Radley Balko flags an interesting article:
Many foreign journalists covering the July terrorist attacks in Norway were surprised to learn that Norwegian police are generally unarmed. A new survey indicates they want to stay that way.
“We want to have a police force that can handle the most demanding assignments with the least amount of force,” Arne Johannessen, head of the police officers’ union Politiets Fellesforbund, told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) this week.
A survey of the union’s own members showed that fully 60 percent of the police officers questioned said they do not want to be armed at all times. At present, they only arm themselves after receiving authorization in dangerous situations.
Johannessen said that after evaluating the survey, comparing Norway’s practice with that in other countries where police are armed, and talking with weapons experts, Fellesforbund had decided to officially support the policy that being armed will not be standard practice in Norway.
Debate has broken out on the arms issue over the years, and especially after the July 22 terrorist attacks in Oslo and the island of Utøya. Johannessen said that even after the attacks and increased threat of terrorism, the police want to retain what he called “a civil image” and the ability to work closely with the public.
Contrast that to what’s happened here since September 11.
It’s pretty rare to see government officials not only not use a crisis to grab more power, but to actually refute suggestions that they should.
I love Norway. I love it so hard.
By this point, most of you have heard about the tragedy in Norway a few weeks ago when a Christian Fundamentalist murdered 92 people and injured another 96. The story has been well-covered by International media and the mainstream press here in the US.
What you probably have not heard about is the married lesbian couple who rescued 40 teenagers during and after the bloody event. Several blogs and gay and lesbian publications are now picking up the story, but the heavy hitters who usually kill for hero stories like this, have remained silent.
The Finnish capital city’s largest daily newspaper, Helsingin Sanomat, published this account (translated from Finnish):
Hege Dalen and her spouse, Toril Hansen were near Utöyan having dinner on the opposite shore across from the ill-fated campsite, when they began to hear gunfire and screaming on the island.
“We were eating. Then shooting and then the awful screaming. We saw how the young people ran in panic into the lake,” says Dale to HS in an interview.
The couple immediately took action and pushed the boat into Lake Tyrifjorden.
Dalen and Hansen drove the boat to the island, picked up from the water victims in shock in, the young and wounded, and transported them to the opposite shore to the mainland. Between runs they saw that the bullets had hit the right side of the boat.
Since there were so many and not all fit at once aboard, they returned to the island four times.
They were able to rescue 40 young people from the clutches of the killer.
“We did not sleep last night at all. Today, we have been together and talked about the events,” Dalen said.
The sad part of this story is that in an ideal world, this *shouldn’t* even be a big deal. It shouldn’t matter that they were gay. But we are still wrestling with the spectre of cultural assumptions about homosexuality that prevent some people from seeing homosexuals as simply the regular-ass folks that most of them are. Thus, stories like this have to be publicized to convince certain people that gay human beings aren’t somehow mentally different from a so-called “normal” heterosexual human.
To put it another way: whenever a gay person does something great, we unfortunately have to make sure we remind everyone they were gay so our less tolerant and/or presumptuous peers see homosexuality in a kinder light, and reconsider their assumptions about homosexuality and its relationship to a person’s moral character.
Reason #8,550 Why Christianity is the Root of All Evil
This is not a fake. Here is the Press Release on their Hate Site (PDF)
Westboro Baptist Church to picket the funerals of those killed in the Norway massacre (Found at Joe. My. God.; For a related post, click here http://christiannightmares.tumblr.com/post/2673685950/westboro-baptist-church-to-picket-funerals-of)
People hold up red roses during a memorial service for the victims of the bomb and shooting massacre, organized by the Norwegian Labour party and its youth organization, AUF, in Oslo, on Friday July 29. Speaking at the service — among the first for many of the 77 victims of last week’s terror attacks — Norway’s Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg said, “Today it is one week since Norway was hit by evil,”. “We have to live with July 22, but together we will make it.” (Photo: Emilio Morenatti / AP via MSNBC.com)
If you had to guess the scene in this photo, what would your answer be? A group of friends prepping lunch? Maybe a local cooking class?
If you guessed prison, then you guessed correctly.
Above, inmates at the upscale Halden Fengsel prison in Halden, Norway prepare food in a common room meant to be a meeting place for prisoners and guards.
From photographer Alex Masi’s Halden photo project:
Individual cells come with an en-suite bathroom, a flat-screen TV and various comforts. They measure 12 square meters and are divided up into units (10 to 12) which share a living room and kitchen, similarly to a students’ dormitory.
The windows are not fitted with bars, but thick glass is used instead.
The prison - the second-largest in Norway - costs 165m Euro and accommodates 248 male inmates. Some 760,000 Euro were spent just on artworks, some of which commissioned to Norway’s most renowned street artist, Dolk.
The inmates can attend a vast range of formative courses at a official high school located inside the prison. Subjects can include languages, IT, science, catering, music, (there is even a professional sound studio) art and handicraft and several sports.
Interestingly, statistics show that in Norway only 20% of inmates (1 in 5) commit another crime and return to prison within two years of their release.
Read more on the Halden prison at Foreign Policy.
[Photo: Alex Masi]
The current excuse for not calling this terrorism (‘it was an isolated incident!’) is now complete bunk. I wonder what the next justification for white people terrorism will be- we’ve already seen ‘he’s just crazy’, and this takes care of ‘isolated incident’. Will the media eventually just come out and say ‘well he’s not Muslim so we don’t really need to worry about it’, or will they just continue to imply it?
Anders Behring Breivik killed 93 people on Saturday. He hated Muslims. He hated immigrants who didn’t integrate with Norwegian society. He hated liberals who were promoting multiculturalism. He targeted the Labour Party. He targeted their kids. He called his acts “atrocious, but necessary.” He hoped to insight revolution.
We didn’t know all of this, at first. All we knew was that there was a terrible attack.
Meanwhile, on Free Republic, the entire community was convinced he was a Muslim.
Not only did they assume the attack was being carried out by a Muslim, they blamed Norway’s multiculturalism. They blamed Norway’s acceptance of Muslims. They blamed the liberals.
Just like Breivik.
Powerful explosions shook central Oslo on Friday afternoon, blowing out the windows of several government buildings, including one housing the office of the Norwegian prime minister. The state television broadcaster, citing the police, said seven people were killed and at least 15 injured; a spokeswoman for the prime minister, Jens Stoltenberg, said he was “safe and not hurt.”
Shortly after the explosions, which appeared to be a bomb attack, a man dressed as a police officer opened fire on a summer camp for young members of the governing Labor Party on the island of Utoya about 25 miles northwest of the city, and wounded at least five, a Norwegian security official said.
“The situation’s gone from bad to worse,” said Runar Kvernen, spokesman for the National Police Directorate under the Ministry of Justice and Police, adding that most of the children at the camp were 15 and 16 years old. There were initial reports that Mr. Stoltenberg was scheduled to attend a meeting at the camp.
As fear spread through the capital, the police moved to lock down a wide area of the city center, where the streets were already nearly deserted.
The attacks appeared to be part of a coordinated assault on the ordinarily peaceful Scandinavian nation, as images of the damaged government buildings called to mind past terror attacks in Beirut or Baghdad or Oklahoma City.