Manifesto suggests massacre suspect troubled, not insane, experts say
Several experts agreed that Anders Behring Breivik seems to have more in common with mass killers than with many typical extremists.
July 26th, 2011
07:45 PM ET

Manifesto suggests massacre suspect troubled, not insane, experts say

(CNN) - Norwegian massacre suspect Anders Behring Breivik's purported 1,500-page manifesto paints a picture of a deliberative, driven killer - not a rambling crazy person, criminologists said Tuesday.

Speaking to CNN after Breivik's attorney said his client "may be" insane, Brian Levin, a criminologist with California State University, San Bernardino, rejected the suggestion. Based on what is known at this point, "he's not crazy," Levin said; he is a "sociopath," but "not crazy."

Criminologist James Alan Fox of Northeastern University echoed those sentiments. "The behavior is crazy, but not necessarily the state of mind of the person committing it," he said. "Mass murderers rarely are psychotic. They know what they're doing. They don't hear voices in an empty room. They're mad, but (mad) in terms of bitter and resentful - not how we often use 'mad' to describe mental illness," he said.

Both said a "crazy" person can be commonly understood as someone who cannot tell the difference between right and wrong and does not understand the nature and consequences of his actions.

Breivik, 32, has acknowledged carrying out a bombing and a shooting rampage Friday, a judge said Monday. Authorities say eight people were killed in the bombing of an Oslo building that houses Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg's offices, and 68 were killed at a youth summer camp run by his ruling Labour Party. Breivik said the attacks were necessary to prevent the "colonization" of the country by Muslims, the judge said.

Experts - who have not met Breivik but have examined materials purported to be from him - had different takes Tuesday on whether the manifesto suggests he was motivated more by ideology or by a desire for infamy. But several agreed that he seems to have more in common with mass killers, from "Unabomber" Ted Kaczynski to Virginia Tech shooter Seung-Hui Cho, than with many terrorists and typical right-wing extremists.


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