I've just read part of the manifesto of the Norway killer, Anders Behring Breivik. If this thing is the real deal, then the cold logical part of me says this - I doubt anyone could have stopped him.
This was not a flash in the pan - he started planning this in 2002. Nine years in the making.
He was native born, and was careful to not bring himself to the attention of the authorities.
He managed to conceal his thoughts, motives and travel plans from all his closest friends and family. No one had a clue. He was very disciplined. There were no leaks.
He's obviously educated and quite smart. Mad, but bright. He's Norwegian, and the manifesto is written in better English than most native English speakers could manage.
He had his own money - hundreds of thousands of Euros. It appears to have been made legitimately, so there are no connection to criminal activities like drug running or bank robbery; and no connections to foreign sources either like charities or foreign governments.
He developed a lot of very sound cover stories - which all held up.
His information management was good. He was meticulous and careful.
He trained and prepared for his mission.
He was the perfect sleeper in a lot of ways. It would have been very hard for any intelligence agency or Police force to have picked him up in advance - they'd have to get lucky, and it appears he didn't slip up - ever.
And he was also a stone-cold killer. How anyone could walk around for 90 minutes shooting kids is beyond me.
I can see his motive too, which many appear to have missed. He's angry about Muslim immigration (amongst other things), and he blames the Labour Party for that. His motive was to punish the Labour Party and its supporters and members in the nastiest possible way. The kids at that camp would be the kids of committed Labour Party members - perhaps even of serving MPs and party officials. He's slugged them where it hurts the most - through their children. You'd have to be a bastard of the first order to think that one up. I guess he's tried to eliminate the next generation of the Labour Party, hoping that if he can wreck the party, it will remove support for immigration from parliament. That's a cold and ruthless way to steer the political process - eliminate my enemies so they can't vote for things I hate.
I know it's the done thing to describe this guy as a madman, but clearly he wasn't mad. He was bright, thoughtful, resourceful, meticulous and consistent - not the normal signs of someone who is nuts.
Our saving grace is that western societies don't throw these sorts of people up very often. They're either ideologically motivated and stupid and careless, or ideological and don't have the guts to go through with it. It's rare to find someone in the west with the combination of being ideologically motivated, smart and with the balls to go all that way. And yes, it would take balls. He would have been resigned to either dying, or spending the rest of his life in prison. That's enough to stop most people from committing violent acts. His life is over, and he consciously made that decision. He might be a completely repellent bastard, but if we fail to think about what he's done, how and why then we are doomed to suffer a repeat.