possibility of redemption, as I see it. Those losing their kids to his insanity, and insane it is killing kids for some political ideological motivation of ones own, I expect to, in their darkest moments, to feel much the same as you though. But he won't probably ever be released, even though the possibility exists.

      But I disagree with calling him sane. He can not been seen as sane.

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    11. Sandra Kwa

      Grad Cert Ethics and Legal Studies, CSU

      In reply to Yoron Hamber

      Welcome a Scandinavian perspective, Yoron. I had intended to move on - it is a harrowing subject - and then you wrote in with the reference to kids and I'm back with the lump in my throat and the churn in my stomach. I felt it too with the recent pictures of 300 dead in Syria, including kids, while Assad sits unrepentant affirming "whatever it takes". McVeigh's conversations with Vidal revealed a lucid, analytical intellect and a personality shaped by his career as a model soldier of the first Gulf…

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    12. Dianna Arthur
      Dianna Arthur is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Environmentalist

      In reply to Sandra Kwa

      Sandra Kwa:

      "We can't lock people up for failing an MRI test when they haven't done anything, but maybe we can monitor and guide them in other ways."

      Exactly.

      The majority of narcissists do not mass murder - they may well make our lives miserable, but the Breivik's and McVeigh's are rare - although the notoriety makes them appear far more common than they are.

      Only awareness can help. And for people to believe when someone has issued a complaint of abuse. We tend to punish victims far more than we do the perpetrator.

      In the case of Breivik I agree with the verdict - he is off the street and professional people are in a position to learn from this man. We cannot change behaviour without understanding the people we are dealing with.

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    13. Yoron Hamber

      Thinking

      In reply to Sandra Kwa

      I don't think the seeds to aggressiveness, and the fascination with killing to be 'insane' as such. I suspect we all have it in us Sandra, you asked about female soldiers somewhere and I think I've read that those actually being in war was just as ruthless as their male counterparts, can't cite from where but I've seen it mentioned several times. We want to think that we've gone away from it, the old ways and the old testament, and found new and better ways. I hope we have, but we're still naturally…

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    14. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Yoron Hamber

      Yes Yoron for the psychopath/sociopath to act there first is a point of objectification - of eliminating once and for all any humanity attached to the victims. So jews become lass than human. Muslims become less than human, Children at a camp on an island become less than human. They become means to an end.

      It is this detachment that characterises psychopathic behaviour - the total lack of empathy or interest in their victims.

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    15. Yoron Hamber

      Thinking

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Empathy is much needed Peter. And it begins with one self, as everything else. One have to find a way to see oneself, and accept ones humanity, on good as well as the bad. Those 'Saints' people sometimes refer too probably knew this all too well. As for the objectification I think it is there for sane people too, as I suspect, if we don't want to call us all insane when in a war? We have too many examples of what 'sane' people has done to each other. But maybe that is just what we should call it? A insanity? War I mean.

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    16. lavinia kay moore

      child and family counsellor

      In reply to Yoron Hamber

      Yoron, I remember a song that went something along the lines of "you have to be taught, you have to be taught to hate....."
      Trying to work out why one person who suffered abuse/ neglect/abandonment as a child ends of hating everything and another spends their whole life trying to make the world a better place is a mystery.
      Society as a whole has a lot to do with what behaviours are considered normal- and they are not always the same for females as for males- and it has a rather distorted view…

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    17. Yoron Hamber

      Thinking

      In reply to lavinia kay moore

      No, I did not mean that waging war is a 'insanity', done by the 'clinically insane' :)

      What I meant was that we all have it in us, although only a very few could contemplate something what this guy did. There's a lot of soldiers in the world, and I don't expect them to behave like him, although it can, and will, happen when war breaks out. But war brings with it its own twisted logic and people lose their footing being in one too long, seeing too much. It craves (very) well trained soldiers too keep their footing, and sanity, in a prolonged war.

      Soldiers fighting don't come up with terms as 'collateral damage', they see the costs of war. It's the people behind that make those catchy slogans, getting well paid for it too. And the ones telling you that good war story are the ones that survived, isn't it? But there are a lot of decent serving men and women, in all wars.

      But it's a old solution that we should look over, and see if we can find better ways.

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  4. Kerry Carrington

    Professor, Head of School of Justice at Queensland University of Technology

    Airlie,
    Thanks for the balanced commentary on this particularly henious mass murder.
    Readers might like to know that the popular response to these crimes in Norway at the time was that thousands took to the streets in defence of Social Democracy. This is now famously called the Roses March. (Instead of the punitive lynch mob - bring on the death sentence mentality more akin to other jurisdictions - America especially and increasingly Australia). This crime and the public response to it is culturally, socially, and politically enormously significant. I congratulate Norweigians on their civic maturity and defence of social democratic freedoms - even in the face of such a henious brutal mass murder by an ideologically driven fanatic.

