We have our little boxes for people. “Christian fundamentalist” – although Breivik insists in his own screed that he’s not religious (“Although I am not a religious person myself, I am usually in favor of a revitalization of Christianity in Europe” p. 676) . “Psychopath,” though he has no criminal record, and his former stepmother describes him as a nice guy. Perhaps we are dealing with a new psychology, a new class of criminal – aided and abetted by technology and mass communication – and none of our usual boxes fit. Perhaps psychology itself doesn’t fit. As Apostolidès said, some in this growing class of murderers are more than willing to kill brutally to promote their ideas. A scary thought, and apparently a contagious one. Each atrocity attempts to outdo the other in scope and depravity. It seems like we are trapped, globally, in an irreversible spiral of imitated violence. Violence, as René Girard notes, spreads mimetically like a fever over the planet.
more from Cynthia Haven at The Book Haven here.