Well, at least we now know why an estimated 68 individuals, mostly young people, were killed in Oslo. It was a marketing scheme.
That, at least, is the story the cowardly psychopath gave for his decision to blow up a building and then go on a sadistic hunt for youth campers on an island protected by a single off-duty cop. His court-appointed lawyer has, of course, added that his client is also crazy. If so, then he’s a crazy mass murderer with a savvy business plan.
A Trib article (reprinted from AP on 7/25) related that the shooter–who will go unnamed in this column–was primarily motivated by his desire to market his extremist views to a large audience. Because his efforts in stock trading didn’t produce the war chest he needed for this task, he decided instead to, “cut my losses and proceed to Plan B.” Plan B was the horrific atrocities committed against Oslo and its citizens on July 21.
All of this, or so the cowardly killer would have us believe, was to shine the media’s spotlight on what will likely go down in history as the usual hate-riddled excrement. That excuse is a thin veneer that fails to mask his true purpose–to wallow in a cesspool of violence. If his statements were true, why go to the trouble of shooting close to 200 people? Why not stop at, say 50? The answer is that he didn’t want to.
Whatever his reason for the carnage, the killer has played the media like a blood-soaked violin. His face, his musings, his stylized photos and his hate-filled rhetoric are now splashed across news media in print, online and on television.
Not so many years ago, when drive-by shootings, drug deals and gang violence were new and on the rise, the News Tribune had a commendable policy against publishing the names of the criminal street gangs involved in each story. The reason for this was simple–deny the gang an opportunity to profit by the notoriety.
National media could do much to prevent the next tragic event by denying a violent extremist the spotlight he or she craves.
Oslo’s shooter is one of a growing group of extremists referred to as lone-wolf terrorists in intelligence circles. They are similiar in their desire for media attention and publicity, a need that far exceeds that of street gang members. And as we have seen in Oklahoma City, Madrid, New York, and many other locations now to include Oslo, these fringe characters can be far more lethal than gang members.
It is too late to redirect the spotlight that currently shines on the Oslo psychopath. By choosing to spend any amount of time looking at the alleged killer’s glamour shots, reading quotes from his hate-filled rant or providing him a free media blitz that would cost a legitimate business millions of dollars, we are complicit in his crimes.
It would seem that we are all simply pawns in the masterful game of a psychotic killer, all for the sake of an uptick in the profits of mass media. A cynic might suggest that the next shooter is out there, taking a keen interest in this particular business plan and imagining his name and face in the spotlight.
And the cynic would be right.