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The following is a feature article from the LARB Quarterly Journal: Spring 2015 edition. To pick up your copy of the Journal, become a member of the Los Angeles Review of Books or order a copy at amazon.com, indiebound.com, or b&n.com;.
ON THE AFTERNOON of July 22, 2011, a young Norwegian named Anders Behring Breivik parked his white Volkswagen Crafter outside of the government building where the prime minister and other politicians kept their offices. The car was packed with a fertilizer bomb similar to the one Timothy McVeigh used to blow up the federal building in Oklahoma 16 years earlier. By the time Breivik’s bomb went off, leaving eight dead and many wounded and downtown Oslo looking like a war zone, the 32-year-old killer was in a cab on his way to the harbor. Dressed as a policeman and carrying a bag of semiautomatic firearms, he boarded a ferry to the small island of Utøya, roughly 40 kilometers northwest of the capital, where 600 teenagers, most of them children of members of Norway’s Labour Party, were enjoying a day at summer camp. In a little over an hour, 69 young men and women, most of them between the ages of 14 and 30, were indiscriminately gunned down in the shade of the island’s dense pine forest. When he could find no more people on the ground to shoot, Breivik began firing at those in the water attempting to escape.