Truth, Scare, And Consequences…

Posted: July 25, 2011 in Politics



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This weekend the world was shaken by the events in Oslo, Norway.

A lone gunman, Anders Breivik, killed at least 84 people on the small island of Utoya, in the small countries capital Oslo. This was after a bomb blast killed at least 7 people in a government building in Oslo, a bomb Breivik had placed earlier, it would seem to not only kill more people, particularly members of government, but also to distract police and give him more time to carry out his main mission, the island killing spree.

Anders Breivik, had been planning his attack for a long time, maybe even 9 years according to some reports. All we know for sure is that this was not a snap decision, or a moment of madness. Breivik had even gone to the trouble of obtaining a police uniform, which he wore on the day so that he could lure youngsters out of their hiding places to shoot them.

So, rather than reflect on the actions of Breivik, we need to try to understand what lessons we can learn from this, in order to do this we need to look at Breivik’s motivation.

It is clear what motivated Breivik, and anybody who tries to brush this aside is ignorant. Breivik was a Christian who was anti-immigration, anti Islam, and a strong supporter of conservative politics. He hated the ruling Labour government, and decided he wanted to kill as many of the next generation of Labour politicians as possible. This is why he attacked a Labour Youth function. This is not conspiracy theory, this is fact. Breivik himself described his actions as “Gruesome, but necessary”.

So what can we learn from all this death and destruction?

Here is an interesting quote, that I think leads to the heart of the matter. It is from Allen Roland, a lecturer, author, and practicing psychotherapist. Allen states:

“The dye is cast ~ the flames of fear and hate filled politics are burning brightly throughout the world and the Norway massacre is the latest symbol of its malignant presence.”

I think that this quote hits the nail on the head. We all know that the attack was politically motivated, the question is why? Another question is, what can we learn from this in Australia?

Some of you may have seen the movie “The Assassination Of Richard Nixon”, if not I have put a link to the trailer below.

 

The film is a true story, based on the last weeks of the life of Sam Bick. Sam is a relatively simple-minded man, who makes a bungled attempt to assassinate Richard Nixon. The reason he does this, is because he absorbs everything he hears from his boss and co-workers, and believes that he is doing what is best for the country.

To me, this seems to have some similarity to Breivik. There is a theory that Breivik was hoping to assassinate Norway’s Prime Minister who was due to appear on the island that day. Both believed they were doing the right thing for the country., both clearly had some screws loose, and both ended up killing innocent bystanders.

Already, there are people blaming video games, (that old chestnut) clearly Breivik wasn’t a fan of Norwegian Death Metal, or we would have heard that excuse also. However if people can be influenced by these things, surely they can also be influenced by things like politicians, press articles, and political commentators….

Which brings us to Australia…. we haven’t had a Sam Bick, or an Anders Breivik in Australia yet, and we should be thankful for that fact. But for how long?

Australian political commentary has become a vile business indeed. This has now reared its ugly head within the Liberal Party, a party who still have the hide to call themselves conservative, when nothing could be further from the truth these days.

If you think I’m exaggerating, or trying to make something out of nothing, bear this in mind. We used to have oppositions that would debate, negotiate, discuss, but still manage to oppose or disagree. We currently have an opposition who aims to demolish, crush, annihilate, smash, destroy. The language being used by the opposition has completely changed, it is no wonder people like Malcolm Fraser are trying to distance themselves.

We used to have peaceful protests, now we have people’s revolts and revolutions…

Everything seems to be a war metaphor. Will we all act surprised when someone takes all of this to heart and acts on it?

We have political commentators, who stop just short of inciting violence. They organise people’s revolts and even encourage derogatory, sexist signs to be displayed, geez, they even bus them into Canberra for the event. They say things like “Julia Gillard should be put in a chaff bag and thrown out to sea”, as Alan Jones has stated. Funny, I was of the opinion that stating that a Prime Minister should be killed was actually illegal, but it seems not. Then again, this is a man whose broadcasts were investigated as possibly inciting the Cronulla Riots….

With all of the battle cries from the opposition, and the talk of revolutions and revolts from the political commentators, it is no wonder we are headed down a slippery slope. Many were shocked when News Ltd allowed this comment to be made public on the Herald Sun website.“Somebody needs to assassinate Julia Gillard NOW before she totally destroys our way of life.”

Joe Hockey was left momentarily speechless when talking before a group of supporters recently. One of the Liberal supporters stood up and asked what would happen if people took up arms against the government, Joe was visibly stunned, but quickly recovered and replied “I can understand why you feel that way…”.

