The nightmare in Norway

The latest reports say eighty young people were gunned down on Utoya Island in Norway, and seven killed in the Oslo bombing. The questions now are who did it, and why.

I’ve run across some wild speculation that it was an Islamic group, which would have meant we were in for months of furious howling and recriminations and righteous anger from conservatives. There’s nothing quite like the boogeyman coming to life to stir the Right into paroxysms of self-vindication and pious demands for action.

Unfortunately, the right-wing story line may very well be thoroughly derailed. The Norwegian police have a suspect in custody: Anders Behring Breivik, a right-wing extremist, a Christian, a nationalist, and Islamophobe. Oops.

If it turned out to be an action by Al Qaeda or angry immigrants, we’d be in for many denunciations of Islam. If it turned out to be an action angry conservative Christians, do you think we’d get similar denunciations of right-wing extremism? I don’t think so. Expect Fox News to lose interest very quickly if the culprit turns out to be a white guy.