“From this time forth
My thoughts be bloody, or be nothing worth.”
In my novella The Columbine Pilgrim, published by Counter-Currents earlier this year, I explore how a seemingly “normal” person can, after enduring a series of perceived traumas and humiliations, reach a point of terrifying psychic rupture, after which he emerges profoundly transformed, grotesquely shorn of all former vestiges of sanity, restraint, and conscience.
The character of Tony Meander, protagonist of The Columbine Pilgrim, is based loosely on real-life figures from recent years—men, and in some cases mere boys, who for one reason or another were driven to commit unspeakable acts of shocking carnage. Most of these notorious desperados have quietly disappeared from public consciousness after briefly snatching some headlines in the days immediately following their rampages.
Chances are that in a short time, few will be able to identify Jared Lee Loughner as the deranged young shooter who murdered six people, including a little girl, as well as critically injuring Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords during a town hall meeting in Tuscon last January.
And hardly anyone now remembers George Sodini, the romantically unsuccessful, fiercely embittered beta-male who opened fire on an aerobics class at an L.A. Fitness center two years ago, killing three women and wounding nine before fatally shooting himself.
There are, on the other hand, certain gruesome events that are so iconic, so visually arresting, so psychologically resonant, that they are still breathlessly discussed, debated, and commemorated many years after the bloodstains have been washed away and the victims lain in the earth.
While Dylan Kleblold and Eric Harris are hardly household names, everyone now associates the word “Columbine” with the massacre these two boys perpetrated against their fellow high school students on April 20, 1999.
Likewise, the name of “Virginia Tech” will long be associated with Cho Seung-Hui’s rampage, even if Cho himself is mostly known as “some crazy Asian guy.”
And now it appears that Anders Behring Breivik, the single-handed perpetrator of last week’s Oslo massacre, will join the dubious ranks of lasting infamy, for several reasons.
For one thing, on the most shallow level, the blond, handsome and muscular Breivik has undeniable sex appeal, albeit of a slightly “gay” male-model-ish variety. Image isn’t everything, but it still means a lot in a visually-oriented culture, and though the pictures of the dapper man with the icy stare posing in body armor and Masonic vestments seem downright silly to many of us, myself included, they do have a powerful appeal to some.
For another, Breivik’s rampage is charged with a ripe, patently cinematic scent of dark drama and epic grandeur. His choice of target, namely the youth brigade of Norway’s ruling Labor party, as well as the location—an island, no less—appeal to one’s lurid imagination, whether one likes it or not. The thought of a tall, blond, menacing figure in battle gear picking off scores of helpless teenagers and young adults who have nowhere to flee (they’re stuck on an island, after all), fills us with a sense of shuddering horror and grim pathos. It’s like some demented slasher flick; even contemplating the terrible scene is quite riveting on a primal, visceral level.
But of course, a major reason why Breivik’s depredations will endure in the public mindset is that the Left will keep bringing him up, in an effort to paint the typical white, right-wing immigration-restrictionist man-on-the-street as a mass murdering terrorist in training. Since leftist views predominate in the media, attention will be given to Breivik’s crimes as a useful means of smearing opponents of multiculturalism. Specious guilt-by-association insinuations will be continuously floated, in insufferable tones bursting with smarm and sanctimony.
Still, the theatrical, even somewhat operatic aesthetic appeal of his brutal and remorseless killing spree is the very thing that gives it the power to be exploited in the first place. Leftists will use it to brand their enemies as hate-criminals, or at least thought-criminals (“If they aren’t actually massacring their enemies, they must be fantasizing about doing so”), but it is the very glamor, if you will, of a good-looking blond beefcake in frogman gear blowing away helpless kids on an island that makes this tragic event so alluring and readymade a piece of alarmist anti-Right propaganda.
* * *
Like the above-mentioned gallery of rogues before him (Loughner, Sodini, Cho, Harris, Klebold, et al.), Breivik composed a manifesto before he set forth on his bloody self-appointed mission.
