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Sad real-world news
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Between a massive explosion and a shooting at a Labour Party youth camp, 92 dead in Norway attacks. The victim count has been rising as recovery efforts continue. At the moment, 85 deaths, mostly kids, have been reported from the island camp alone.

Norway attacks: latest developments being added on CNN.com; Norway attacks: ‘A nightmare,’ PM says; suspect identified; at least 92 dead. Selected snippets:

The official death toll as a result of Friday's explosion in Oslo stands at 7 and 90 people have been hospitalized, a spokesman for the city's mayor said.

Undetonated explosives were found on Utoya Island, where a gunman opened fire earlier in the day on a Labour Party Youth Camp, Oslo, Norway, acting Police Chief Sveinung Sponheim said late Friday night.

Authorities believe the man traveled to the island from Oslo, where at least seven were killed in a bombing in the city center. The suspect, a 32-year-old Norwegian, was taken into custody after he killed or wounded an unknown number of people, Sponheim said.

Investigators are uncertain whether only one suspect was involved in twin attacks in Norway that killed at least 92 people Friday, Norwegian police said Saturday.

"We're not sure it's just one person ... based on statements from witnesses, we think there may be more," said Sveinung Sponheim, chief police officer.

One man is in custody.

"At least 80 young people have been killed on Utøya. We have also lost some of our colleagues in the government offices," [the Prime Minister] said.

Youth camp 'turned to hell'; Survivor: Victims tried to swim away. Also, from the BBC: How attacks happened.

@BreakingNews: Police: Website of suspect in youth camp attack, Oslo bombing indicates he is right-wing, Christian fundamentalist

@BreakingNews: Oslo bomb-camp shooter suspect, age32, called himself a nationalist, posted anti-Islam comments

@bellamackie: Norway Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg: "The answer to violence, is even more democracy. Even more humanity."

Then, a few minutes ago:

@cnnbrk: Singer #AmyWinehouse found dead at her apartment in London, UK Press Association reports, She was 27.

@cnnbrk: Singer #AmyWinehouse, who reportedly was found dead Saturday, had recently left a rehab program.

@SkyNewsBreak: Sky Sources: Police treating death of singer Amy Winehouse as "unexplained."

I'm keeping an eye on the Norway developments, and will post the movie linkspam later.

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So, so horrible on Norway. I notice a lot of self-defence in the comments: "he's not a real Christian," etc. I think the point is that not every single terrorist is an Islamic fundamentalist. Horribly, we grow them right here, and you'd think after Oklahoma City, people would know that. But it's a horrible thing to happen anywhere, no matter who did it.

As for Amy Winehouse: I think it's awfully sad that Keith Richards said she needed to clean up, and that Boy George begged her to "come to a meeting--you have no idea how loved you are." It's too bad that didn't get through to her, coming from people who have had so much trouble themselves.

I think the point is that not every single terrorist is an Islamic fundamentalist.

Exactly. And that it works the other way as well, with "real" Muslims.

Well, when it's an Xitan white guy, it's always an 'isolated incident.' Eric Robert Rudolph, for example, was supported for five years by a community while he hid from the FBI for bombing Atlanta's Olympic Park. Scott Roeder conspired with convicted bomb conspiracist Cheryl Sullenger to murder Dr. George Tiller.

What's really notable about so-called Muslim plots is that forty percent of them are turned into the authorities by members of their own community. I'd be willing to bet that a lot of foreign-born Muslims who come to the US are coming here to flee exactly the same kind of crap that terrorists do.

It's funny how close fundamentalists are all over the world. This guy (the Norwegian terrorist) is starting to have all his manifestos come out and he didn't want women to be educated.

I remember watching the BBC last night and one of the correspondents was talking about how Norway has been involved in the Middle East, but mostly in a contractor type way, not with troops. Which could be taken a couple of ways, but our first reaction was along the lines of "Oy! Terrorist attacks come from places other than the Middle East!" Of course, I didn't catch the whole broadcast, so they could have been saying it in a "This is why it's unlikely" type context.

They say bad things come in threes. Does the collapse of the debt talks in the US count, or are we still due another one?

I saw an article (it might have been BBC) to the effect of, "Here's how Norway is involved in the Middle East and thus it is totally Muslim terrorists." Sigh.

Living in the US, I used to think the BBC was so much better than most of our news outlets. Living in the UK... not so much. I mean, it's not awful, and compared to 99.9% of the media sources over here, it's great. But the media everywhere is just awful. Maybe we're all just awful. Very sigh.

To be fair, at first a jihadist group claimed responsibility but later retracted. So it's kind of understandable if articles based on that claim were published at first. Most of what I'm reading now isn't really saying anything about it being islamic.

