Dust Settles on #Breivik

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.]

Mad or Bad … or ?

Mark Lewis tweets the accepted refrain – accepted in the sense that the existing legal situation appears to demand this choice. But no reason the judiciary shouldn’t do the right thing ?

Mad or bad:
#breivik will be sentenced tomorrow.
He wants prison.
Prosecution wants compulsory mental healthcare

Right thing is – he’s guilty (culpable, responsible, rational, aware) and insane (morality based on narrow rationality alone). He gets (more we get him, it’s not about him) imprisoned for the protection of society (life or until deemed not dangerous) – he gets offered therapy for his mental health. If he doesn’t see his problem he declines the offer, when he does, he gets the therapy. No risk to society, he’s in prison.

If choice is enforced – then “mad” is the best option – so long as the the mental institution is actually as secure as a prison, and the sentence is still “life or until not dangerous” – with some good checks and balances on any non-dangerous decision. Once deprived of his freedoms (*), don’t see why the “health care” should be enforced – offered yes, enforced no.

(*) This is the real question – what human “rights” does this kind of criminal have ? Very little external communication so long as he remains “dangerous” clearly. Being declared insane – or with his sanity suffering from a specific disorder or two – against his wishes, is part of the rights-deprivation punishment – depriving him of the right to be considered sane.

[I’m repeating myself.]

[Post Note : As claimed earlier, Breivik’s defence  confirm today that he will appeal if found insane, but not if found plain “guilty”. A fact which confirms – ie no surprise – that insane is the greater punishment for him, depriving him of one important satisfaction. Be interesting to see if the judges rationalise that guilty is the better verdict simply to avoid the ongoing limelight of an appeal – but I hope not. Provided for the victims the less than sound mind verdict doesn’t relieve him of any culpability, then the world needs the insane verdict – insanely culpable, culpably insane.

Mad, bad and dangerous enough to be in prison.
Mad, bad and dangerous enough to be guilty.
Mad, bad and dangerous enough to be of less than sound mind.
Mad, bad and dangerous enough to be offered therapy.]

[Post Note 24th – Verdict – Guilty / Prison and of Sound Mind. Typically Norwegian bureaucratic sentencing, with no “judgement” by the judges, just a list of penal code sections and subsections applicable.

Boy does the world need a redefinition of “sound mind”.]

He’ll Need Solitary

Honour among thieves – and you don’t steal innocent young lives. Bring me the head of Anders Breivik – the subject is London gangster Danny Wollard (who?). Technically insane or not, Breivik is guilty / responsible, and he’ll need solitary confinement if he expects, or we expect him, to live on the inside. Hat tip to Trygve Sorvaag. (Topical because the sentencing is tomorrow 24th August).

Latest #Breivik Debates

Peter Beaumont plus comments at Guardian “Comment is Free”.

[Post Note : At last this pm the 2nd psyche team now confirming their diagnosis does include serious mental disorder(s) but not psychotically “insane”. The common sense “criminally guilty AND nuts” outcome now looking more likely.]

[And Lars Bevanger’s round-up from the end of the day.]

Accountable Psychopath #Breivik @lbevanger

Whole day of psych witnesses (authors of the first “insane” report) describing their investigation, report and conclusions. Will be cross-questioned tomorrow about current / changed views.

As well as those two witnesses, Lars Bevanger also has quotes from other psych experts in the court.

“His speech is logical and coherent; He has shown no sign of cognitive lapses. He has created an identity in order to convince other right-wing extremists and fascists, and this does not fit in with his natural expression and with who he really is – but not in a psychotic way.”

Almost certainly true. Mustn’t confuse logical coherence with a sound mind, and being psychotic is not the only possibility for mental illness. (I won’t repeat my “hyper-rational” arguments here.)

“He is as I see it a person with a personality disorder, in more common terms a psychopath. He is not psychotic, not at all. He’s accountable, that’s for sure.”

That’s for sure, roger that. Again, he’s accountable for his guilt, and sure he has mental disorder(s). I can no longer see why this is a difficult sentencing decision. If the “psychotic” decision is solely about whether he is / was so deranged as to be unaccountable then it was a non-starter, whatever the technicalities of psychotic vs psychopath – he is so clearly accountable AND mentally ill. Here’s hoping the various psych experts don’t get dug into face-saving professional positions and snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

#Breivik Game

Mentioned this earlier, and see that today one of the psych witnesses suggesting #Breivik’s behaviour is a dynamic game of fit between his actual / apparent objectives and perceived / expected / actual responses of the authorities.

Question is though;
How may levels of double bluff?
Odd or even?

#Breivik – Rationality of Belief

I see the #Breivik psycho-analysis debate brings in religion as cases of bizarre belief. #Breivik is sick (end of) but the real agenda is a widely unrecognised sickness – as in widely prevalent and largely unrecognised.

Go on Norway, you could score a world class gold here.
It’s about what makes “rational” bases of belief “unreasonable”.

Asperger’s #Breivik

Hmm, trial by Powerpoint. Not sure the clinical descriptions (with my limited Norwegian) stack up as conclusive, but Apserger’s Syndrome, as one of three possible diagnoses, is getting close to the mark. Total rationality is autism, as I’ve already suggested several times, and Asperger’s is one form of that.

Ill but not psychotic (Reuters in English). Sounds about right, doesn’t seem psychotic or paranoid schizophrenic – just hyper-rational (autistic / Asperger’s) without normal human emotion. Sick. Half a human – the dangerous half.

Forget the expert, stick to the facts about #Breivik – on his own admission, by his own design – totally rational, selective empathy – not sane – sick.

And, on balance, this is about right too. My initial reaction was they should not invest in special prison quarters for #Breivik, but as I also said earlier, good that the conclusion is that his insanity / sickness is irrelevant to his sentence. Whatever the questionable aspect of the verdict he will be incarcerated – if he wants treatment for his illness he can have it, if not his brain can fester.

[Post Note 12 June – Yes, “not psychotic“, but that’s not the same as being sane. Mental illness is more complex.]