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    1. Sandra Kwa

      Grad Cert Ethics and Legal Studies, CSU

      In reply to Kerry Carrington

      Kerry, +1 to you - I agree. To rise above violence is the only way to defeat it, in the long-term, I suspect. The idea of the punitive lynch mob chills me. But even more so, the other end of the reaction spectrum - those who may concede his actions were a bit extreme but his "revolution" is valid. An acquaintance told me yesterday her Facebook is going crazy with hate messages against Muslim immigration. The speed of social media to spread hatred like bushfire scares me no end.

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    2. Sandra Kwa

      Grad Cert Ethics and Legal Studies, CSU

      In reply to Kerry Carrington

      I have this really annoying compulsive habit - do forgive me. It's "heinous". We all do typos, but I noticed it happened twice. :)

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    3. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to Kerry Carrington

      Kerry, the rise of lynch mobs is also extremely common and a lot more violent in the developing muslim countries. Recall the murderous mobs killing innocents in response to perceived slights against their religion.

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  5. lavinia kay moore

    child and family counsellor

    The process of diagnosing whether or not someone is legally insane is a very complex process. In high profile cases it has always been the case that experts will agree to diagree.
    The matter of how to deal with persons who may or may not be
    "insane" and who have been accused of a crime is also not straighforward. It depends on the cultural attitudes regarding mental health issues and the particular crimes the person is accused of. Then there is the vexed issue of deciding whether he was mad then…

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  6. Charles Pragnell

    Freelance Social Commentator

    Anders Breivic is a psychopath (see Dr. John Hare’s work) which is a neurological defect which is present at birth (brain damaged in common terminology). The defective part of the brain is that part which creates emotional intelligence, and the emotions and feelings which we have for ourselves and for others.
    Psychopaths are untreatable therefore by present psychiatric methods but can be identified (not medically diagnosed0 by certain behaviour patterns and by MRI scans. The psychopathic condition…

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    1. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Charles Pragnell

      See there's a problem with psychopaths. They are everywhere - from politics to business to lovelost marriages. They are often highly functional - compulsively so. And successful.

      The actual issue for a court as I understand it is to determine if the accused is fit to plead. This is a different issue entirely I'd suggest.

      See this creature would justify his actions on his compassion and concern - his love of country and the norse way of life or whatever. He did not seek to become a "martyr" for money or even necessarily fame. It's a Christian thing I suspect.

      I'm not for one moment suggesting he's sane or has any valid excuse - but his excuse will be the old cry - "he did it for us"... an angel of revelation.

      Mad and bad and yet totally fit to decide a plea.

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    2. Diana Taylor

      retired psychotherapist

      In reply to Charles Pragnell

      While psychiatry cannot change a birth defect, there is evidence that psychopathology can be modified by psychotherapy. For a discussion of three myths about psychopaths, see Scientific Amercan http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=what-psychopath-means

      Further;
      1) there is considerable overlap between the diagnostic criteria for mental illnesses. This is because neurology is not yet sufficiently developed to give clear diagnoses. Therefore, most diagnosis is necessarily on behavioral grounds.
      2) even birth defects can be modified by suitable medical intervention, whether it is providing a prosthetic limb, or a medication to modify disrupted brain functioning.

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    3. Sandra Kwa

      Grad Cert Ethics and Legal Studies, CSU

      In reply to Charles Pragnell

      Charles, your post is interesting. If the MRI scan can identify ASPD+P, it could at the very least be a prerequisite test for gun ownership. But if, indeed as Peter suggests, they are everywhere, then there should be no guns in the community, period. Guns can be kept locked up and used only within tightly regulated and controlled operations. I know ASPD+Ps will still have knives, but at least they can't kill anywhere near as many.
      I noticed the tests in the URL below were only on males. What is the incidence of females with this disorder? Why are there so many more male mass gun-murderers than women? Have there been any women? I'm curious.
      http://psychcentral.com/news/2012/05/11/scans-show-psychopaths-have-brain-abnormalities/38540.html

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    4. lavinia kay moore

      child and family counsellor

      In reply to Charles Pragnell

      Charles. I am thinking you are referring to Dr Robert Hare. A Canadian expert in criminal psychopathy. I too have found his work useful.
      For a read of interest try his "Snakes in Suits" aimed at general public rather than professional readers. A very interesting expose of the psychopaths within our societies.
      Also, some years ago the ABC 's Catalyst programme focussed on corporate psychopaths. Very interesting for anyone who has encountered such types.

      Diana, from my reading/research most experts are inclined to believe that psychopaths do not respond to treatment satisfactorily if at all. Which is different from a person with a mental health illness who is psychotic at times.
      Not all psychopaths are violent murders/serial killers as the popular media would have. Many are charming but ruthless people who do their damage in often unrecognised ways, destroying people's lives with gay abandon.

