Teenagers killed in Oslo by Christian Fundamentalist Anders Behring Breivik – What now? – 25 Jul 11

News

On Friday, news reached the whole world about a horrible event in Norway’s capital Oslo. A bomb in the middle of the town and a shooting on an island afterwards killed more than 90 people. This number is currently at 93 but still rising as many people remain missing, who may be dead and others lay injured in hospitals, still at the risk of their lives.

These news shocked the world. We often hear of terrorist attacks in countries like Pakistan, Afghanistan, the Iraq or Iran. This bombing and shooting took place in Norway though! This Scandinavian country is a generally peaceful country and has not seen this kind of violence since World War II! Of course people were shocked and the first suspicion on everybody’s mind was that it was a terrorist group, such as the Taliban, some fundamentalist Muslims who are fighting their Jihad. People got nearly used to this explanation whenever something tragic like this happens.

When the truth made news around the world, it shocked everyone even more: it had been a local man! One man, planting a bomb and then shooting more than 80 people, most of them between 16 and 22 years old! His name is Anders Behring Breivik. His family is in shock, too, as we all are. He started shooting in a political gathering, in the youth camp of a party and when the teenagers and young adults ran away, he chased them, shooting them down. The only word that comes into my mind in answer is just: sick.

The reason however is again similar to the terrorist attacks we have experienced in the past. With one difference: now we have a Christian fundamentalist with anti-Islamic sentiments. Again, religion is the reason, mixed with politics. He was arrested and his statement is that his actions were cruel but necessary. He believes there needs to be a revolution and if he had not started this massacre, nobody would ever have known about his ideas. He wrote a 1500 page manifesto about his ideas, political and religious. On his Twitter page one could find only one message: "One person with a belief is equal to the force of 100,000 who have only interests".

Anders Behring Breivik does not feel guilty. Neither do Islamic terrorists. There is not really any difference. Christianity, a religion that emphasizes altruism and charity towards others also has sick followers, just as every other religion. He was against immigrants and foreigners in his country, a right-wing extremist, nationalist, fundamentalist. These ideas in his mind justify killing innocent children.

We need to see that these ideas and this hate can grow in any society and wherever there are people who are not tolerant and who support this feeling of hate and violence towards others. There are people in every country and in every culture who have such ideas, who are extremists and fundamentalists. This man wrote that he spent a whole year of his life intensively playing war games, violent video games. He had a complete plan of action, posting pictures like the one above online beforehand so that the media could easily find them and enough information about him. He has learned the violence through such games and must have had enough input of hate against others to do this. He killed so many young people, only because they belonged to a party that supports immigration and living together with people of other nations and belief.

Today he will speak in court about his reasons for this attack. He has told the world before, though, that he does not feel guilty. What will happen now? How will the society react? This event should make government, media and the public aware that there are extremists and such ideas everywhere and everybody should be responsible for discouraging any similar views in order to avoid similar events in future.

My heart goes out to the families and friends of the victims, to those who have been injured and hurt and to the whole Norwegian nation. The children whom he killed may have had many dreams for their life which lay in front of them. He destroyed them violently and with full awareness. And why? For religion and politics. Do we really still need religion, seeing the effects it has?

We have to keep on working on spreading love and making people understand that there is no reason, religious, political or personal, that justifies such violence. Let your children grow up without learning violence in video games. Teach them instead to play with each other, not against each other. Show them that a child of another nation and maybe with another language is just as valuable as they are themselves. Send your love towards those who suffer now because of one violent and hating man. Pray for them and also him to find peace.

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  1. Ashvini

    Hi Swami ji, I agree with all of your article. Yes it was a terrible tragedy and it shook so many people. It was really tragic and horrible.
    However, I have my opinions against Violent video games. I do not think violent video games ever cause any violence in people. Infact there was a huge debate sometimes back about banning violent video games in USA. Puritanicals suggested that violent games bring out the evil in people. Howe about attacking the argument in such a way? People with violent tendencies take inspiration from violent games and not vice versa. As per your article, he was doing a lot many other things than playing video games. I am fan of video games of all kinds including these violent games that are extremely entertaining. But they have not changed my core. Infact if my core was inclined to violence, I would have seen video games in a different light. Video games are a great source of release of inner feelings and improve hand eye coordination but no where it is proven that they make anyone violent.
    Infact I am amazed at the AI ( artificial intelligence ) of such games and love to play them.
    I think it is a terrible tragedy and happened because of personality and other issues.
    Thanks and best regards

  2. Swami Balendu

    Dear Ashvini,Thank you for your comment. I also want to say and pray that video games may not be the reason for this tragedy.
    In my opinion however, seeing violence and acting violently – even if only on a screen – is not good at all and increases aggression and violence in people. This is especially true for young children and teenagers whose minds are still in a state of development. They may not have the experience or intelligence of you and other adults to make the difference between a screen world and the real life. They often absorb whatever they see and I see the bad effects in teenagers here who live in this world of illusion most of their time.
    In my opinion it is never good and I can see nothing entertaining in shooting people, killing, murdering and having fun in that. I have written about this before also have will always condemn this. There could be other creations of games without violence, too. They can be fun, improve your coordination and can even teach children interesting facts. But violence has no place in that.
    Much love