The manifesto is a requisite staple of the nihilistic desperado’s final bustle of activity prior to his supreme act of vengeance, a sort of last will and testament, a fragment to shore against the ruinous havoc he intends to wreak. The manifesto can take many forms—sometimes written, sometimes audio recorded, sometimes video recorded; in some cases, its content unfolds in the form of a diary, kept over the course of several weeks or months. At other times it comes across more of a sustained rant, composed in one seating. Sometimes, the manifesto is deeply personal, bristling with emotion; at other times, it merely comes across as a systematic compendium of seemingly impersonal grievances. (For Islamic suicide bombers, it is usually a rote statement, read off of a page, ending with a half-hearted salute and a mumbled slogan like “Long Live the Intifada!” or some such.)
The psychological motivation for the manifesto-composition is twofold. The desperado wants to provide the world with an explanation for why he felt moved to take such radical action. He also wants to psyche himself up, and remind himself that he’s crossed a kind of Rubicon; he’s come this far, he’s almost at the end, and he can’t retreat now.
Breivik apparently spent three years completing his 1,500 page opus, which he titled 2083: A European Declaration of Independence. The first half of this work is a heavily researched and footnoted exposé of the long, sinister march of cultural Marxism, multiculturalism, and other trendy-Left ideologies into the institutions of the West, an explanation of how these modes of thought came to ascension among the European elite, and a plan for combating them forcibly over the next century.
The second half of 2083 is an odd, rambling hodgepodge of disparate elements. In part, it reads as a kind of how-to guidebook, dispensing advice on such varied issues as purchasing and using weaponry and battle gear, and bomb-making material, as well as a list of recommended targets for fellow initiates into his (perhaps entirely fictitious) order of “Justiciar Knights.”
Mixed in among interminable pages of technically-oriented prose are a few eye-opening sentiments. For example, Breivik recommends torching mosques and indiscriminately bombing large Islamic gatherings, since doing so “will result in massive Muslim rioting across the European continent, which will be a substantial destabilizing factor for many EUSSR regimes.” (EUSSR is Breivik’s term for the European Union, which he sees as another incarnation of the Soviet regime in Russia.)
Breivik also counsels the commission of “deadly and strategic attacks” against unarmed groups of Muslim women, as he thinks that this will have the benefit of enraging and radicalizing the men, “inciting them to choose the path of Jihad prematurely” and thus assuring a quicker victory for indigenous Europeans. He regrets the necessity of taking so cold-blooded an approach, but reconciles it with his notion of justice by that age-old formula for justifying atrocities: to make an omelet, you have to crack some eggs.
In fact, “cruel” seems to be a favorite word of Breivik’s; cruelty is a notion he plainly revels in, despite his protests to the contrary, as can be attested in the following statements:
There are situations in which cruelty is necessary, and refusing to apply necessary cruelty is a betrayal of the people whom you wish to protect. . . . Once you decide to strike, it is better to kill too many than not enough, or you risk reducing the desired ideological impact of the strike. . . . In many ways, morality has lost its meaning in our struggle. The question of good and evil is reduced to one simple choice: Survive or perish. Some innocent will die our operations. . . . Get used to the idea.
Much of the address of the second half of the book is directed towards the likely recruit, the man interested in joining Breivik’s ruthless and avowedly cruel crusade to repel the Islamic invaders and knock the perfidious “EUSSR” tyrants off their thrones, by any means necessary. One recommendation he makes is to exploit the gullible whenever possible—to use what the Communists used to call “useful idiots” in order to further the cause. He discusses how to go about getting funding from “financially privileged sympathizers,” people of means who look unfavorably upon Islamic infiltration, but may personally deplore violence—to pose as a charity organization, after the manner of Hamas or Hezbollah, for “victims of Jihad,” when the real purpose is to wage armed, violent terror against Muslim immigrants and their treasonous, duplicitous multicult masters.
2083 is a largely dull and tedious text, but it does contain a few amusing passages. In one section, Breivik boasts about how he successfully bilked various banks and credit card companies into loaning him all the money he needed for his operation, despite the fact that he “spent the last three years writing a book with no steady income whatsoever.” (Apparently Breivik worked a desk job for a few years before dropping out of the nine-to-five routine and dedicating himself to full-time pursuit of his Knightly activities.) As for future protégés who want to follow in his illustrious footsteps, Breivik has a few clever suggestions about how they, too, can get their families and friends to leave them alone so they can prepare for their own missions.
