Toby Archer quickly has set the standard for journalism and reflection on Breivik. This is an informed piece.
We hope, and perhaps need, a man who would gun down teenagers in cold blood to be mad.
So when Anders Behring Breivik says that his killing spree on Friday, July 22, was "gruesome but necessary" -- as he reportedly told his lawyer -- we must not just dismiss him as mad, but ask why he thinks so. Having left a 1,500-page manifesto and a YouTube video -- all conveniently in serviceable English for the international audience -- he clearly wants to be understood.
To do so requires an appreciation of a transatlantic movement that often calls itself "the counter-jihad." As his writings indicate, Breivik is clearly a product of this predominantly web-based community of anti-Muslim, anti-government, and anti-immigration bloggers, writers, and activists -- no matter how much the movement's leading lights may deny this and denounce his actions.