  3. Ashvini

    Swami Ji,
    As a human we are appalled by violence and if we are not something is seriously wrong with us. The purpose of video games is not promote violence . I was playing violent games from childhood( infact a simple aircraft flying in two dimension and firing is also violent). But it never caused to me have crazy behaviour.
    It is the vice versa. A person with sick mind will love video games that are violent because it gives him extra fun. I am sorry to disagree but personality plays a major role here. If you have a knife , you can really use it to kill people or cut onion. Knife has no bearing on it. We can’t say knife forced him to commit a crime.
    I think, saying that we cannot have fun while being a little violent on the virtual world is a bit biased. I like to have fun my way and if I am not harming anyone why is it not good? These are not real people, these are virtual programs and no one gets hurt.
    I don;t think that it creates violence and create impression on kids. There have been many such cases where even rock bands have been put on notice because some youngster finds the inspiration on their songs. Are the songs murderous ? No. Are they causing violence ? No. It is the person who already has such thoughts finding meanings and make his own. Tomorrow if some person reads a book and murders somebody, you would not ban the book.
    I think censorship of any kind is bad and we should be more careful advocating it .

  4. Swami Balendu

    Dear Ashvini,I agree with some of your arguments here but not completely. But it is okay to disagree also on opinions. That’s how we all are unique. Thank you for your Love and friendship.

  5. Helena Bliko

    Dear Swami Ji. Thanks for supporting Norwegians by writing your blog. It is really very sad days here. The most difficult to find out HOW he killed all these young people. We were in Riga with Violeta when this happened. Some of her friends were on this Island and she told me how cruel he was and how he killed them. It is impossible to imagine…

  6. Ursula Nujici

    Not at all know what to say only it is so sick!!!! When I heard about how he has hunted the Children and Younger on the island and has executed them… it has turned my stomach and left me shaken… I could not believe what i was seeing and hearing!!! My prayer for the victims and their families and that such will never happen again!!!!!!!!!

  7. Swami Balendu

    Dear Helena, Imagining of this horrible and violent event with children makes me cry. Thinking is he also a human like us with 2 hands and legs who did this? Then my heart says strongly NO he can not be human whatever else….

  8. Swami Balendu

    Dear Ursula, it seems he played violent video games of shooting, chasing and killing. The difference is that it was not on the screen but was real life.

  9. Helena Bliko

    Games came to our life just few years ago but he is 32. It is not games made him to kill people… but nobody cannot say what he has in his mind and what really happened to him when he was child… or maybe he is really very sick…

  10. Rasmus Bertelsen

    Computer games didn’t make him into a psychopath, but at least one of them have probably helped him train for the massacre. Just as his gun club and Wikipedia probably did. Before computer games, television and movies were blamed for violence. Before that it was books. Personal view: computer games might aid a few criminals, but probably helps many more with a peaceful outlet for violent tendencies.

  11. Helena Bliko

    In Norwegian newspaper written that he also could take some type of drugs to become very violent and aggressive..

  12. Cher Donovan Duncombe

    I believe this man is complexly disturbed.

  13. Aswani Srivastava

    Swami ji, I cannot even dream of anyone doing this to his/her fellow countrymen. This guy is the biggest terrorist on this earth much bigger than those from alqaeda or Taliban. His ideologies cannot justify his madness, and this shameless guy says that it was necessary. How on earth could he ever say such thing? He must be hanged in public…absolutely, nothing like keeping him alive in jail. He deserves no pity…need to get rid of such people at any cost to keep peace and harmony on earth…!Killing innocent people for most foolish reasons…I believe is the biggest crime on this earth. People like Anders are a grave threat to this mankind…need to finish them all at any cost but again, it is a problem of mindset.

  14. Rasmus Bertelsen

    I am very impressed with how the survivors and other Norwegians close to the victims have handled this. Instead of laying blame and asking for revenge or retaliation they talk about love, democracy and openness. I found this very touching: http://gunkies.org/blog/?p​=91 – the quote at the top and the paragraph at the bottom is far beyond anything I would expect from someone going through something so horrible.

  15. SS

    The brain does not differ between real actions and simulations when it comes to the physiological effect it creates.. i think this is a very interesting point. I think we should ban such video games, i find them horrifying and i have no idea why we allow media to encourage the minds of young people to engage in these kind of harmful activities.Any parent who genuinely cares for their children would not allow them to so this.I pray for the day all people will find the joy of being interested in charity,nature, creativity,health and nice activities. I pray for the day people will start to guard their minds from harmful influences,and we will no longer have violence in media,movies or videogames

  16. Olivier Thomas

    Yes, i think somehow censorship is necessary to protect children from negative influence. It already exist in India and not in France where I live. In France, it’s considered very “retrograde” to even think about bringing censorship back in public life. But I saw in the eyes of Indian children that they’re more healthy and full of Joy, even if Life is difficult for them. Maybe to protect our children from violence through wise censorship would be a good idea.

