That’s the lesson from the trial that began Monday in Oslo of Anders Breivik, who has admitted to killing eight people in a bomb blast in the capital’s downtown and, later that same day, 69 youngsters that he hunted down individually in a youth camp.
Breivik admits to the killings. He says he did them in self-defense.
He began the first day of his trial by asserting that he did not recognize the jurisdiction of the court because of the government’s support for multiculturalism and didn’t recognize one of the five judges because of her choice of friends.
He entered the court, according to one description, “smug and smiling” and favoring the court and the spectators with periodic clenched-fist salutes.
Breivik claims to be a resistance fighter in a far-right, white-supremacist group modeled after a Christian order that fought during the Crusades. As authorities have been able to determine so far, this group exists only in Breivik’s head.
Two groups of psychiatrists have examined that head, with the milder of the two diagnoses finding him a “paranoid psychotic schizophrenic” but still sane enough to stand trial. The other diagnosis said that if Breivik were ever released, he would be highly likely to commit similar massacres.
According to the London Daily Mail, Breivik, rather fittingly, is being held in a former Nazi concentration camp in isolation from the other prisoners because they would kill him given a chance.
His accommodations are considerably better than those accorded the original inmates. He has a “suite” of three 86-square-foot cells. (An inmate in a U.S. supermax prison typically gets a single 96-square-foot cell and stays in it 23 hours a day with little in the way of diversion.)
Breivik sleeps in one cell, works out in another that is equipped with exercise equipment and uses the third as an office. It has a computer but no Internet access. He has cable TV with access to 15 channels.
The trial is to last 10 weeks and will give Breivik ample opportunity to expand on his wing-nut views. To bolster his case — although it’s hard to see how — he will call radical Islamists and right-wing extremists to testify on his behalf.
If he is sentenced to jail time, he will likely serve his sentence in a prison that sounds like a country club even by Norwegian penal standards, according to the Daily Mail — private bathrooms, flat-screen TVs in the bedrooms, personal trainers, even a recording studio and a climbing wall. Such is “punishment” when liberal standards of justice are in force.
He has told his defense lawyer his only regret was that the death toll from his killing spree wasn’t higher.
If he is convicted, the 33-year-old Breivik faces a maximum sentence of 21 years, just a little over three months per victim.