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    5. Charles Pragnell

      Freelance Social Commentator

      In reply to Diana Taylor

      Lavinia – Thank you for your correction regarding Dr. Robert Hare. It is some time since I read his works and I clearly need a refresher course. I hope however I have reflected the major findings and thrusts of his research.
      Diana - Prior to the 1960s, many low-intellect psychopaths were incarcerated in large mental institutions if they had been violent. Some were given lobotomies which were effective but largely destructive of the whole personality. I’m sure that is not what you mean by “medical…

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    6. lavinia kay moore

      child and family counsellor

      In reply to Charles Pragnell

      Dear charles, I doubt that Breivik would ever make admissions regarding committing a crime. From what i have read of his statements he does not see his actions as criminal in the sense that they were wrong. On the contrary, he wishes he killed more. The fact that he refuses to see that his actions were wrong means that he surely does not see them as crimes. Therefore while he accepts responsibility for what he did, ( he sees it as a positive act) he does not accept responsibility for having committed a crime.
      Breivik has no remorse for what he did. he does not regard his actions as wrong/criminal. It is that type of perception that indicates that he may well be a psychopath.

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    7. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Charles Pragnell

      "....because seeking to exercise power and control over others tends to be more of a male characteristic than a female....." It's that damn glass ceiling I'd reckon.

      Given the difficulties involved for women in seizing power - what few there have been arehardly models of nurturing harmonious earth mothers. Indira Gandhi, Margaret Thatcher, Mrs Ceausescu , Mrs Mao, Winnie Mandela....the daughters and wives of tyrants and dictators ... I'm sure there are others.

      I be blaming the lack of opportunity myself, rather than any hopeful maternalism any time soon - a merit based career path for dictatorship - rather than just jobs for the boys. Let's smash that glass ceiling down!!!

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    8. Dianna Arthur
      Dianna Arthur is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Environmentalist

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      I agree Peter:

      Charles Pragnell: "Female values tend towards working in harmony, healing of emotional and physical wounds, balance of life forces, and the creation of life. "

      I, for one, would like an explanation for the mostly female bullies I have encountered at school and in the work place.

      Not wishing to be pessimistic, but I'm gonna be anyway, as women take up more equal positions of power alongside men, we will find more abuse of power by women. Whether it will be an equal 50/50 split remains to be seen. There are too few women in power in the past and at present to form any type of hypothesis.

      We need to look at our present power structures (government, corporate) which reward the most cunning and ruthless and, therefore, fail to encourage a majority of men or women of ethical merit.

      I find Charles' idealisation of women as problematic as those who constantly denigrate women.

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    9. Sandra Kwa

      Grad Cert Ethics and Legal Studies, CSU

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      I was more thinking that there have been SO many mass gun killings in the US where women have easy access to guns too, but they have all been male shooters. I was more wondering if this scientific proof of a detectable brain imbalance explained something about this gender imbalance in psychopathic acts.

      Mind you, I believe there is a vigilante group of women in pink saris in India of recent years, numbering around 10,000. They have no access to guns, but arm themselves with bamboo sticks to give…

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    10. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Sandra Kwa

      So that's your game then Ms Kwa with you study of law and ethical niceties!!! Half of everything or it'll be chorus lines of Bollywood jigglers waving sticks!

      Actually there was a madrassa attached to the Red Mosque in Pakistan. It was a hard-line wahabbist sort of school for 5,000 girls dressed head to toe in full burqua. They used to go out into the surrounding streets chanting slogans and clutching poles in gloved hands. They would head off in packs of up to 300 to meet out rough justice to pornographers like newsagents and video stores. Viscerally scary stuff actually.

      I like the lie of those Leviticans myself - lots of ram slaughtering in atonement, stoning, no more throwing the kids into the fiery arms of mollek...plagues and the like.... lots of smoting.

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    11. Sandra Kwa

      Grad Cert Ethics and Legal Studies, CSU

      In reply to Charles Pragnell

      Thanks Charles. I just found a very good opinion piece that asks: "Why aren't we talking about the one thing mass murderers have in common?" (link below) after googling "women mass gun murderers" which came up with "did you mean: women mass gun MURDERS?" LOL (wryly).

      The author (a woman) says: "The silence around the gendering of violence is as inexplicable as it is indefensible. Sex differences in other medical and social conditions — such as anorexia nervosa, lupus, migraines, depression and learning disabilities — are routinely analyzed along these lines."

