Norwegian Mass Murderer Anders Breivik Declared Insane

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Andres Breivik, the 32-year-old Norwegian man who killed 77 people and injured 151 others in July, was declared insane by state psychiatrists in Oslo on Tuesday. After planting a car bomb near government buildings in Oslo that killed eight people on July 22, Breivik drove to a political youth camp on Utoeya island and gunned down 69 people, many of whom were teens. In an online manifesto that was found later, Breivik claimed to be defending Europe from an Islamic invasion enabled by Norway's Labour Party and the European Union. Alexander Levi, a lawyer in Oslo, discusses the likelihood of Breivik facing a prison sentence after being declared insane.

For a look at how insanity plays out in the American court system, The Takeaway speaks to Michael Gazzaniga, professor of psychology at the University of California, Santa Barbara writes in his new book, "Who's in Charge? Free Will and the Science of the Brain." Gazzaniga is the founding director of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation's Law and Neuroscience Project. He argues that even if brain science highlights the limitations of free will, it's still important to still hold one another to certain standards of personal responsibility.


Alexander Levi

Comments [4]

Angel from Miami, FL

The question is: "Is Andres Breivik a Tim McVeigh or a Jared Lee Loughner?" Breivik chose a unsecured remote location, armed himself appropriately, selected targets not connected to him, and believed his actions would prove some point. It was the opposite of Loughner's attempt to kill Gabrielle Giffords. Or even Hinkley's attempt to kill Reagan.

You can say they're all Mad Hatters - Osama bin Laden at the top of that list. But when they're attempting to start something bigger, not just end some personal obsession, they've just graduated to the title of Terrorist. Breivik definitely graduated.

Nov. 30 2011 02:54 PM
Leslie from Independence, MO

Clearly the general public doesn't understand or have enough experience with the mentally ill. Which is what contributed the ability for this man to perpetrate this act.
People who are mentally ill are capable of making plans and following through on those plans, being mentally ill doesn't make you stupid. It means that your brain doesn't function in a way that allows you to understand and obey common social rules. Which is what happened when this man killed all of those children. He wasn't able to process information in the same way that most others do that would have helped him to realize the terrible error of his actions.

You don't have to create a new class of illnesses for these actions, he is likely suffering from schizoaffective disorder. Getting angry and making uninformed judgements about situations like this will only serve to increase their propensity.

Nov. 30 2011 10:43 AM
Brian French

Nice going Norway, instead of criminalizing his fringe beliefs you created a category of disease for them. It seems rather cruel to punish someone for their disease, now doesn't it? Best to let him out with a pension. Oh and don't discriminate against this poor diseased man, you may be up on charges of violating his civil rights!

I loved hearing the court trying to be PC as they described his 'offenses'...she stumbled over her words as she tried to be polite to the newly diagnosed victim.

Seriously, his acts were calculated and planned based on a fringe (not insane) political ideology. His actions were murderously criminal and not the acts of a person suffering a psychotic break.

Nov. 29 2011 12:57 PM
Angel from Miami, FL

A guy with a handgun obsessed with particular person is "insane". A guy with an arsenal and a manifesto is a terrorist. Seriously, Norway, get your act straight. The former goes to an asylum, the latter goes to a penitentiary. And both for the rest of their lives.

Nov. 29 2011 11:32 AM

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