Our hearts are with the people of Oslo, Norway as they continue to cope with the horrific bombing and shooting attack that took place last week.
Anders Behring Breivik, the 32-year-old Norwegian, killed a total of 68 people on the Utoeya Island, where hundreds of young people had gathered for a summer camp organized by the ruling AUFs (Workers’ Youth League) Labour Party, and eight people when he detonated a bomb inside a Oslo government building.
As Americans, we know the effects of how a national tragedy can alter a country. The September 11, 2001 attacks changed the lives of Americans forever, it was our generation’s Pearl Harbor, a moment that we will never forget.
Now, the Norwegian people are facing the same shock as they struggle to re-build their nations morale and spirit.
Known as a peaceful low-crime nation, the shooting attacks and bombings proved that Norway is not immune to violence and the home of the Noble Peace Prize has to look at how their government will manage to secure the nation against homegrown terrorism.
Hours after the attack, Norway’s Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg told his fellow Norwegians, “Norway will stand together … We suffer with the wounded and stand with the relatives. I have a message to whoever attacked us and whoever is behind them. You will not destroy us. You will not destroy our democracy and our ideals for a better world. We are a small nation and a proud nation. No one will bomb us into silence. No one will shoot us into Silence. No one can stop us from being Norway.”
An honest and patriotic sentiment from a leader to his nation, but where does Norway go from here?
Carrying out his horrific attacks, Anders has now changed the inner workings of the Norwegian government. Before the attacks, government officials would walk without bodyguards and some would even take public transportation to work, with the recent bombings and shooting attacks this will most likely change.
This is a test for a society, how will the Norwegians react to this monstrous act?
Pictured above: Prime Minister of Norway Jens Stoltenberg (L) holds his wife Ingrid Schulerud (C) as Princess Martha Louisa of Norway (R) looks on as thousands of people gather at a memorial vigil following Friday’s twin extremist attacks on July 25, 2011 in Oslo, Norway.
The aftermath and inclusion of government programs after the terrorist attacks is something Americans know all too well and Norwegians should brace themselves for.
In 2002, the United States government established the Homeland Security Act and created the Department of Homeland Security and passed the USA Patriot Act. What the Patriot Act did was allow law enforcement to invade the privacy of citizens in order to gather information of would-be terrorist operations, homegrown and international.
Immigration, security and changing gun laws are all issues the Norwegian government has to do to ensure something like this doesn’t happen again.
According to documents published after the shooting attacks and bombings, Anders said he bought his automatic rifle for “hunting deer,” he also bought a telescopic scope and a silencer by mail order.
Americans faced this same test in 2001, but it didn’t break our spirits and we are stronger now than ever before.
We know the Norwegian people will survive this tragedy. They will come out of this stronger than before and they won’t let a crazed madman dictate how they live their lives.