Norwegian markets in everything

by on June 5, 2012 at 3:09 pm in Law | Permalink

Norwegian prison may hire friends for mass killer Anders Behring Breivik

Hat tip goes to Angus.

Hoover June 5, 2012 at 3:40 pm

Is this the Scandinavian version of the oil curse? After all, what do you do with all that money?

TM June 5, 2012 at 4:44 pm

I don’t know if it is true. But, I can for sure say that this is a society in money is not everything all, regardless of oil.

TM June 5, 2012 at 4:46 pm

I don’t know if it is true. But, I can for sure say that this is a society in which money is not everything all, regardless of oil.

philemonloy June 6, 2012 at 5:23 am

I don’t know about that–but it sure sounds like a society which makes strange trade-offs. All the resources that will be expended to given one inmate the semblance of a normal life, and therefore, would not be spent on other deserving projects. Could it be that for otherwise well ordered societies, the oil curse consist in insulating the citizens from having to think harder about the trade-offs involved in their public policies?

Hoover June 6, 2012 at 11:10 am

It’s hard for me to perceive what those trade-offs might be. They have high educational standards, high living standards, good health, competitive enterprises and everything a wealthy country could desire. Meanwhile they give a lot of foreign aid away and subsidise Brazil to not cut down trees.

At the same time, they appear to live in something of a politically-correct fantasy world.

Thom June 6, 2012 at 4:28 pm

Doesn’t really seem to be a fantasy world, though, does it? It’s just a politically correct world.

Rahul June 5, 2012 at 4:09 pm

Do the “friends” have to be people Anders will like?

Miley Cyrax June 5, 2012 at 4:23 pm

Why bother hiring friends for serial killers when there’s always a long line of female groupies willing to hang out with them and more for free?

Frank June 5, 2012 at 4:32 pm

A serious response to this would be that they’re trying to rehabilitate him, not reward him.

Rahul June 5, 2012 at 4:47 pm

Select the ugliest groupies?

TallDave June 6, 2012 at 5:09 pm

Incentives matter!

First you show him all the groupies, then you let him have the ugliest one, and tell him if he stops shooting people, he can have the next-prettiest one. And so forth. By the time he gets to Miss Norway (who will have volunteered out of the selfless Nordic welfare state ethic) he’s a model citizen.

John Schilling June 5, 2012 at 4:29 pm

Three choices:

A – Prisoners shall socialize with nobody

B – Prisoners shall socialize with other prisoners

C – Prisoners shall socialize with non-prisoners

Apparently, A is unconscionable and C is ridiculous, leaving us by default with plan B. And that is the norm for most prisons in the western world. I cannot be alone in seeing that having prisoners socialize with other prisoners is a bad plan, quite probably the worst of the three, so I think I will pass on ridicuing a good-faith attempt at something different.

jmo June 5, 2012 at 5:06 pm

That is a brilliantly insightful comment. I am better for having read it.

Alex Godofsky June 5, 2012 at 6:07 pm

For someone like Breivik option A isn’t really unconscionable.

Rahul June 6, 2012 at 10:00 am

Our conscience shouldn’t be diluted by the evil of Brevik.

Andrew' June 5, 2012 at 4:31 pm

We can’t kill him, and we can’t cryonics the guy because he might wake up or worse, inspire a John Woo movie.

JasonL June 5, 2012 at 5:11 pm

I don’t think there is a large concern with socialization between non violent offenders and normal folks. It’s a liberal policy that makes a good deal of sense at least upon initial consideration. The issue gets murky fast when we are talking about freaky violent types with a lot of blood on their hands. You kind of lose the reform minded features of a socialization plan and you are dealing with a small enough population that maintaining strict policies about who gets to socialize with whom shouldn’t spill over. That is, drug dealers and petty thieves socializing with each other may just create more criminals of those sorts over the long run, but it seems implausible that nonviolent offenders become serial killers through exposure. For that type of criminal, I think we are just trying to figure out a humane way to remove them from society.

msgkings June 5, 2012 at 5:24 pm

I like to think I’m against the death penalty but people like Breivik really make me waver. We put mad dogs to sleep, how is he any different? He’s a defective human, time to scrap.

