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Anders Behring Brevik is he insane ?

Dear Reader,

Some time ago Anders Behring Brevik set off a car bomb and went on a vile shooting rampage. I hold a view that this was a crime against society as a whole as well as against those who were killed or injured. As this blog is a family show I will not remind you of the fine details of his nefarious deeds. Now many of us were waiting for this disgusting wretch to be put on trial for his many crimes. But then he was ruled to have paranoid schizophrenia and thus be not guilty by reason of insanity / mental disease or defect. If he is not guilty by ‘reason of insanity / mental disease or defect’. If he is insane then he should not be allowed to go free but instead be placed in a high security hospital such as Broadmoor. I am sure that somewhere in Norway that such a hospital can be found.

But now a court in Norway has ordered that a new report should be made by some experts on the mental state of Brevik. The media in Norway have revealed that four experts who were given the job of looking after Brevik’s mental health in prison think that he is sane.

Now as a layperson I can not comment on his exact state of mind but like many people I hold the view that be able to commit such vile murders something has to be wrong in a person’s mind. Normal men and women do not go on bomb and gun rampages when something irks them.

The use of the insanity defence is a interesting and sometimes controversal matter. I have an important question “how mentally ill does a person have to be before they are unable to tell right from wrong and thus be unable to form the criminal intent to commit a crime ?” I do not have an easy answer for this question. John Douglas the former FBI officer who wrote “The Anatomy of Motive” commented on page 35 of the book that many people who do violent crimes have something wrong with their mind, but in many cases the disorder of the mind does not remove their ability to make the choice of “do I commit the crime or not commit the crime”.

One answer came from the case of Daniel M’Naghten, this is “To establish a defence on the ground of insanity it must be clearly proved, that, at the time of committing the act, the party accused was labouring under such a defect of reason from disease of the mind, as not to know the nature and quality of the act he was doing, or if he did know it, that he did not know that what he was doing was wrong.”

I suspect that Brevik knew that he was doing something wrong when he was bombing and shooting which suggests to me that he has failed the classic UK insanity test. I also think that a danger exists that the use of the insanity defense may harm the interests of the many people who have mental health problems or mental handicaps. The vast majority of the mentally ill are not dangerous to the general public, if anything they are more of a threat to themselves. I feel it would be very sad if a sane man was to try to hide behind an insanity defense and thus stigmatize further the mentally ill of the world. Thankfully MIND and other organisations are trying to end the stigmatization of the mentally ill, but I suspect that a few high profile cases might put their noble cause back by decades. I think that for the good of society we need to make sure that such a thing does not happen.


2 Responses

  1. You claim you suspect Anders was doing something wrong when he shot people. Based on your opinion, not what Anders was thinking or said to the public, you decided he isn’t insane. If someone fell off a bridge bridge then lands into the water and survives but they are in a coma. Would you suggest they were suicidal, because you supect they must of jumped off the bridge and must be suicidal. Would if they fell?? My aunt has schizophrenia. She threw her bird out the window one day because a voice told her to get rid of it because it was evil. She loves birds and she cried after she realized what had happened. Yes, she goes to church and she is not possessed.

  2. In the case of Anders B. Brevik it is clear that he has something wrong with his mind. But having something wrong with your mind does not automatically make you insane.

    Myra Hindley (The sexual sadist who murdered children) clearly had something very nasty which was wrong with her mind, but she was still sane (She went to prison).

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