      She says: "Pointing out that fact may seem politically incorrect or irrelevant, but our silence about the huge gender disparity of such violence may be costing lives."

      http://ideas.time.com/2012/07/24/the-overwhelming-maleness-of-mass-homicide/#ixzz24jXer9dO

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    12. Anthony Nolan

      logged in via email @hotmail.com

      In reply to Charles Pragnell

      Charles Pragnall, I agree with everything you say about the nature of the psychopath. However, you claim that most psychopaths are male to which I suggest that we don't know how many female psychopaths because we don't know how to identify them behaviourally.prior to, hopefully, MRI testing them.

      "However, new research suggests that some of the difference between men and women may not be in the existence of deceitful, manipulative, and exploitive personality traits but in the expression of them…

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    13. Sandra Kwa

      Grad Cert Ethics and Legal Studies, CSU

      In reply to Dianna Arthur

      Hi Dianna, there's no doubt some females are capable of being complete bitches, but I'm just saying statistically they don't go blasting the crap out a whole bunch of people they don't even know, just to make some point. The article I quoted before has some scary figures, like in the US males aged 14 to 25 make up 7% of the population but are responsible for 45% of the violent crimes. And there does seem to be a lack of study about the gender issue and a certain discomfort with discussing it, clinically…

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    14. Sandra Kwa

      Grad Cert Ethics and Legal Studies, CSU

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Hi Peter, I'm vaguely familiar with the book of Leviticus as a good apostate, but admit to feeling a bit out of my depth on your references to Leviticans, and something about Woolly Buddhas you mentioned elsewhere. If it's important to reset the path of my wayward studies in law and ethical niceties, could you kindly point me to some further enlightenment? (Although I fear lest it gets me started on religion - Leviticus the book sends chills down my spine.)

      Oh, and by the way, it's "mete out rough justice". Sorry.

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    15. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Sandra Kwa

      Sorry !!! Good - repentance is a plus. But I am reaching for a fist-full of sedimentary justice Ms Kwa .... ethics and pedantry. Excellent! I feel strangely meted.

      Yes Leviticus sorts the wheat from the goats, It sets out a few of the basic ground rules for killing your neighbours, It's all OK - God said it.

      But somewhere along the line Leviticus was sort of santitised out of contention - like Stalin's imagined foes.... erased from history. The bits of God's Law that are best forgotten. That was that Old God - that Yahweh fella - meting (Thankyou Ms K) out smotes to the impious or just to test them.

      Still if one is going to don the pink sari of mob rule and start advocating vigilante sinner whacking - it helps to have a handbook and some rules. Certainly provides comfort and succour to the gals in the quilting society.

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    16. Sandra Kwa

      Grad Cert Ethics and Legal Studies, CSU

      In reply to Anthony Nolan

      Thanks for sharing those grisly gruesome details of what a woman was capable of doing to her own lover, Anthony. However, if you are going to quote that bit, it would have been of interest to also include, from your same source article:
      "Knight’s father Ken was an alcoholic who openly used violence and intimidation to rape her mother up to ten times a day. Barbara in turn often told her daughters intimate details of her sex life and how much she hated sex and men (Later, when Knight complained to…

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    17. Charles Pragnell

      Freelance Social Commentator

      In reply to lavinia kay moore

      I agree Lavinia. This relates back to my point that psychopaths are lacking in moral integrity. Your point about lack of remorse is also absolutely pertinent and one I had overlooked. It is most commonly seen in males who commit assaults on their female spouses/partners.

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    18. Charles Pragnell

      Freelance Social Commentator

      In reply to Sandra Kwa

      Sandra - don't be misled by obscure, extreme examples of female behaviours as some inadequate attempt to disprove a general rule. This is a regulat tactic of male supremacists.
      Those female values and attitudes which I stated relate to the common roles of females within the family, whereby they focus on maintaining family unity and harmony and are function-orientated.i.e. enable the family to function effectively and harmoniously. Conversely male values centre round their roles as warrior/hunter/provider…

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    19. Diana Taylor

      retired psychotherapist

      In reply to lavinia kay moore

      I stand corrected. I had assumed that Scientific American would only publish properly researched articles. Further, I was confusing research on aggression as being necessarily relevant to psychopathology. Meanwhile I do hope that the advances in neurology and the disentangling of the complexities of the 100+ neurotransmitters will enable us to identify and help the psychopaths.

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    20. Dianna Arthur
      Dianna Arthur is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Environmentalist

      In reply to Sandra Kwa

      @Sandra Kwa
      Perhaps the tendency for violence in women tends more towards the personal, whereas for men their rage can be projected towards both the personal and public.