Matt June 5, 2012 at 5:28 pm

Breivik is anything but mad. Indeed, he seems to be smarter than his captors. I loved the part where he made fun of the government for not executing him.

msgkings June 5, 2012 at 5:31 pm

Smart = sane?

He’s right to make fun of them, let’s indulge him.

Doc Merlin June 6, 2012 at 1:12 am

He isn’t crazy. He is evil. Please don’t confuse the two. His problem isn’t one of a defective mind, but one of bad ideology.

MD June 6, 2012 at 2:20 am

+1s to everyone (except Petar)

Ricardo June 6, 2012 at 1:53 am

“Indeed, he seems to be smarter than his captors. I loved the part where he made fun of the government for not executing him.”

This seems fairly consistent with the characteristics of a psychopath as described by Robert Hare: someone who not only has no conscience or moral compass but expresses contempt toward those who do and generally feels superior to most other people. Intelligence, rationality and charm are not inconsistent with psychopathy. Most people would regard such a person as a threat to modern society and therefore, in some important sense, “defective.” Nietzsche might disagree but then Nietzsche didn’t think much of modern society, either.

Petar June 5, 2012 at 5:31 pm

So you assume proper, non-defective humans do not kill other humans when their interests are threatened? That is rather stupid, no?

msgkings June 5, 2012 at 5:34 pm

Depends on what you mean by ‘interests’. A proper human can be justified in killing another when they are being attacked (violently) or when they are part of a military in combat. A human that mass murders unarmed innocents needs to be put down like a defective dog.

If this is not obvious to you, I’m glad you are just anonymous pixels and not someone near me (as far as I know)

Tom West June 5, 2012 at 7:12 pm

C_B_B_B, I think banning is based on total disutility caused to the readers. Petar’s post may well be more objectionable than the vast majority of yours were, but as he’s posting 1/1,000th as often, he’ll probably escape chastisement.

Andrew' June 5, 2012 at 9:15 pm

This is your regularly scheduled “we are on computers” public service announcement.

Rahul June 6, 2012 at 3:25 am

CBBB got banned, eh? I just assumed the Canadian economy had improved! :)

Andrew' June 6, 2012 at 8:57 am

I assumed he was hired by the Obama campaign with their new ‘go negative’ strategy.

MD June 5, 2012 at 8:16 pm

Sometimes people park in front of my driveway so that their bumper intrudes into the driveway, thus requiring me to drive over the curb. I guess that threat to my interests justifies … murder? Fascinating.

Andrew' June 5, 2012 at 9:16 pm

It’s pretty simple really. They think he’s a huge risk to kill if he takes hostages.

He’s not a threat any more than muslims with box cutters are, but if they think he is, then protecting one innocent life is worth more than the admitted mass murderer.

Geoff Olynyk June 6, 2012 at 9:24 am

I think it’s perfectly consistent to believe that some people deserve to die (e.g. Breivik) but be against the death penalty because you know that the justice system makes mistakes and sometimes convicts people innocent of the crime that they are receiving the death penalty for. This is basically my view.

The problem is that you can’t have a rule like “if you’re convicted of first-degree murder, you get life in prison, but if we’re really super-sure that you’re guilty and a horrible person, you get the death penalty”. The standard is conviction in a court of law, and that standard admits a non-zero amount of false positives.

Urso June 6, 2012 at 10:20 am

“if you’re convicted of first-degree murder, you get life in prison, but if we’re really super-sure that you’re guilty and a horrible person, you get the death penalty”

This would make considerably more sense than the current system.

John Schilling June 6, 2012 at 10:52 am

Not sure about Norway, but at least in most of the Anglosphere the relevant standard is “proof beyond a reasonable doubt”. That would seem to imply that, if your decision on how to punish a convicted criminal is being influenced by concerns that he might really be innocent, you really oughtn’t have convicted him in the first place. With a properly-convicted felon, it is by definition unreasonable to doubt his guilt.

