A Decade of Unprecedented Death:
Record Breaking Mass Shootings &
The Need for Global Gun Control
Marking the 7th Anniversary of the Norway Massacre
A flower memorial facing Norway’s Utoya island where that country’s worst case of modern mass murder occurred on July 22, 2011.
On this date exactly 7 years ago, on July 22, 2011 the competition began – the competition to kill the most number of victims in a public mass shooting during the 2nd decade of the 21st century.
One would assume this ghoulish contest would have begun in the USA, with its competitive drive based in an almost capitalist need for each perpetrator to outdo the rest by breaking the record for the most people shot dead in one sitting, but that would be too obvious to occur in a place well known for its unyielding attachment to guns. Instead the competition began in the most unlikely place imaginable. A place that not only had one of the lowest homicide rates from firearms anywhere in the world but ironically, was the site where a Prize was awarded each year to those who fostered the exact opposite of gun violence. That being the Nobel Peace Prize and the place being Oslo, Norway.
And what better way to demonstrate how guns desecrate life than to have nearly all of its victims be at the very start of each of theirs as young adults or teenagers, since all but seven of the 69 victims who lost their life in Norway’s mass shootings were 25 years old and under, with 33 of them being children under the age of 18.
Being the blood bath that would initiate the competitive drive to kill for an entire decade, Norway’s massacre was deceptive in nearly every way to show just how much society was reverting back to a complacent perspective that was no longer acceptable in these modern times.
When news was first released of a car bomb being detonated in Oslo followed not too long afterwards by the announcement that numerous people had been shot, the world’s knee jerk reaction, including mine, was to immediately assume an Islamic terrorist group was responsible but this was not the case. Norway’s many layers of deception lent itself to making it a mass shooting that was far from “typical”.
In 2011, the world presumed if there was an occasion involving guns with numerous shooting victims, the “typical” cause would be Muslim and/or Middle Eastern in origin and at bare minimum the shootings had to have been brought about by an unassimilated foreigner (s) – this was not the case with Norway’s gun man.
As far as mass shootings in general go, the formulaic “typical” ending is after actively gunning down as many victims as possible, the gunman almost always would kill himself soon there afterwards – this was also not the case with Norway’s gun man.
The source behind Norway’s recent Day of Destruction was a non-Muslim, home grown Norwegian named Anders Behring Breivik who still lives today.
Breivik not only shot 69 people dead, he also killed 8 others with a car bomb which detonated in downtown Oslo earlier in the day.
The car bomb was of his own making, created in his home after gathering up enough fertilizer for his imaginary company “Brevik Geofarm” which he falsely claimed cultivated vegetables and melons.
The tall, blonde haired resident of Oslo credited the video game “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2” for honing his shooting skills since he was able to lethally shoot so many victims and not just merely wound them.
On the morning of July 22, 2011, Breivik drove a van into downtown Oslo and parked it in front of several government buildings. He exited the area and set the bomb off by remote control The blast was heard 5 miles away and killed 8 people.
Breivik then took public transportation and proceeded to board a ferry headed for the vacation island of Utoya. He was dressed in a mock policeman’s uniform of his own making while wearing a mask, holding a Glock pistol in one hand with a Ruger mini-14 semi-automatic rifle in the other and strapped to the hilt with ammunition for both weapons that was purchased over the internet from the United States.
Every summer the island of Utoya was the site of Norway’s Labour Party Youth Camp and at the time around 600 teenagers and young adults were taking part in the activities being held there.
Upon embarking from the ferry onto the island, Breivik removed his mask and signaled to those closest by to gather around him since they were anxious to hear details regarding a bomb going off in Oslo. They proceeded to do so since after all, the man was wearing a police uniform and spoke Norwegian.
When they were in close enough range, Breivik proceeded to randomly mow people down with his semi-automatic rifle. Survivors have since said that many at first thought an emergency test drill was being conducted so as one group of people fell from being shot, they were initially replaced by even more teenagers approaching Breivik instead of making a mad dash away from the killer, assuming they were then going to be asked to administer their faux first aid skills.
They soon enough realized this was not a test.
