me_ofef_seraph wrote:So, it is over. I'm happy with the outcome of the trial. Declared mentally sane, and given the maximum sentence. 21 years with preventive detention, most likely meaning de facto life imprisonment. This decision reflects best on the judicial system, and makes sure we don't forget what these killings where a result of: Calculated terrorism motivated by political extremism. Clearly it is widely accepted now that his extremist views and his militant methods where what caused him to kill, not insanity. As a result it is now harder for right wing-extremists to steer the debate away from the ideological aspects of ABB's acts. Emotionally speaking I would probably enjoy it more if he was not declared sane, knowing how much he would hate to not become a political prisoner, a martyr for his cause. But I feel a prison sentence was strictly speaking the correct decision, and therefor the best one. In any case he will never be released into the public. When the time comes (after he has served his minimum sentence) to decide if he is fit for release or not, it is my generation that will control the outcome of that decision. The generation that on the 22nd of July 2011 lost friends, relatives, and classmates, and who many years from now will remember all too clearly what this man is capable of.
They say one of the under-appreciated roles of a formal system of justice is something beyond retribution, beyond mere punishment for the specific crime. To publicly hold the criminal, the crime and all the heinous elements up for scrutiny allows society the opportunity to react to it, to articulate exactly why it was so wrong, and then take measures that help ensure it doesn't happen again.
I've grown old enough to often raise a cynical eyebrow whenever these kinds of mass murders take place. But seeing the way the citizens of Norway rose to the occasion, spilled into the streets and voiced such an overwhelming rejection of intolerance and senseless violence was a really beautiful thing to see. Not what anyone could call "worth it", but under the circumstances, the best possible outcome. As long as this guy never walks the streets again as a free man, I believe in the long run that justice - in the fullest sense of the word - will have been served.