  17. Kyoto Roger

    I am a philosophy major and this is my personal moral theory. It is one that I think I could wish that all humans follow: All people can do whatever they love and makes them happy. As you follow your bliss, respect other humans as they do what they love and makes them happy. I call it the moral theory of life. It is very similar to “do to others as you would have them do to you.” (the golder rule) It is also in accordance with the universal law of karma.So perhaps the shooter was playing video games and doing what he loved, however he did not respect others ability to do the same. Thus he violated the moral theory of life. Karma will deal with him.
    To me, love=life. 🙂
    btw, violence just breeds more violence (karma). So as armies kill people in Iraq, Africa, Afghanistan, Mexico, etc.; the karma of violence is just more violence in the world. There is a big difference between personal thoughts and personal acts that affect oneself; and personal thoughts and physical acts that affect others ability to think and live for themselves.

  18. Garrett Mc Crea

    Its not the video games, if you ban them then ban religion and politics also which is responsible for millions of murders. An experiment was conducted on babies both male and female to see which toys they would pick. All the boys picked guns and action men yet had never seen them before…. its in our DNA, thousands of years of violence.

  19. Kyoto Roger

    Perhaps the video games can be an outlet for that violence if we realize there is a difference between a computer generated world and the real, physical world. In the game, there is no spiritual plane. Thus when you kill things, they have no spirit or it is just a game for enjoyment. In the real, physical world, living beings have a spirit. When one kills something, it has a total different meaning. It is important to recognize the differences.iow one can play a video game by the rules of that game and have fun. When one lives the “game” of life, one should try to understand the rules and try to live by those rules. A basic rule in life is do not violently kill others because you do not want to be violently killed.
    If someone blames a video game for them killing someone, then imo they are just making excuses or they do not have the basic intelligence to realize there is a difference between a video game world and the world they live their life.

  20. SS

    We should teach all children to love themselves,teachers and parents must tell them and show them many times a day that they are wonderful and loved just for who they are, not because of what they do.I even think yoga might be a way to achieve this because mastering our body and breath helps master our thoughts and emotions and creates selfawarenes and selfesteem.the person who did the terrible massacre took alot of plastic surgery playing violent videogames certainly doesnt help form the mind of someone who is allready suffering in a healthy way. I have seen from my own work how the kids who play these vidoegames ( the killing/ shooting type ) become very violent afterwords as the brain produces adrenaline and other stress hormones so it would be better if they atleast issued warnings so parents would think twice before giving their children these kindof preoccupations.and he was also bullied at school.Clearly he had problems accepting himself and these kind of feelings often get directed outwards.In truly accepting ourselves we accept others.might not be the games themselves are responsible for this event but they would surely have affected him.I would never recomend videogames as an outlet for agression, better to simply run or do some physical exersize, sitting with a video game just makes more adrenaline and entertains evil thoughts.” Watch your thoughts, they become words.
    Watch your words, they become actions.
    Watch your actions, they become habits.
    Watch your habits, they become your character.
    Watch your character, it becomes your destiny.
    I believe, and there are even scientific studies of this;-even our mind and heart effects this world through what we think and feel, so its better to never entertain evil thoughts or intentions..

  21. Armin

    I often had been faced this kind of mercyles hate, of cause not with this kind of cruelness In most cases it had been just words. But I’m sure it’s the same think I would have been abel to hear in the words of this devil. i can’t what drives this kind of people to see some humans just not as what they are: humans! it’s a sadly fact that cruelty is rising in europe and there must be a reason for. i also see this in media. Some movies and some tv shows, some of them are called sport shows are ingreasing the number of people who just don’t know any more how to act and feel as a human beeing. but this computer games are much more ingreasing the cruelity. it maybe didn’t have an efect to 99,99 % of the people but it is absoluty enough if these games infect 0,01 %, as we hade to see again, and it becomes more and more worse. we all know the efect a longer periode of war has for the loos of humanity in the society, I’m sure we have simply the same with this games. Some people must feel like beeing in a real cruel war after they play this games for years day after day in every free houre. Sadly it is hard to acept for those who like this games, but I’m sure they have to be baned. In hope for less cruelity and hate in such hard cases but also in daily life of oure all surunding. Love armin

  22. Emily

    There is not much I can add to all the words that have been said here. It was a tragic and horrible event. I agree that religion is keeping us stuck in these archaic mindsets of separation and entitlement among humans who are actually equal. But one thing that gives me hope:
    All of the beautiful minds and loving souls who have posted on this blog… It shows that there are lots of people out there who care! The world is full of people who WON’T commit violence and who DO support peace, equality, and love. I am inspired by the good people out there, and I thank you for your light and hope. God Bless and Love to All.

  23. Melissa

    This is just another example of people misunderstanding religion and religious books. all religions preach peace and love yet time and time again people kill, terrorise and hurt in the name of god and religion. that’s not right!

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