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A peaceful existence shattered by terrorism

July 26, 2011
Marshall Independent

Norway's mostly tranquil way of life was shattered Friday when an obscure, cold-blooded terrorist, Anders Breivik, admittedly opened fire on young people attending a political retreat after setting off a bomb in the downtown capital city of Oslo. Officials say 76 people were killed in the attacks that brought terror to this peaceful country of 5 million people. The attacks hit home for a lot of people in the United States - according to the 2006 U.S. Census, there are more than 4 million Norwegian Americans and there is a very strong Norwegian presence in Minnesota where Norwegians began settling in the 1820s. More than half the population of Milan, Minn., is Norwegian, and a number of other area cities also have a heavy Norwegian influence - places like Dawson, Boyd, Clarkfield, Montevideo, Granite Falls, Westbrook, and Porter to name a few. The attacks once again have proven that terrorism is not only alive and well in the 21st century but it can rise up at any time and tear apart lives anywhere, even those places one would least expect it. It has also proven that terrorism isn't restricted to Middle Eastern groups like Al-Qaida. That's what makes extremists so terrifying - people like Breivik don't exactly stand out or resemble the physical picture of terrorists we have created in our minds since 9/11. This is a man who looks more like that of a TV celebrity than a radical capable of shooting innocent teenagers at point-blank range. Terrorism has the muscle to change entire countries; we need look no further than our own borders for proof of that, and now Norway, like the United States before it, is changed forever. This is a country where police officers don't even carry guns regularly, a country with little or no security at government buildings. Why? Because they didn't think anything like this could happen there. As we approach the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, the tragedy in Norway has once again reminded us and the world that there is no safe haven from terrorism.



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