From what is known about Anders Behring Breivik (from now on referred to as ABB), he appears to have had some issues during his upbringing. His parents separated when he was about 1 year old, and was raised alongside his half-sister by their single mother. ABB’s father petitioned for full custody, but the petition was later withddrawn. Later, ABB lost all connection with his father. His mother never re-married. ABB grew up in a middle class area of Oslo, and attended kindergarten and schools of high educational quality.
At the age of 4, child protective services became involved due to suspicions of neglect. The official evaluation concluded that ABB should be removed from his home, but this course of action was never implemented. As a teenager he became involved in a peer group that spent much time doing tagging, and at one point he was arrested and fined for this activity.
While he did move out of his mother’s house in early adulthood, he moved back in with her in 2006. Despite his circumstances, he took great care in his appearance (e.g. clothing, hair).
ABB completed the equivalent of UK A-levels. He never attended University, but claimed to be self-taught at this level through comprehensive reading of Wikipedia.
ABB considered himself an entrepreneur, and was central in the start-up of several more or less successful companies. From 2002 and onwards, ABB sold fraudulent qualification diplomas online, and in a 4 year period he made over 300 000 GBP. However, in 2006 the company was shut down by the authorities. As a result he lost all his savings, including a substantial amount he had borrowed from his mother. ABB had no recorded income after 2006.
ABB engaged periodically in social activities with friends from school, but in the years leading up to the offence he was described as somewhat of a loner. ABB spent much time playing computer games, and especially World of Warcraft.
ABB was political active in the “Progress Party’s” (wing conservative political party) youth organization in the early 2000’s. He was not affiliated with this party at the time of the attacks. However, he was a Freemason and also affiliated with the Norwegian Defence League (inspired by the English Defence League). Despite this, ABB had no known close associates, but was active on neo-Nazi websites.
Move to Rena
In the early spring of 2011 ABB moved to the small town of Rena in the south eastern part of Norway. Rena has approximately 2100 inhabitants and is the seat of one of the largest military bases in Norway. ABB rented a small farm, where he planned his future attacks. He used the farm as a cover to gain access to fertilizers and chemicals that could be used as ingredients in bombs.
Motivation and Manifesto
During the planning stage, ABB wrote a comprehensive manifesto where he outlined his motivation and viewpoints. He harbored strong anti-Islamic and anti-multiculturalism attitudes, and blamed the ruling Norwegian Labour Party for destroying Norway and Norwegian culture.
The Attacks/Offences that took place 22nd of July 2011
Bombing of Parliament Buildings
In the afternoon of Friday July the 22nd 2011, ABB drove a car bomb as close as possible to the Parliament Building where the prime minister had his office (in the heart of Oslo). He left the car, and fled the scene as later observed on CCTV footage. At 15:25:22 the bomb went off, and killed 8 people. In addition, 9 were critically wounded, and approximately 200 escaped with minor injuries. The bomb caused material damages all over downtown Oslo, but would likely have caused a higher death count if ABB had not been delayed in traffic.
Shooting at Utøya
As soon as the bomb had been planted, ABB drove to Utøya outside of Oslo. Ongoing at Utøya was the youth summer camp for the Labour party’s youth organization. Dressed as a police officer to gain the trust of the youths and claimed to bring news of the bomb in downtown Oslo. The first shot fell at 17.27 (5.27 pm). ABB shot everyone he saw, often multiple times to ensure a high death count. He had also purchased special ammunition online that was designed to be as deadly as possible. According to his plans, he assumed that those who tried to escape the shots by swimming to the mainland would drown. While ABB showed little to no mercy during his rampage, he is known to at least have spared two youths. One he considered to be too young to have been indoctrinated with left wing propaganda, and one he thought resembled himself in physical appearance. When the Norwegian equivalent of a SWAT team arrived on the island, ABB surrendered willingly (at 18.34). 69 people, most of them young teenagers, were dead after the massacre. 58 others, many of them in critical condition, required immediate medical attention.
ABB acted alone.
Total death count: 77 people.
Apprehension and Interviewing
ABB surrendered willingly to the police and was cooperative during police interviews. The police officers interviewed him using an adaptation of the P.E.A.C.E model.
Trial and the Forensic Psychiatry Controversy
During the entire trial ABB repeatedly stated that he did not recognize the Norwegian court, and claimed his actions were grounded in emergency law and self defense. ABB greeted the court with neo-Nazi salutes, and attempted to use the court as a forum for spreading his beliefs. Initially, two forensic psychiatrists diagnosed ABB with schizophrenia and stated that he was not criminally responsible for the acts committed. Instead of prison, treatment in a secure facility was recommended. This diagnosis was questioned by political forces and the court, and the report was reviewed by the Forensic Medicine Committee. The Committee supported the report. A second report was also commissioned, where the two new forensic psychiatrists concluded that ABB did not suffer from schizophrenia and was not psychotic at the time of the attacks. However, what was not contested was the fact that ABB was under the influence of a cocktail consisting of Efedrin, Caffeine, and Nikotin in order to enhance his “performance”.
The final verdict stated that the court viewed him as criminally responsible for his actions. He was sentenced to 21 years in “forvaring” (i.e. they can extend his sentence 5 years at a time if he is proven to still be a risk).
While he initially claimed to have prepared himself to withstand torture by police, he has repeatedly complained about the standard of care in Skien Prison (states that prison is “torture” and “cruel and unusual punishment”). He is especially upset about the lack of entertainment in the form of video games etc. ABB has not shown any signs of remorse. Due to his segregation status he does not socialize with other prisoners. He has been known to send letters to the media and to researchers, but there are restrictions in place that dictates who he can communicate with.
Both survivors and next of kin (of survivors and deceased) have reported severe psychological trauma and symptoms of PTSD.
WHAT YOU HAVE TO DO:
You have been provided with a case concerning a mass/spree killing with terrorist overtones. You will be expected to familiarise yourself thoroughly with that case study, and submit an assignment which analyses and discusses the case study concerning the psychological motivations behind these crimes. Please also discuss now that the perpetrators of these crimes is in prison what measures the authorities can undertake to prevent future recidivism.
The aim of the essay is for you to become better skilled at applying your criminal psychology knowledge to applied settings. There should be around 15-20 references and at least half of these should be journal articles. Your reference list does not count towards your 2.500 words. A 10% tolerance of the word count either way applies
The following main questions should guide your analysis and discussion
1. Why did ABB engage in such behaviour? Your discussion should be based in the scholarly literature. Please do not describe the case, but analyse it and discuss it.
2. Which rehabilitative efforts, if any, should be implemented for ABB? (Can he be rehabilitated??)
3. Discuss the risk level of ABB now and in the future. What is his risk of reoffending?