How do we decide between giving people a chance and not trusting them? In Norway, Anders Behring Breivik shot and killed innocent people on Utøya. The cruelty of it all, shocked us. Norway used to be safe. Suddenly everything was turned upside down. Today my room-mate asked me: Should Anders Behring Breivik be released from prison after he`s done his time? An ethical dilemma that raises a lot of questions with no clear-cut answers. I won`t even try to answer this question, because I am not sure. My attitudes normally veers towards giving people second chances, but I also know that some people never change. Would it potentially harm more people if he was released? Could he do the same thing again?
This is a dilemma that engages all Norwegians. When the “Utøya” massacre happened, we stood together. We showed that we would not react with hate or fear. Even the families of those who died, tried to suppress their hatred and focused on getting through it all. The way we Norwegians reacted was talked about in the media all over the world. How could be talk about love after such a tragedy? Where was our blood-lust, or need for revenge? Off course, it was there. But something else was more important: To show that no matter what, we stand together.
But what happened to us, happens all over the world today. Unfathomable acts of violence happens every day. Refugees flee for their life, and tyrannic leaders kill thousands without guilt. What would be the right thing to do in these cases ? Could we forgive the ones who have so much blood on their hands that it never can be washed off? What about child-soldiers, and what about rapists and torturists? Here too, it is hard for me to say what would be the right way to react. Don`t we foster more hatred, mor war, more blood-lust by doing to them what they do to us? The balancing act of giving people another chance, and punishing them for life, is a tough one. But in my heart and mind I must believe that we don`t accomplish anything by being cruel. This doesn`t mean not to take action, but I do believe that we should consider more options than putting criminals in prison for life or executing them. Because there might be some potential for change, and as I see it, where there is potential there is hope. And if we don`t start to do things differently, the balance might just tip us all over the edge.