Terrorists have used the media to spread their message, from the Unabomber to Breivik.

Terrorist attacks, however horrible, do not threaten society or lead to seizures of power. What they do is draw attention to the terrorist’ message.

The media are in a bind. It is impossible to ignore the destruction of the World Trade Center or the slaughter of a hundred Norwegians. The terrorists put out their message, and everyone studies it to get clues to what motivate the terrorists and how to stymie them. But attention to their message is what the terrorists want, and are willing to engage in mass murder to get it.

The maximum sentence in Norway for any crime is 21 years. Breivik will be 53 when he gets out. Is he insane? He is a sociopath, but he certainly knew what he was doing and he knew right from wrong, however mistaken his political analysis may have been.

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