      Of course, one reason for this is that until recently, the person sphere, the domestic home front was the only place where women with violent tendencies could exercise their power. Which is why I posited we may see more public female violence in the future. I am only making guesses. And I do agree that currently and in human…

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    21. Dianna Arthur
      Dianna Arthur is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Environmentalist

      In reply to Charles Pragnell

      I agree, my ex-husband never saw his behaviour as unwarranted, excessive or out of line. He never apologised - in fact would warn me that his behaviour would escalate if I "disobeyed" him in future. My transgressions were things like getting my hair cut "too short", arriving home "too late"; if I arrived home after a night out with friends even 5 minutes after midnight I could expect abuse. He had different rules for himself staying out all night well into the AM. I also worked full time as did he…

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    22. Dianna Arthur
      Dianna Arthur is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Environmentalist

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      OMG

      Peter, my ex would often claim "he did (whatever) for us". He could twist around the most insensitive behaviour and claim he was thinking of both of us.

      I think I'd better stop reading and thinking about this - not getting me anywhere I should be right now.

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    23. Dianna Arthur
      Dianna Arthur is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Environmentalist

      In reply to Sandra Kwa

      @ Anthony Nolan

      I don't think going into grisly details is at all helpful.

      @ Sandra Kwa

      I agree that public notoriety may be a male trait, whereas women tend to 'keep it in the family'.

      I really don't know for sure, because we have plenty of female sport-stars, movie actors, politicians and they do not shy away from the public attention.

      Human beings - can't live with 'em, can't shoot 'em.

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    24. Anthony Nolan

      logged in via email @hotmail.com

      In reply to Dianna Arthur

      Sandra and Dianna,

      Sorry for including the details. I'm a bit immune to such things as I've been both an RN and a child protection worker. It's not mere gallows humour - it's the consequence of being a long term trauma worker.

      I do think that Kath Knight's conduct at the time of the crime goes to the fact that the psychopath is gendered ... I'd also say that her conduct was classed. Same with Brevik - white, male, educated, able to mobilise all of his economic and cultural capital in the commission…

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    25. Sandra Kwa

      Grad Cert Ethics and Legal Studies, CSU

      In reply to Dianna Arthur

      Dianna, I am glad to hear that you successfully escaped your past situation and have maintained such a balanced view in spite of personal trauma. Rising above ... just like the Norwegians. Cheers.

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    26. Robert Tony Brklje
      Robert Tony Brklje is a Friend of The Conversation.

      retired

      In reply to Sandra Kwa

      Consider it a straight forward evolutionary genetic response. Quite simply over thousands of years women lacked the physical ability to express psychopathy through breeding age. That necessity being prerequisite upon the ability to confront people in ages of direct physical violence, swords et al.
      Females of cause become dominant in narcissism, where appearance negated the need for physical ability of course for males appearance was largely insufficient where more direct physical responses were…

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    27. Dianna Arthur
      Dianna Arthur is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Environmentalist

      In reply to Anthony Nolan

      Anthony Nolan

      I have been harmed, chronically, by the behaviour of psychopaths - male and female.

      I have encountered more female psychopaths simply due to demography. At school, even though co-ed, girls mostly hung out with girls and boys with boys. In the work-place, I was employed primarily in the welfare sector which has more female than male employees.

      I have experienced more physical violence from men (only one); the first time my ex-husband knocked me to the floor I was utterly astonished…

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    28. Anthony Nolan

      logged in via email @hotmail.com

      In reply to Dianna Arthur

      Diana,

      It's an unfortunate business that people take an interest in the individual manifestation of psychopathology but usually only after too close an encounter. I appreciate your claim that men and women share more psychobiology than they have differences that set them apart. My preference is merely to take people as they are as humans. I sometimes think that the psychopath is not adequately human; I hope that it is failed parenting rather than neurobiologically determined because if that is…

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    29. Dianna Arthur
      Dianna Arthur is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Environmentalist

      In reply to Anthony Nolan

      Narcissism is a term used by many wishing to push a particular agenda. However, it applies to both men and women. I guess from a lay-person's perspective, time spent in front of the mirror appears narcissistic. I suggest you do some reading and to help I have provided the following link:

      http://www.psychologytoday.com/conditions/narcissistic-personality-disorder

      As for your comment about red flags.

      Que?

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    30. Charles Pragnell

      Freelance Social Commentator

      In reply to Dianna Arthur

      Although `Narcissism' is the widely used term, I'm not so sure of its accuracy as it implies a self-admiration. Many psychopaths don't in fact like themselves very much. I think self-obsession, singular self- interest, egotism, and self-centredness are probably more accurate. It is linked to an absence of empathy for others and any understanding of their feelings.

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    31. Dianna Arthur
      Dianna Arthur is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Environmentalist

      In reply to Charles Pragnell

      Please read link:

      "self-obsession, singular self- interest, egotism, and self-centredness" are part of what professional people deem as narcissism.

