Lone Wolf killer – Anders Behring Breivik (2011)

To the last of my knowledge, the above mentioned is still alive and rather well (physically at least) and imprisoned in the north European state of Norway.

To analyse him (from secondary accounts), I picked something published in 2015. The reason for the 4 year gap and not merely a newspaper article in 2011 was to establish a greater emotional distance. One professor I studied under felt 10 years was an adequate amount of time for the dust to settle (the event he referred to was the Persian Gulf War in 1990/91). By inference, this enabled greater objectivity, and perhaps even the leaking of hidden government records to shed more light.

Turrettini, the author of the book – The Mystery of the Lone Wolf Killer : Anders Behring Breivik and the Threat of Terror in Plain Sight – is a Norwegian based in Switzerland. She was aided significantly by Kathleen M. Puckett, someone with extensive experience in examining ‘lone wolfs’ for the US Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The acts of violence perpetrated by Breivik, according to the two ladies, are preventable. That is the gist of their argument. It takes though a great deal of observation by the community regarding telltale signs and intelligence by authorities (one suggestion was to communicate with the extremist/far right groups and find out who has been trying to get involved). Apparently, people with such deadly potential show an exceeding amount of interest in weapons.

Lone wolfs are too ‘subtle’. It seems, they like people who end up committing suicide, would have a somewhat similar ideation phase. They experience isolation and extended ‘alienation’.  In this period,  Puckett opines that the lone wolfs replace the vacuum created by failed human interaction with extremist ideology. [p.29] The book also put across that Breivik had to convince himself to kill. That took time…

One proposed root of the killings in July 2011 was (and it continues to exist) the stifling climate. This could arguably be termed as a form of majoritarianism or tyranny of the majority. The ‘Law of Jante’ enforces equality. This starts young from the education system. If you desire to be above the rest then one is deemed a ‘misfit’. [p.28] Eventually, the adolescents in Norway ‘…don’t even ask any questions.’ [p.36]

Breivik was compared to Timothy McVeigh who bombed Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City in the 1990s. Both of them were working for ‘…recognition and achievement.’ [p.40] I cannot help wonder, if Breivik had been put in an educational system and society more tolerant of variation and excellence, would he still be in prison today? 


Unni Turrettini. (2015). The Mystery of the Lone Wolf Killer : Anders Behring Breivik and the Threat of Terror in Plain Sight. New York. Pegasus Crime.


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