Even those who were only wounded Breivik would walk past and proceed to shoot again in the head. Those who ran into the island’s cabins tried contacting their parents with their cell phones. One girl sat huddled in a corner and managed to get a hold of her father. She was informing him of what was happening when Breivik came into the room. With the father still on the other end of the line, he heard his daughter scream followed by the call being lost. Breivik had shot through both her cell phone as well as her head.
The shooting spree lasted for an hour and a half. Many tried to swim to the mainland despite Breivik wounding a number of swimmers by shooting directly into the water. One teen died falling off a cliff while running in a panic to get away from the gunman. Breivik supposedly called 911 twice to surrender himself. When he got through a first time he hung up to shoot people after discovering some teens running in the distance. He continued shooting until getting through a 2nd time only to hang up again.
Oslo’s police force at that time did not have helicopters at their disposal and the one ferry to the mainland was nowhere to be found due to its operator hearing the gunshots and maneuvering the ferry off its usual route a far distance away from the island. By the time authorities arrived on Utoya, the teenagers they encountered resisted them demanding they remove their weapons to show they weren’t aligned with the killer who was, lest we not forget, dressed in a policeman’s uniform.
In all, on July 22nd, 2011 77 people were killed in Norway. Eight of them from the car bombing and 69 from being shot to death by Anders Behring Breivik.
The past was soon referenced with it being said that 2011’s killing spree was the worst in Norway’s history since the Second World War. Matching that historical reference, it was revealed that Anders Behring Breivik was a member of a Swedish neo-Nazi group called “Nordisk”.
Norway’s massacre took place at the start of the 21st century’s 2nd decade and the last seven years in the United States alone have had mass shootings with death tolls creeping ever closer to Anders Behring Breivik’s with each one breaking the record of the last for most people shot dead by a lone gunman in one consecutive display of terror.
A year after Norway’s nightmare in December of 2012, a mass murder occurred a mere 8 minutes from where I grew up in an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut. Like Norway, the victims were young in age except this time around of the 27 victims who lost their lives, 20 of them were first graders between the ages of 5 and 6 years old. The gunman, 20 year old Adam Lanza directly referenced Norway’s murders stating he “wanted to kill more people than Anders Behring Breivik” whom he claimed to be a big fan of. Lanza chose Sandy Hook Elementary because it had the most number of, as he put it, “potential targets”.
Since the year of Sandy Hook’s shootings between 2012 and the present time, numerous mass shootings have occurred in this country such as the movie theater killings in Aurora, Colorado where 12 people were shot to death by James Holmes in July of that same year, along with the murder of 9 at a Bible study group in a church in Charleston, South Carolina by gunman Dylan Roof in June of 2015, but let’s review just the “record breakers” unto themselves.
In June of 2016, the worst case mass murder in American history by a lone gunman (at the time) occurred in Orlando, Florida when Omar Mateen open fired at people dancing at the Pulse Nightclub, killing 50 people in all.
Not to be outdone, 2017 broke Orlando’s record when on October 1st of that year in Las Vegas, 64 year old gunman Stephen Paddock open fired on a crowd gathered at a country music festival from the 32nd floor of his hotel room, killing 58 people in total and thus holding the current record for most number of people shot and killed in one sitting on American soil.
Since Las Vegas’ record breaker last October, many more mass shootings have taken place in this country. Two of the more noteworthy blood baths caused by gun violence being November of 2017’s church shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas where 25 people attending Sunday services were shot to death by gunman Devin Patrick Kelley and the Valentine’s Day Massacre which occurred at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida this past February 14th where 19 year old gun man Nicholas Cruz murdered 17 people on yet another school campus.
With just 2 years left before the close of the 2nd decade of the 21st century, the United States is bound to surpass Norway as the global record holder with the most number of people shot to death by a lone gun man, given the fact so little has changed to instill more gun control in this county while so much active effort has been taken to prevent it.
Going by the rising number of victims associated with each record breaking event of mass shooting taking place in the United States if the status quo continues with nothing being done about gun control, this country stands to be back on top well before the end of the decade where America sure enough will be made “great again”,
…but for all the wrong, shamefully tragic reasons.