What really scares me is that I see two sides to this tragedy.
Competition for resources perceived as being increasingly scarce turns people into xenophobes. Conflict is to be expected. This isn’t just human behavior — it isn’t just mammalian behavior. It’s very primitive instinctual reaction deep in vertebrate ancestry.
Breivik’s behavior is quite clearly understandable to me up until he decided to start shooting — anyone. I understand shooting in self-defense. I understand shooting in anger. But shooting for idealistic purposes is indeed terrorism and most of us aren’t so stupid we need terrorism to remind us of the seriousness of perceived scarcity.
However, we also must take responsibility for what we do to provoke displays of xenophobia. People who go out of their way to identify themselves as being different will provoke more vehement reactions. I cover my tattoos when appropriate. If you dress differently than others, people will stare, point and perhaps even comment. They will also more closely notice your behavior. This goes in multiples if you have a dog with you, multiple piercings or are swathed in fabric.
That last bit is just an attempt to lighten up. I really must stop writing for free.