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    32. Anthony Nolan

      logged in via email @hotmail.com

      In reply to Dianna Arthur

      Dianna,

      There is a veritable sea of literature exploring how to recognise and deal with people who are somewhere on the personality disorder spectrum. In the popular literature a 'red flag' is a big warning sign, usually seen early in a relationship, that the person with whom you are involved (intimately or otherwise) is on the PD spectrum.

      Sadly, I sought refuge in such literature after one such scarifying relationship. I found French psychoanalyst Marie-France Hirigoyen's 'Stalking the Soul…

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    33. Elizabeth Bathory

      9-5 project drone.

      In reply to Charles Pragnell

      "those psychopaths who form the majority of our prison population"

      Charles, I suggest you check the veracity of your sweeping generalisations before commenting again on psychopathy. Such departures from the truth of the matter seriously detract from your argument, which, I would argue, is tenuous at best.

      "[psychopaths] can be identified (not medically diagnosed)...by MRI scans". Can you point me in the direction of the peer-reviewed research that indicates that the neuropsychological functioning of psychopaths is qualitatively different to the general population?

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    34. Elizabeth Bathory

      9-5 project drone.

      In reply to Charles Pragnell

      Charles - I thank you for directing me to a dictionary definition of ASPD. I could have found that myself. Your second link is not peer-reviewed research.

      Can you direct me to scholars OTHER than Hare who validate his findings? I prefer to read widely rather than base my opinion solely on one author's findings.

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    35. Elizabeth Bathory

      9-5 project drone.

      In reply to Elizabeth Bathory

      Further, Hare's research on structural and functional mapping in psychopaths is vague.

      His findings (though I can only view the abstracts of the articles you linked to) point to differences in grey matter volume in those who score high on his psychopathy checklist compared to controls; however, I direct your attention to the following articles that invalidate gray matter volume as a single indicator of "psychopathy":

      Sacher, J., Neumann, J., Fünfstück, T., Soliman, A., Villringer, A., & Schroeter…

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    36. Charles Pragnell

      Freelance Social Commentator

      In reply to Elizabeth Bathory

      Thank you Elizabeth for your interesting comments. I would not suggest that psychopaths be diagnosed solely on the basis of the MRI scan or Hare’s criteria, but they are a considerable improvement on methods of making such diagnoses which have been used for many decades.
      I share your healthy scepticism of the determination of and diagnostic criteria for mental illnesses and in my view your comments would apply to all other mental health labels in DSMIV. ‘Peer-Review’ is an extremely fallible method…

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    37. Yoron Hamber

      Thinking

      In reply to Elizabeth Bathory

      I agree Elisabeth, although I expect it to have with the neurology of the brain, especially those areas associated with empathy, I very much doubt that a MRI scan should be the answer. The brain has a well known 'plasticity', and also, maybe there are no simple answers to it? It could be a genetic factor distributing those genes for some percentage of the population, because it's 'useful' in certain situations, or at least has been? And then you have other types involving trauma, physical damage…

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  7. davidweek

    logged in via Twitter

    I found this idea surprising: "...criminal justice system that works on the assumption that everyone is an independent agent, and, in a liberal democratic system, this assumption protects us from excessive paternalism on the part of the state. Our system requires that each individual accused of crime be respected as an autonomous subject of the law."

    Being treated as an autonomous subject does not help either to "protect us" or ensure that we are "respected." This assumption allows us to be incarcerated…

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    1. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to davidweek

      There's this clandestine outfit in these parts called the Woolibuddha Leviticus League. They advocate - no they go further - they attempt to undertake - community justice as laid down in the Good Book. A sort of Judeo-Christian sharia. They are very active locally and often conduct in camera trials of the accused in absentia. And all under the guise of quilting.

      Over recent months the local quarries have had to employ redundant waterfront security goons to protect their pebbles. The local TAB takes bets on who will throw the first stone at the Saturday shunnings. The local glazier flies his own helicopter to jobs to meet the demand from all those folks practising their pelting in their own glass houses.

      He wore blue shoes on a Thursday!!!!! Burn him! burn him! ... Carstairs, fetch my rocks!

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    2. Sandra Kwa

      Grad Cert Ethics and Legal Studies, CSU

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Oh, just found your reference. Yes! We have one in our village - the crafty ladies who crotchet rugs and embroider lavish quilts with crucifix patterns, and reassemble as the bible study group, the leader of which then morphs into our local scripture teach, who taught my older child scripture for one term in kindy until I discovered she was freaking him out with stories of infanticide from Exodus. Why the infanticide? I asked. Reply: to show that children were not valued till Jesus came. What the .... ? But I am being a complete female bitch now, for they are actually very nice ladies who do a lot for the community and have left our quarry alone - every stone being needed to fix the decrepit dirt roads around here.