Yeah, the BBC on NPR last night seemed to have taken it as read that it was totally Muslim-related. I just hope the outlets who've made that assumption end up correcting it...

I think a lot of news outlets proceeded from a given that this kind of mass violence had to be foreign terrorism, and then worked backwards to figure out how that could be true ("Norway is SOOOOOO involved in the Middle East, you guys!" Which is a case of correlation not equaling causation, probably).

it's the no true Scotsman defence at least I think thats what wikipedia called it.
People take a look at yourselves and what your leaders are promoting.

Amy Winehouse ...I hope she finds peace.

I have to admit, after watching those videos of Amy Winehouse attempting to perform from about a month ago, I had a feeling this was coming. There just had to be so many people wanting her to get clean (not to mention everyone at her record label, mostly for their own motives) but she was obviously beyond that point.

And as for the Norway news, it's just devastating. I saw an overhead picture of the island before the attacks and it's so tiny. It's a miracle that anyone was able to escape.

Do you know how many did manage to escape?

While the contortions of the conservative media to avoid naming this guy a terrorist is sickening, the almost-gloating I've seen on some lefty blogs/sites is just as repulsive.

I agree with you. I wish people would just report the facts and not jump to conclusions on either side before all the facts are in. Is that too much to ask?

(Deleted comment)
I'm on a very similar count. We need new friends.

(Deleted comment)
Exactly. I get that it's not a competition and you can be sad about more than one thing at once, but there was no sense of that at all. Humph. I'll be over here being a grumpy old woman.

More Americans have hears Winehouse's music than could place Norway on a map. What is far away is abstract. It is quite sad.

Mine don't have anything about Norway yet, but to be fair, they don't have anything about Amy Winehouse, either. Most of the people I know use it to announce events or exchange photos from events they already attended.

Similar with my FB, one about Norway and 5 so far about Winehouse.

I wouldn't interpret the data from your Facebook barometer as meaning that people care more about Amy Winehouse than Norway. It's just that the news from Norway is so stupendously horrific, that people don't even know how to talk about it. I myself would not post about it on Facebook, because I can't even deal with thinking for long about kids being shot on an island like some kind of insane horror movie. Amy Winehouse is a lesser tragedy, and we all saw it coming anyway, so it's easier to deal with and discuss with other people.

Counting down to people giving themselves backpats for which death they care more about in five . . . four . . . oh wait, they're already here.

I thought exactly the same when I blogged about that.

I will simply quote Snacky on this one and hope that is an end to the subject:

"Newsflash: You can be sad and have sympathy for more than one tragedy."

Re: Facebook: even among my very atuned to pop culture FB friends, I've seen more Norway updates than Amy Winehouse ones. To be fair, the attacks were yesterday (when my FB friends updated about them) and AW's death was only announced a couple of hours ago. I assume there'll be a flood of AW-related updates in the next few hours.

Part of me wants to be a cynic and talk about how you can't compare the (allegedly) drugs-related death of a celebrity to the massacre of children by a demented extremist, but - also surprisingly, since I'm not even an Amy Winehouse fan - I find that I can't. In the end, a young woman died (allegedly) because she couldn't help herself and neither could/would anyone around her; and so many people died because they had the misfortune of being in the wrong place when a criminal decided to act. For some reason, in the end (for me), it's become less about the context and more about the huge loss, waste of lives. It's all so tragic, so meaningless. Not that things like this ever have meaning, but it's all so absurd and, at the same time, unavoidable (between AW not wanting/managing to escape an extreme addiction and those poor people being defenceless because they didn't know what was coming their way). Jut so hollow, so tragic.

I hope this is as high as the death toll in Norway will get.

This is what I tried to put in words and failed when I tried to write about it. Very well stated.

Edited at 2011-07-23 08:16 pm (UTC)

I'm Norwegian. I live in Oslo. I got the first news of the bombs on my way home from work. And yet everything and everyone seemed so calm. There were a few more people on their cell phone than normal, but no panic in the streets. I honestly didn't understand the extent of the damage from the bombing until I got home and saw the images on tv.

As a comment on the media coverage: I think that at first, we were all expecting it to be international terrorism, and the Norwegian media were also speculating that Norway's involvement in Afghanistan could be the reason for the attack. It wasn't until the events of Utøya unfolded that reports of a blond Norwegian started to come in.

(I can still remember first hearing about Utøya - the Norwegian prime minister was in his first phone interview since the bombing. He'd been talking to the journalist about a number of things, and the questions were starting to become less interesting. Final question from the reporter was about whether there would be any extra security at the youth meeting at Utøya. Short silence from the prime minister, followed by a reply of "I've just had reports that there is a situation unfolding there, but I'll let the police give that information.".)