That problem has to be fixed at the source, with or without the death penalty. You might imagine that preventing executions right now will give the next generation a chance to properly reform the system while most of its victims are still sort of alive to enjoy it. True enough – but it also gives them less incentive to do so. It’s an effective way to keep the metaphorical blood off your own hands, but it doesn’t actually do much for the wrongly convicted.

And Brevik, at least, was not wrongly convicted.

careless June 6, 2012 at 7:55 pm

It wouldn’t be impossible to have a secondary, higher standard in the sentencing phase of a death penalty trial that has to be met in order to give a death sentence.

The Other Jim June 7, 2012 at 2:27 pm

>>”"be against the death penalty because you know that the justice system makes mistakes”

This is very lazy thinking. You’re comfortable with a Government that can kidnap and imprison you for life — not to mention bankrupting you, or killing you with a drone-fired missile — knowing full well they “sometimes make mistakes.” But the death penalty is just too risky, eh? Maybe we should ban sentences of longer than one day, and abolish the IRS too? Because there might be mistakes?

Sometimes the crime is truly hellacious, and sometimes the perp is known with 110% certitude, and in those cases, the death penalty is entirely appropriate. This can, and should, be codified.

The alternative, as this article shows, is completely insane.

Tor Jensen June 5, 2012 at 5:28 pm

Basically there are three conditions leading to this.
a) Isolation is seen as a temporary measure and is considered inhumane in the long term.
b) It is dangerous for a prisoner like Breivik to be among the general prison population.
c) Breivik is a dangerous prisoner who may well attempt to escape / take hostages

The only way to entertain the conditions is to have non-prisoners interact with him. In the original article in VG the prison director suggests things like the staff in the prison socializing with him, having the Red Cross visitation group see him, or getting in people from outside to do things with him (play chess is the example given). (Original article linked http://www.vg.no/nyheter/innenriks/22-juli/artikkel.php?artid=10053906 )

I find the below more interesting:

Original title: Vil leie inn folk til sosial omgang med Breivik (Translated “Wants to hire people to socialize with Breivik”)
Newswire (AFP) title on their facebook: “Norway hires people to keep lonely Breivik company”
Yahoo AFP edition: “Prison to hire person to hang out with Breivik: media” (As a point of interest this article has 4 comments)
Yahoo’s “The Lookout” edition: “Norwegian prison may hire friends for mass killer Anders Behring Breivik” (This article has 3000+ comments)

Markets in everything, aye.

Tor Jensen June 5, 2012 at 5:33 pm

Aaaand the formatting got messed up.

Original title: Vil leie inn folk til sosial omgang med Breivik (Translated “Wants to hire people to socialize with Breivik”)

Newswire (AFP) title on their facebook: “Norway hires people to keep lonely Breivik company”

Yahoo AFP edition: “Prison to hire person to hang out with Breivik: media” (As a point of interest this article has 4 comments)

Yahoo’s “The Lookout” edition: “Norwegian prison may hire friends for mass killer Anders Behring Breivik” (This article has 3000+ comments)

Rahul June 6, 2012 at 3:19 am

Why is it safer to let him interact with non-prisoners? Can’t they be potential hostages too?

careless June 6, 2012 at 7:48 pm

That was my question reading the article. They’ll let him out if he takes a prisoner hostage, but… shoot an employee?

Rahul June 7, 2012 at 1:38 am

Maybe Norwegian prisoners have more protected rights than prison-employees? Seeing that this is Norway, I wouldn’t be surprised.

john malpas June 5, 2012 at 7:52 pm

meanwhile he might think of writing ‘mein kampf’

Andrew' June 5, 2012 at 8:10 pm

I think the old adage might apply, “you want a friend, get a dog.”

geo geo June 5, 2012 at 8:25 pm

The truth is that his crime is so unique that the regular rules for punishment don’t readily apply. And the Norwegian legal/political system seems unable to recognize this. For example, why does the trial takes so many months/years? Why do we even talk about socialization/resocialization? — here’s the fragment from wikipedia relating to the conditions of his imprisonment — “Anders Behring Breivik has been remanded at Ila Prison since his arrest. There he has at his disposal three prison cells. One where he can rest, sleep and watch DVD movies or television, a second is set up for him to use a PC without Internet connection, and in a third cell there is gym equipment that he can use. Only selected prison staff with special qualifications are allowed to work around him, and the prison management aims to not let his presence as a high-security prisoner affect any of the other inmates. Subsequent to the January 2012 lifting of letters and visitors censorship for Breivik he has received a number of inquiries from private individuals, and he has devoted time to writing back to like-minded people.”