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  8. lucian weyland

    One who serves the people

    The Man AB was extremely careful, step by step he pieced together the equipment he was to use to fulfil his hideous dream. AB knew exactly what he was doing, where to get the material necessary for the mass slaughter, whether it be the guns, bullets, explosves, sea craft, uniforms etc where to place them, etc.

    These are not the actions of a crazed lunatic.
    These are the actions of an extreme racist. A man who should never see freedom and sunlight again.

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    1. A Ahmed

      Student

      In reply to lucian weyland

      @Lucian,

      i agree, AB seems to have thought through this whole process to very fine detail and over a long period of time.. It seems that many wish to just dismiss Him as "disturbed" but really.. of the reasons AB gave in court:

      - He is anti-Islamic and that His country is being invaded.
      -The media's political correctness means nothing is published about the Islamic violence and sexual assaults.
      - Failure of the "multiculturalists" to address this issue is essentially betrayal…

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    2. Sandra Kwa

      Grad Cert Ethics and Legal Studies, CSU

      In reply to A Ahmed

      A Ahmed, as far as I understand, Norway welcoming immigrants of Islamic ideology never meant that Norway as a nation was becoming "Islamified". It can remain a secular state and give all people the freedom to follow whatever faith they wish as long as they do not break the laws of Norway. Therefore rape and sexual abuse by Islamic or any other people would not be tolerated by Norwegian law, so what is the threat for Norwegian people of having Islamic people live lawfully amongst them?

      I agree…

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    3. Dianna Arthur
      Dianna Arthur is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Environmentalist

      In reply to Sandra Kwa

      Again Sandra, I agree with your comments. Disenfranchment, apartheid and other politics of division have never worked. We can isolate the dangerous individual However, we need to remember most people are decent. Having worked with a variety of nationalities over 10 years, along with low income - I can attest that only the merest minority were difficult, although I need to confess that minority kept me very busy and made up a major part of my work.

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    4. A Ahmed

      Student

      In reply to Dianna Arthur

      Ladies,

      may i say that blind acceptance of a belief does not work either. we need to learn to call a spade a spade and not just pander to a groups sensability or demands.

      People here seem to be quiet happy to convict or dismiss AB as a mad man with some sort of disorder. Yet if we read what AB actually says, we will discover that he makes some factual statements which are also echoed by people like geert wilder, who is under constant guard to protect his life from islamic followers. Why…

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    5. davidweek

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Dianna Arthur

      Hi Dianna

      I will always remember a senior policeman in Australia telling me: "90% of the people in prison should not be there. The other 10% should never be released."

      A provocative hypothesis, at the very least.

      David

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    6. Dianna Arthur
      Dianna Arthur is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Environmentalist

      In reply to A Ahmed

      @ A Ahmed

      There are many women posting here - we do not all hold the same opinion.

      Therefore please desist from addressing the female posters as a single homogeneous group - of whom some may be "ladies" - and I am not one of them (not in any traditional sense), I am a human being who happened to be born a woman.

      I suggest YOU get informed and realise that human beings are many and varied.

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    7. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to A Ahmed

      Now I wonder what your name really is?

      If you had the inside knowledge on Islam - as your name would suggest - you would not be susceptible to such sweeping and ill-founded generalities.

      You might even have evidence for your assertions - even anecdotal. But you do not. You have a you tube link.

      This is deep hate-speak happening here folks. It burns like battery acid. This is why we have anti-vilification laws in this country.

      Simple trick isn't it - this myth-making fakery of anonymous "patriotism"?

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    8. Anthony Nolan

      logged in via email @hotmail.com

      In reply to A Ahmed

      A Ahmed,

      Brevik's "logic' is only genuinely logical in so far as his assumptions and initial premises reflect actually existing reality. If they are out of touch with reality, if the initial premises are in fact quite mad, then the logic of what he says can have the appearance of logic to people who read his words. However, Brevik's words can only appear logical to people who share his world view and have in common the same set of initial premises.

      In particular you share with Brevik an outspoken anti-Islamicism. You say above:

      "I suggest that you get informed and learn about the issues.. too many people are suffering due Islam and we do noboddy any favours do not applying critical thinking here.."

      My viw of Brevik, quite a common, clinically justified view, is that he is a sociopath. That, I think, is what you and Brevik have in common. Pathology.

      Good afternoon to you, sir.

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    9. Sandra Kwa

      Grad Cert Ethics and Legal Studies, CSU

      In reply to A Ahmed

      A Ahmed, "Ladies" is a rather outmoded way of addressing women, though you may have been intending politesse, but I agree with Dianna that it is far more appropriate to reply to individual commenters by the name(s) they supply.