If you think that the shocking events in Norway are an isolated incident, think again. You only have to cast your mind back to January when Jared Lee Loughner shot nineteen people, killing six in Tuscon Arizona. His target was Senator Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot in the head, but survived. Again the attack came from someone from the conservative camp.

If you have any doubts as to my views, and you have a twitter account, take a look at the feed #auspol, this will give you an idea of the world we have become. Some of the posts put on there leave the mind boggling. Extremism is an ugly thing indeed.

Admittedly, not all of the nastiness on social media is from the conservative side. I have seen plenty of posts from Green and Labor supporters that also leave me in shock, and those who post messages of hate, or threatening messages should be condemned no matter what side of politics they lean towards.

However, all of the so-called “Shock Jock’s”, and extreme political commentators, seem to be firmly in the Liberal corner. Since the backstabbing of Malcolm Turnbull for the Liberal leadership, the tactics used by the party have changed totally, they have moved from informative, to just plain aggressive.

There are many who will say the events in Norway highlight the need for tighter gun control. I do believe we need tight gun laws, the less guns the better, however guns don’t kill people, people with guns kill people. The problem isn’t the gun, it’s the person pointing it.

Others will blame extremism, and I think that is where we need to look, whether it is religious or political. Once we have decided that extremism is not just associated with Islam, maybe we can start looking at the causes of extremism, and start to hold those who promote it to account.

I hope politicians and commentators start choosing their words more carefully, sadly we have seen where this road ends.

As an interesting afterthought, it is worth mentioning that here in NSW we have a Liberal govt. In the past fortnight we have found that 2 things are to be coming into our public schools care of the O’Farrell Liberal govt. Religion and guns.

http://www.smh.com.au/national/education/push-for-guns-in-schools-20110716-1hj5q.html

I shake my head……

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Comments
  1. So in summary – Andrew Bolt is to blame. Or Alan Jones?

    I think you miscalculate the potency/reach of AM radio.

    The world has always been subject to hate. The Ku Klux Klan is not a recent phenomenon. The assassination of Martin Luther King is not a recent phenomenon. And as far as I recall the media weren’t to blame there. Indigenous peoples around the world have been slaughtered throughout the last two centuries.

    It is in our DNA. The answer lies not in more regulation of media, or restriction of freedoms. The answer lies in exploring ways we can get along as a people.

    • wixxy says:

      Maybe I do miscalculate the reach of these guys, but I think the term “lone gunman” means they only have to reach 1

      You are right of course, it is obviously part of the human condition, but I think that the shock jocks endorsement of that way of thinking can in no way be a positive influence.

      Thanks for the feedback 🙂

      Wixxy

  2. gc51 says:

    An excellent thought provoking piece Peter. Congratulations on highlightimg the issue we all face. Extremism in any guise is an insidious beast.
    Gryff

    • wixxy says:

      Thanks Gryff, I can only imagine the comments from the shock jocks if Norways killer had praised Labor or Green politicians in his manifesto istead of Liberals.
      Cheers
      Wixxy

  3. kabdoo says:

    Great post Wixxy. I think you read my mind. Stop doing that! 😉

    I agree that we need more psychological and anthropological analysis of these anti-social views as they are really personal problems, not religious or political. Politics and religion just give people a credible platform from which to act on their sociopathic tendencies. It also gives them the opportunity to seek safety in numbers. Everyone wants to belong and if you are seen to be supporting your “local team” it becomes almost sacrilegious to to criticise you.

    As for our criminally irresponsible politicians and shock jocks, i refer you to a song that has become a favourite with my kids since I played it to them:

    http://www.jacksonbrowne.com/discography/album/lives-in-the-balance/lyrics#song6

    • wixxy says:

      Cheers

      I don’t know the song, will have to give it a lsiten…. but the lyrics are awesome, and extremely relevant. Thanks for your feedback and letting me know about the song.
      Wixxy

  4. kabdoo says:

    It’s great. Since loading up my iphone with my old stuff, I’ve begun rediscovering my record collection. Listening to some of the pop songs with older ears has made them sound even more relevant than they were when I heard them the first time. I didn’t know how profound the lyrics to “Lawyers in Love” and “The Pretender” were till I lived through some of the things he refers to in them.

    BTW, great blog. Hope it goes from strength to strength.

    My blog used to be public and was getting a few hundred visitors a month even after I stopped updating it but I made it private because of what I saw happening on TAB and was afraid for my family’s safety.

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