Men kill, men steal, men torture, men concoct evil plots — men run concentration camps — and, at the same time, seem perfectly “normal,” “ordinary.” They are logical, lucid, functional, and, in the case of certain Nazis, also love music, their families, their pets. Men — women too, but in different ways — who commit cruel and evil deeds are nevertheless members of the human race. Animals do not behave this way.
Breivik got up every day, washed, ate, got dressed, and “went to work.” For years, he worked as an equity trader, as the director of a software company, and as a farmer. His real “work” consisted of planning this massacre. He saved money. He read books and articles. He wrote a (partly plagiarized) manifesto that is rather well written.
Unlike the Unabomber, Breivik was not a loner. He got out. He socialized. True, he still lived at home with his mother…
Breivik knew and probably still knows right from wrong. He knew that he was making a political statement, a horrendously bloody political statement, one that in his view was meant to save Norway from destruction at the hands of barbarian invaders — an act that was perhaps meant to teach appeasement-minded Norwegian leaders that violence now awaits them on either side.
As a former forensic psychologist and as someone who has been consulted by lawyers over the years many times, in my expert opinion (one rendered from afar), Breivik is more than sane enough to stand trial. He is also a violent, evil, sociopathic man. Men who rape their children, men who beat their wives, rapists in general, tend to pass most mental health tests and are spookily indistinguishable from the rest of the population.
Breivik does not hear voices, he has not repeatedly attempted suicide, he is not unwashed, unshaven; he probably eats. Just today, his lawyer said that Breivik takes drugs to “stay strong, efficient, and awake.” If these drugs include amphetamines and steroids, they could certainly put him at a dangerous remove from caring about the consequences of his actions.
However, as a writer, an intellectual, a human rights activist, a feminist, as a human being — and as one of the many anti-jihadist writers whose work Breivik cites, I cannot fathom how someone can spend a single second, no less 90 minutes, calmly and coolly shooting unarmed teenagers down or blowing government officials and innocent civilians sky high. And this is precisely what Breivik did.