      I have noticed before your position that Islam is the worst of the bunch, that Mohammed was bad in a way Jesus was not, and if that is possible to measure empirically, then you may well be right. But there is good and bad in every religion - people manipulate religions…

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    10. A Ahmed

      Student

      In reply to Sandra Kwa

      @Sandra,

      thank you for understanding and in the future i will be more careful with my use of the "Ladies".

      for the record, i do have issues with Islam and that is because of the totalitarian system it is.. we only need look around the world and we find 10s of millions of people suffering because of Islam.. From my studies in this subject you only need learn the behaviour of Mohammad and all will make sense.. it is not a mystery. Yet to openly discuss this means to be threatened with death…

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    11. A Ahmed

      Student

      In reply to Anthony Nolan

      @Anthony

      you condemn Breivik as do I..

      You however are quite happy to gloss over the reasons that Breivik gives and you dismiss Him as disturbed..

      You are happy to condemn Breivik, but you happily support Islam which Justifies Slavery ( There are literally millions of slaves in africa today)

      You are happy to condemn Breivik, and you are also happy to support Islam where Imams openly issue death contracts fatwas against anyone that challenges Islam.. eg Geert Wilder and so many other examples where people have been assassinated.

      You are Happy to condemn Breivik and you are happy to accept a teaching that accepts no other belief than Islam and infact threatens non believers with death.. as is happening in Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Sudan, .... list goes on..

      go on blame Breivik for going mad and just bury your head in the sand.

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    12. A Ahmed

      Student

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      @Peter,

      the truth is sometimes ugly and the only way to find out is to take the trouble to read for yourself aand get informed.

      Here is a link that provides all the evidence you want.. Dr Ali Sina, an iranian and exMuslim offers an indepth study with all the links that you could possibly handle.. with specific Hadith and Quran quotes,,

      http://www.faithfreedom.org/the-challenge/the-challenge/

      Dr Sina offers a $50,000 usd prize for you and any Islamic Scholar you wish that can prove him wrong.. there a many debates published on His site..

      Call me ignorant if you like, but you are the person who is defending slavery, blashmey and violence with your blind support of Islam.. You may try to offend me but that is nothing compared to the violence millions are suffering due to islam

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    13. Anthony Nolan

      logged in via email @hotmail.com

      In reply to A Ahmed

      I am not in any way naive about Islam. I am informed about Islam and suggest that within Islam there are tendencies - some if which we can work with in creating an Islam fit for a modern, democratic and multicultural society. There are also tendencies that operate in the opposite direction like, obviously, the Taliban and, more broadly, wahhabism. Islam is not monolithic, it's not all of a piece, not everyone thinks the same. This means that we can co-operate with modernising tendencies capable of fitting in with democratic societies.

      Personally, I'd rather collaborate with some of my Muslim mates around that sort of project than ever with a racist, xenophobe like Brevik.

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    14. Anthony Nolan

      logged in via email @hotmail.com

      In reply to A Ahmed

      A Ahmed,

      There are many critics of Islam; one such, with an outstanding history of critical appraisal of Islam that derives from her own experience as an activist, is Nawal El Sadawi (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nawal_El_Saadawi).

      As well, there is the outstanding group the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan - RAWA (http://www.rawa.org/index.php). RAWA are excellent on the ground activists.

      However, you cite neither. I've looked at the web site of Dr Ali Sina and don't…

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    15. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to A Ahmed

      Where are you from Mr Ahmed?

      What brands of Islam have you been exposed to ... sunni, shia, sufi, salafist, wahhabi'st ?

      In this eye-ball to eyeball struggle with Islam of yours - why are you relying on a member of organisations designated as hate groups ... here:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ali_Sina_(activist)

      There are actually some much scarier Islamic "scholars" out there Mr Ahmed. And there's some deeply unhinged fundamentalist christians too ... like the "God hates the faggot…

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    16. A Ahmed

      Student

      In reply to Anthony Nolan

      @Anthony,

      As i said upfront i do not justify or support Breivik's actions, only seek to understand.

      I too rather resolve issues with my mate regardless of their beliefs.

      I also try to look at life objectively.
      re: "Taliban and, more broadly, wahhabism. Islam is not monolithic"

      Regardless of which flavour of Islam you wish to meantion they all follow Mohammad and it is one of the pillars of Islam is to be like Mohammad.. Most people do not realize what this means.. Like for example…

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    17. Anthony Nolan

      logged in via email @hotmail.com

      In reply to A Ahmed

      When I say that I'm not naive about Islam then that's what I mean so I don't need your guidance in understanding the Koran. Let me offer you some - read Salman Rushdie's 'Satanic Verses' for an insider's view of Islam.

      What you are saying appears to me to condemn all Muslims as closed to change. I strongly suspect that you are only a keystroke away from declaring Islam to be an enemy of Western culture and society to which let me say that if you want to engage in some sort of lunatic culture wars with Islam then count me out. I'm an atheist I regard all deists as essentially delusional.

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