Final point: I don't care what this asshole believes in. Frankly - his opinions don't count anymore. I don't care why he believes he could do what he did - no matter what his views are; they are wrong.
I want nothing more than to look back at this in five years and not remember his name - and to know that he got a fair trial and will be locked up for the rest of his life. And although we won't forget this tragedy, I hope his views can be forgotten entirely.

Just re-read this and realized that I just let my feelings explode all over your blog. I'm sorry. It's been an intense couple of days.


I think it was wonderful to hear something from the people "on the ground", so to speak. As an American I got some coverage of it, but not the kind of raw intensity that you displayed here, and I think it's a valuable perspective.

Thank you. Just woke up to these comments. They mean a lot.

Here, of course, there are no other news. All news media have dropped everything else for this. It felt like this huge relief yesterday, when they showed five minutes of Tour de France.

(RAMBLING ALERT: Further descriptions from "on the ground" below. Somehow it helps telling it to someone who isn't Norwegian, and isn't in the middle of 24 hour updates. There's no obligation to read on, obviously.)

I feel really sorry for the defense attorney. It's so obvious that he doesn't want to be there, and that he's dreading having to do his job. I think the rest of the country understands - there's been emphasis on the fact that this was an attack on our political system, on our open society, and how important it is that we stay open and democratic. That he gets a trial and an attorney. My facebook is full results from a poll: "should we bring back the death penalty in order to punish ABB?" 80-90% no. 10% yes, the rest on "maybe". I'm so proud of my nation during all of this.

Watching repeats of the memorial service from this morning. Prime minister has trouble controlling his voice, tells openly about some of those he knew at Utøya. It's heartbreaking.
He quotes one of the survivors: "If this one man can spread so much hate, think how much love we can all show together."

I feel really sorry for the defense attorney. It's so obvious that he doesn't want to be there, and that he's dreading having to do his job. I think the rest of the country understands - there's been emphasis on the fact that this was an attack on our political system, on our open society, and how important it is that we stay open and democratic. That he gets a trial and an attorney.

I feel really terrible for the lawyer too. It seems pretty obvious that Guy We All Want to Forget is the one who did it, but he's still got to have a lawyer who defends him in good faith, who doesn't just go, "Eh, whatever, we all know he's guilty." He has to take him seriously, present an insanity defense, whatever has to be done. And what the PM said about having more democracy, more humanity, was so amazing. So I hope people both inside and outside Norway will understand that it's a job the attorney has to do, not an endorsement of what the man did.

I think most of us get it, especially those of us who remember 9/11 (and the Oklahoma City bombings.) Sometimes you have to share somewhere.

And I'll admit my first thought was it had to be international because who thinks of internal terror in Norway? I can imagine the whole country's probably still in shock.

Thank you. Just woke up to these comments, and they mean a lot.

And thank you for understanding the need to share. Somehow it's easier to share with people who are not in the middle of the 24-hour news cycle on Utøya and the bombing.

And yes, we're still in shock. We're a small nation, so everyone seems to know someone who has lost a friend, or was at the site of the bombing, or.... I mean, the Prime Minister obviously knew many of those at Utøya. And that's partly why his speeches on this has such an impact.

Again, thank you for your comment.

*random internet hugs* Thank you for sharing your experience so candidly.

Good fucking god, so Norwegians really ARE that polite. Considering how all of us are chiming in on the situation, I don't think anybody would consider it rude for you to vent a bit here.

Thank you for making me laugh. I needed that. And thank you for the comment.

so sad, all of it. those poor kids.

as for celebrities throwing their lives away: what a horrible shame.

There aren't any words for what the last two days have been like. I didn't know any of the people killed, but Norway's a small country, so I think it's impossible not to be touched by it in some way. My boss's niece was at Utøya, she survived. My colleague's friend was there. He's dead. We've barely spoken about anything other than this at work. It feels wrong to think about anything else.

No one I've spoken to is reacting with hatred, though. We're all shocked and sad and maybe scared, but what we keep saying is that we'll keep going. I'm so proud to live in a country where we react with compassion and solidarity and calls for more democracy and more humanity.

Also, thanks for posting about this. It means a lot to see that people care, even when they are far away.

I'm so proud to live in a country where we react with compassion and solidarity and calls for more democracy and more humanity.

The reactions have all been so inspiring. It's such a sad, terrible thing to have happened, but the way Norway has risen to the occasion makes me feel better about the world on the whole, not worse.

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