7/23/2011

"Norway Gunman Fired For 1.5 Hours On Island"


Well, I guess that this article explains why so many people were killed. Unfortunately, no one was around for 1.5 hours with a gun to stop this. From Fox News:

A gunman who opened fire on an island teeming with young people kept shooting for 1.5 hours before surrendering to a SWAT team, which arrived 40 minutes after they were called, police said Saturday.
Survivors of the shooting spree have described hiding and fleeing into the water to escape the gunman, but a police briefing Saturday detailed for the first time how long the terror lasted -- and how long victims waited for help.
When the SWAT team arrived, the gunman, who had two firearms, surrendered, said Police Chief Sveinung Sponheim.
"There were problems with transport to Utoya" island, where the youth-wing of Norway's Labor Party was holding a retreat, Sponheim said. "It was difficult to get a hold of boats, but that problem was solved when the SWAT team arrived."
At least 85 people were killed on the island, but police said four or five people were still missing. Divers have been searching the waters around the island. . . .


Google Maps indicates that the distance from the shore to this island is less than 2,000 feet, less than 4 tenths of a mile. From the Associated Press:

Police arrived at an island massacre about an hour and a half after a gunman first opened fire, slowed because they didn't have quick access to a helicopter and then couldn't find a boat to make their way to the scene just several hundred yards (meters) offshore. The assailant surrendered when police finally reached him, but 82 people died before that.
Survivors of the shooting spree have described hiding and fleeing into the water to escape the gunman, but a police briefing Saturday detailed for the first time how long the terror lasted — and how long victims waited for help. . . .
A SWAT team was dispatched to the island more than 50 minutes after people vacationing at a campground said they heard shooting across the lake, according to Police Chief Sveinung Sponheim. The drive to the lake took about 20 minutes, and once there, the team took another 20 minutes to find a boat.
Footage filmed from a helicopter that showed the gunman firing into the water added to the impression that police were slow to the scene. They chose to drive, Sponheim said, because their helicopter wasn't on standby.
"There were problems with transport to Utoya," where the youth-wing of Norway's left-leaning Labor Party was holding a retreat, Sponheim said. "It was difficult to get a hold of boats." . . .


So why couldn't they have sent over four or five people at a time go over to the island? Reuters has this story here:

The near-sinking of a police boat and a decision to await a specially armed unit from Oslo some 45 km (28 miles) away delayed the Norwegian police response to an island where a gunman killed 86 people.
"When so many people and equipment were put into it, the boat started to take on water, so that the motor stopped," said Erik Berga, police operations chief in northern Buskerud County.
"The boat was way too small and way too poor," he said, referring to a police vessel that had been transported to the scene from nearby Hoenefoss for crossing to Utoeya island. . . .


Apparently the attack was planned for two years in advance.

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2 Comments:

Blogger Ivan said...

True, one armed citizen could have prevented or stopped this killings. But this massacre was a single incident. Without armed citizens and only a lightly armed, apparently inept, police force and a criminal justice system that releases murderers after 21 years, in 2009 Norway had a murder rate of .60 per 100,000. In 2010, the US had a murder rate of 4.8. The question should not be whether the US should repeal the Second Amendment or whether Norway should arm its citizens. The question should be what combination of factors creates a safe nation with a high quality of life.

10/03/2011 2:21 PM  
Blogger John Lott said...

Dear Ivan:
In case you didn't realize it, Norway has a very high gun ownership rate, not that far below the rate in the US. Yet, as you point out, Norway has a very low murder rate. Of course, Switzerland has one of the highest gun ownership rates in the world and they have consistently had one of the lowest murder rates in Europe. BTW, about 75 percent of US murders occur in a little over 3 percent of the counties (they contain about 23 percent of the total population). Those also happen to be the low gun ownership rate counties. 50 percent of the US counties have zero murders in any given year, and those are the high gun ownership counties.

10/03/2011 11:28 PM  

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