Cruel and unusual -- and that's the prisoner, not the punishment

Mass murderer Anders Breivik makes a salute after arriving in the courtroom at a courthouse in Oslo, Norway.

In 2012 I wrote a column about Anders Breivik, the Norwegian now serving a 21-year prison sentence for killing 77 people, most of them teenagers, in a bombing and a gun massacre in 2011.

His accommodations at the Ila Detention and Security Prison near Oslo are better than a lot of college dorm rooms I’ve seen. He’s got a three-room suite – a bedroom, a study with a desk and a room with exercise equipment. He has a video game system. He is paid a weekly allowance of 300 kroner ($49).

And he’s not going to take it anymore.

“You’ve put me in hell ... and I won’t manage to survive that long. You are killing me,” Breivik wrote to prison authorities last November. He’s threatening a hunger strike.

 

YOU BETTER believe he has a list of demands. If you choose to read further, I suggest you play some sad violin music in the background to properly set the mood:

• The chair in his suite is “painful.” He requests either a sofa or an armchair.

• His Sony PlayStation 2 console simply won’t do. He requests a PlayStation 3, with a broader choice of more “adult” games he can play.

• He doesn’t like his “worthless typewriter with technology dating back to 1873.” He requests a computer with Internet access.

• Prison officials monitor and censor all his mail, incoming and outgoing, which he says restricts and slows his contact with the outside.

• He wants his allowance doubled – mainly to pay for postage for the reams of correspondence he’s churning out on his “worthless typewriter.”

Before I go on, I probably should provide details on why Breivik is in jail.

First, he’s a racist – not a jailable offense, but it does place him beneath contempt right off the bat. It’s that racism that fueled nine years’ worth of preparation for his mass slayings.

On July 22, 2011, he bombed government buildings in Oslo, killing eight people. Then he traveled to Utøya island, the site of a Norwegian Labour Party youth camp. Posing as a police officer to be admitted on the island, he started his 69 executions within minutes.

Because the young campers were, in Breivik’s words, “young people who worked to actively uphold multicultural values,” he considered them “legitimate targets.”

 

SO HE STARTED killing. He killed them as they fled. He killed them as they dropped to their knees, pleading for their lives. He killed them as they were lying on the ground, playing dead and hoping they would be spared. He killed them as they tried to swim away from the island. One teen drowned trying to escape. Another teen fell off a cliff while trying to run.

That should give you an idea of how accommodating and reasonable he is.

Now, after perpetrating one of the most merciless mass murders in modern times, Breivik wants mercy from his jailers.

Oh, and a new video game. Maybe Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. That’s the video game he credits with helping him improve his shooting skills.

Part of prison’s role is to rehabilitate. Does he sound like he’s anywhere close to rehabilitation? All he’s doing is using every available resource to churn out screeds to spread his sick, toxic views to the public.

Here’s what you do, Norway. Cut Breivik’s three rooms down to one. Cut his allowance to, say, zero. Give him an even older typewriter. Swap out his “painful” chair for a stool.

And instead of video games, just give him a television. It will have one channel – showing a nonstop video slideshow of all his victims, narrated by the grieving family members. Oh, the TV’s off button is broken? Whoops.

Authorities are expected to render a decision by the time this column is published. I won’t say Breivik deserves outright torture.

But the victims’ families don’t deserve the gross insult of seeing their loved ones’ coddled killer whining about the supposedly poor quality of his new lodgings.

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