Killer in Norway massacre is sentenced - HISTORY
Year
2012

Killer in Norway massacre is sentenced

On this day in 2012, the man who killed 77 people in a July 22, 2011, bombing and shooting attack in Norway is sentenced to 21 years in prison, the maximum allowed under Norwegian law. Anders Behring Breivik, a 33-year-old right-wing extremist with anti-Muslim views, carried out attacks in Oslo, the nation’s capital, and at a youth camp on the nearby island of Utoya because he wanted to call attention to what he referred to as the “Islamic colonization” of Europe and inspire an uprising against it. The attacks were the deadliest the nation of 5 million residents had experienced since World War II.

The massacre began around 3:25 p.m. when Breivik detonated a van packed with explosives outside government offices in central Oslo, leaving eight people dead and more than 200 others injured. Approximately two hours later, Breivik, dressed as a police officer, arrived on Utoya Island, about 25 miles northwest of Oslo, at a summer camp for hundreds of teenagers organized by Norway’s governing Labour Party (whose liberal immigration policies Breivik opposed). There, he methodically shot and killed 69 people, many of them teens. Some of Breivik’s victims were trying to swim to safety when he gunned them down. More than an hour after the shooting rampage began, law enforcement officers arrived and Breivik surrendered.

Authorities later discovered that shortly before the deadly twin attacks Breivik had posted a 1,500-page manifesto online railing against multiculturalism and Islam, which he considered dangers to Europe. It also was learned that Breivik, who was raised in a middle-class Norwegian family, spent at least several years preparing for the attacks, setting up an agricultural business so he could buy chemicals to build explosives and playing computer war games, among other activities.

During Breivik’s 10-week trial in the spring of 2012, he admitted to carrying out the attacks but said his victims were complicit in their deaths because they supported multiculturalism and Muslim immigration, thereby putting Norway at risk, in his opinion. On August 24, 2012, Breivik was sentenced to 21 years in prison, the maximum sentence allowed in Norway, which does not have the death penalty. However, his sentence can be extended as long as he is considered a threat to society. Prosecutors had argued Breivik was insane and should be sent to a psychiatric institution rather than prison, but the court ruled he was sane, a decision that pleased Breivik, who wanted his attacks to be viewed as a political statement rather than dismissed as the actions of a mentally ill person.

A week before Breivik was sentenced, Norway’s national police commissioner resigned after a damaging report issued by an independent commission concluded police should have responded faster to the attacks and could have done more to prevent them.

ALSO ON THIS DAY

Saint Bartholomew’s Day Massacre

King Charles IX of France, under the sway of his mother, Catherine de Medici, orders the assassination of Huguenot Protestant leaders in Paris, setting off an orgy of killing that results in the massacre of tens of thousands of Huguenots all across France.Two days earlier, ...read more

Spain accepts Mexican independence

Eleven years after the outbreak of the Mexican War of Independence, Spanish Viceroy Juan de O’Donojú signs the Treaty of Córdoba, which approves a plan to make Mexico an independent constitutional monarchy.In the early 19th century, Napoleon’s occupation of Spain led to the ...read more

British capture and burn Washington

During the War of 1812, British forces under General Robert Ross overwhelm American militiamen at the Battle of Bladensburg, Maryland, and march unopposed into Washington, D.C. Most congressmen and officials fled the nation’s capital as soon as word came of the American defeat, ...read more

Vesuvius erupts

After centuries of dormancy, Mount Vesuvius erupts in southern Italy, devastating the prosperous Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum and killing thousands. The cities, buried under a thick layer of volcanic material and mud, were never rebuilt and largely forgotten in the ...read more

Poet Alan Seeger volunteers in French army

On this day in 1914, the American poet Alan Seeger volunteers for service in the French Foreign Legion during the First World War.Born in New York City in 1888, Seeger attended Harvard University, where his illustrious classmates in the Class of 1910 included the poet John Reed ...read more

U.S. unit refuses commander’s order

Company A of the Third Battalion, 196th Light Infantry Brigade refuses the order of its commander, Lieutenant Eugene Schurtz, Jr., to continue an attack that had been launched to reach a downed helicopter shot down in the Que Son valley, 30 miles south of Da Nang. The unit had ...read more

B-52s conduct heavy raids along the DMZ

U.S. B-52s carry out heavy bombing raids along the DMZ. In the United States, a radical protest group calling themselves the New Year’s Gang blew up in the Army Mathematics Research Center at the University of Wisconsin Army Mathematics Research Center in Madison. A graduate ...read more

Captain Webb swims English Channel

On August 24, 1875, Captain Matthew Webb of Great Britain becomes the first man to successfully swim the English Channel without assistance. After the feat, Webb became an international celebrity, admired for both his prowess in the water and his penchant for risk-taking.Born in ...read more

Elusive Mount of the Holy Cross photographed

William Henry Jackson becomes the first person to photograph Colorado’s elusive Mount of the Holy Cross, providing reliable proof of its existence.Rumors had abounded for years that a natural cross of snow lay hidden high in the rugged mountains of Colorado. Many claimed to have ...read more

John Lennon’s killer sentenced

On this day in 1981, Mark David Chapman is sentenced to 20 years to life for the murder of John Lennon, a founding member of The Beatles, one of the most successful bands in the history of popular music.On December 8, 1980, Chapman shot and killed the 40-year-old singer, ...read more

Eruption of Mount Vesuvius begins

Mount Vesuvius near Pompeii, Italy, begins to erupt on this day in the year 79; within the next 25 hours, it wipes out the entire town. Hundreds of years later, archaeologists excavated Pompeii and found everything and everyone that had been there that day perfectly preserved by ...read more

A Wall Street scheme is hatched

In January 1983, although little information had been exchanged, Boesky sent a courier with a secret code and a briefcase containing $150,000 in $100 bills to be delivered to Siegel at the Plaza Hotel.Despite the pressure, Siegel and Boesky met ata deliin January 1985, where ...read more

Confederate General George Steuart is born

Confederate General George Hume “Maryland” Steuart is born in Baltimore, Maryland.Steuart attended West Point and graduated in 1844. He served in various capacities in Texas, Kansas, and Nebraska, and he was part of General Albert S. Johnston’s expedition against the Mormons in ...read more