Good piece by Mark Lewis in Time.
Yes, in terms of the individual (multiple) crime, the victims and Norway’s liberal justice system the sentencing is right and safe. If he doesn’t “reform” his view of events, or get terminated by an insider, he’s there for life. The curtailment of his liberties – imprisoned with limited outside communication – is about protecting society from him and his worldview until such time as he is rehabilitated (if ever), not about punishment.
We could argue the pros and cons of punishment, and whether it’s a good thing or not that a liberal justice system shuns it, but one reason to have a proportionate penal element is “pour encourager les autres”. A message to the world, beyond Utoya, beyond Norway, beyond 2011/12.
The real issue here goes beyond the specific case to future cases of “nutters” rationally justifying mass killings or other “evil” in some personally perceived cause or other, even before any actual action. Insanity is a grey scale, a spectrum disorder. Frankly, I don’t accept the importance of any distinction between evil and less than sound mind. Surely most capital crimes are neither, even pre-meditated (murder) killings, are culpable but circumstantial lapses of good order. Evil and/or insane are surely the minority case. Rational justification of evil is madness. Rational justification of human killing by an individual is evil.
(Case in point – uneducated mouthy lout in a bar last night “Can’t see what the fuss was about – they were all liberal lefties. Should’a been acquitted.” and “Can’t understand why they were calling him a Nazi, he didn’t kill any Jews.” Breivik needed the smirk wiping off his face. Strong messages are needed to educate.)
[Post Note – in terms of my own agenda on what makes for a sound mind, when it comes to rational morality, if rehabilitation includes the offer of therapeutic help with his mental disorders – coming to terms with the rational madness of his motivation and justification – then the achieved outcome matches my preferred outcome. The only downside is that whilst not being formally “insane”, the fact that his not being completely sane really does benefit from psychotherapy, becomes effectively invisible.]