While it is hard to find anything good from such horror the recent Norwegian tragedy has had at least one positive: the accused has not been described as ‘having a mental illness’ – a term generally used when we meet unexplainable horror.
Nor is he, as initial reports stated, part of a Muslim group. Instead this person is a ‘right-wing fundamentalist Christian’.
He is of course, not following any belief held by Muslim or Christian and I am pleased that he is not described as having mental illness. Rather, it is clear that this individual is simply bad - not mad nor deluded, just an evil self-obsessed person who we would be better off without.
The reason I am talking about this is because of the stigmatizing coverage often given to such individuals, coverage that often leads to wounding experiences for members of the same group. “Grouping” or making the assumption that because 1 person belonging to a group does a bad thing, all members of that group will do the same, may make the world easier to understand, but it also produces very negative consequences for others.
As an example, and in an attempt to help us understand how such evil can exist in Australia when we had the horrific massacre carried out at Port Arthur the perpetrator (naming rubbish gives it greater value - so I won't) is not simply evil rubbish, they are ‘mentally ill’. Such a description puts unnecessary and unreasonable fear into the general population and, as a result, people do what seems the logical and obvious solution; people want to get as far as possible away from similarly described people on the sound grounds they might repeat comparable actions.
The truth is that people who experience mental illness are not generally bad – they are most frequently sad. This is a truth as real as the fact that the majority of Christians (and Muslims) are unlikely to commit horrific massacres.
Not ‘mad’ – just plain bad.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims of this horrible event.
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