One “long-term cover” he recommends is to “say that you’re addicted to World of Warcraft (a popular computer game) . . . Inform them that you will be busy doing that in the future. . . . Tell them that you are ashamed and you don’t want to talk any more about it.” Another is to “say you are gay and are in the process of discovering your new self.” Breivik admits that these strategies of deception are “cynical and manipulative . . . but extremely effective.” Once again, however, the end justifies the means: “However, the severity of our operation often requires us to be cynical, manipulative, and pragmatical (sic).”
* * *
Some of these suggestions seem a little loopy, but then we can’t really argue with Breivik’s results: whatever we may think of what he did, he certainly managed to carry his plan through to fruition. Before Friday, July 22, Anders Behring Breivik appeared to be an ordinary young man in his early thirties, albeit one who used anabolic steroids heavily, worked out obsessively, and had no day job. His friends and acquaintances thought him a “moderate right-winger.” He even partied quite a bit, as he readily admits—one gathers he had his share of success with the ladies. Yet for the last three years, he patiently bided his time, put on a “normal” front for the world, all the while hiding the violent, ruthless, homicidal side of himself from view.
Thus, when he unleashed the beast, as it were, last Friday, everyone who thought they knew him was utterly shocked. How did he manage such complete and total subterfuge for such a lengthy period of time?
All the desperados I have researched had a similar period in their lives, a time when their wills locked onto the notion of committing a purposeful mass murder, yet during which all of these men were able to live a double-minded existence, never letting anyone know the horrific endgame they were plotting. Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris, the Columbine duo, apparently first conceived their plan to massacre their classmates a good fifteen months before executing the operation; yet, in that time, they gave no indication or intimation of their murderous intentions to anyone. For Breivik, the span of time between preparation and completion was more than twice as long as that—nearly three years, if we are to take his word for it. How was it possible to present one face to the world, a happy-go-lucky, devil-may-care kind of mask, while secretly, deliberately nursing a beast within, preparing it for the kill?
Breivik’s answer is that he willed himself into a kind of curious self-hypnosis. In his mind, his orgy of bloodletting had already happened, long before it actually happened; he’d already killed, and had already died. That is to say, he wasn’t truly alive and walking the earth in the months and years leading up to the Oslo massacre; during all that time, he saw himself as a ghost. He fatalistically embraced what he came to see as his destiny.
“The core strength of a Justiciar Knight,” he wrote, “is that we accept the fact that we’re already dead. . . . The sooner you accept that, the sooner you will be able to function as a soldier is supposed to function: without mercy, without hesitation, without compassion, and without remorse.”
On this point, it is hard to argue with Breivik; in fact, adopting this mindset seems a touch of demonic genius. If a person comes to see his life in such terms, he can truly access the realm within himself where all things are possible. One essentially makes oneself a malleable puppet, to be controlled however one sees fit. One doesn’t hesitate, or torment oneself over possible alternatives if one has convinced himself that no such alternatives truly exist, that what will happen has in fact already happened, that he is in fact already dead.
* * *
I have argued elsewhere that the drive to politicize Breivik’s rampage, or to view it through a partisan lens, is a very basic affront to human decency. This “neocon Norwegian Rambo” committed an abominable act, and to regard him a hero since he was on “our” side puts on the same level as the type of idiot leftist who idolizes a thug like Che Guevara or justifies the crimes and abuses of smelly little tinpot tyrants like Robert Mugabe and Hugo Chavez. Yet one wonders how much good could be accomplished in the world if even a handful of decent men could, without sacrificing their consciences or their exquisite concern with morality, nevertheless dedicate themselves with such fierce and searing abandon—with the calm resolve of one “already dead”—to a good and right cause.
It is in this sense—and in absolutely no other—that we should strive to emulate the example set by Anders Behring Breivik, this man who became a monster, this layabout Aryan pretty boy who transformed himself into a fearsome and rapacious blond beast.