— personally, I think a punishment similar to that doled out in the argentinian movie “the secret in their eyes” is both legal and desirable :)

Andrew' June 6, 2012 at 8:59 am

And people wonder why we hate Europe (we also love Europe of course).

Andrew' June 6, 2012 at 9:01 am

I just prefer the USA, that’s all, that’s why I live here. If I wanted to live the good life in Europe, then I’d obviously move to Europe and murder 70 people. And for the really good life, maybe 100.

Turing Test June 6, 2012 at 12:27 am

Is it really a “market”, though? It looks more like a Pigovian bounty to me.

Cliff Arroyo June 6, 2012 at 3:36 am

Shouldn’t that be Nordmann markets in everything? Or does Norway not qualify for patronizing and misguided attempts at ‘authenticity’?

James Hansen June 6, 2012 at 5:55 am

I hate to bring this up, because it’s sort of embarrassing, but Norway – being a small, out of the way place – still seems to believe in the rule of law even when this is not the easiest way to go. We Americans, the inhabitants of a large and advanced country, have largely gotten past that and have been able to shed outdated concepts like “habeus corpus” and “due process” when these are not politically expedient or people are just too, ah, pissed off to want to bother with them.

In order to slim the process down, we have recently conceded the power to our Presidents to order extra-judicial homicide when it’s simply too much trouble to bother with a trial and, coherent with this, secret laws, secret courts and indefinite imprisonment without recourse.

Norwegian law apparently considers that locking people up in solitary confinement until they die is a cruel and unusual punishment – and that this is true both for “nice” killers that we can all get behind as well as for scum who should just be shot in the head. They have, oddly perhaps, decided to obey the rules have given themselves rather than set them aside temporarily to get some quick societal revenge.

These people, even if they continue to be afflicted with an obsolete respect for legal tradition, still do though have the quick practicality of their Viking ancestors. Norwegian prison authorities appear to be acting in accordance with the law in case the need to follow it arises, but the most likely outcome here is that this incredibly evil monster will be found to be not quite right in the head and so, rather than to a prison, will be sent to a clinic where he will be fed happy pills until he can no longer remember even his own name – and where having a room to himself will not be solitary confinement but simply modern therapeutic practice…

Maybe we should cut the Norwegians some slack…

Frank June 6, 2012 at 9:09 am

I find this crowd generally amenable to reasonable argument, but less so on topics relating to capital punishment, Israel, and a few other group idiosyncratic concerns. Then again, I find internet anonymity turns individuals into less critical, less reflective versions of themselves.

Turing Test June 6, 2012 at 12:07 pm

With respect to the effect of internet anonymity on human behavior, the same could be said about automobiles — a lot people turn into a**holes when they are behind the wheel

TallDave June 6, 2012 at 6:47 pm

Humans aren’t really builit to intuitively grasp the fact they’re surrounded by people wielding tons of steel at deadly speeds and therefore adopt an appropriate level of politeness and caution.

I would imagine the lion’s share of safety improvements from driverless cars will stem from that fact.

Frank June 6, 2012 at 9:17 am

For the record, the Canadian economy is doing reasonably well, save Ontario.

Fort McMurray, Alberta will take most decently capable fit young males for well paying work.

k June 6, 2012 at 9:19 am

mo’ money mo’ problems

henry June 6, 2012 at 11:54 am

We can always send him the Kardashians or the Octomom, they are willing to do anything for money and attention. Besides Breivik will be begging for solitary confinement with in a few weeks.

DK June 6, 2012 at 10:21 pm

Why do they even have this trial??? His guilt is obvious and well documented. Morbid fascination with what a mass killer has to say? Just have 5 min session listing the evidence, issue the sentence and be done with it. For a sentence, literally drowning him in shit would do nicely. Saves money and serves as a strong deterrent to others.

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