THE BLOG

Columbine and Norway Killings

07/26/2011 12:34 pm ET | Updated Sep 25, 2011
  • Jeff Kass Author of "Columbine: A True Crime Story"

Intersections between the Columbine and Norway killings are barely being touched upon so far, but at least one concerns the fiery issue of gun control.

Reporters, understandably, are focused on getting out the details before trying to make sense of them. The New York Times is now saying 93 are dead in the Oslo bombing and nearby shootings allegedly undertaken by right-wing extremist Anders Behring Breivik. The Times is also noting 96 ­injured.

Norway, according to various postings, seems to have strict gun control. The Times had this:

Arild Groven, secretary general of the Norwegian Shooting Association, a sports shooting group, confirmed that Mr. Breivik had belonged to Oslo Pistolklubb, one of the 520 clubs in the association, which has 30,000 members.

'We all read and watch the news about ­­the shootings in the United States,' Mr. Groven said. 'But it doesn't happen here.'

He said the process of obtaining a handgun license for sports shooting was strict, requiring a safety certification and a police background check.

This is not meant to be a pro or anti gun control posting. But what may be strict gun control in Norway will support those who say gun control is not the answer.

Gun control did flare as an issue after Columbine. Tom Mauser, the father of slain Columbine student Daniel Mauser, took it up after the April 20, 1999 shootings that left 15 dead, including the two killers.­­

The Columbine killers showed great determination in carrying out their act. The $64,000 question is whether they would have given up at some point if it had been harder to obtain guns, or kept going until they found a way to obtain the weapons. I have blogged about mass killings in China that have shades of Columbine, despite strict gun control in that country.

The other question I would raise is whether the Norway shootings would have occurred without Columbine. The perpetrators may have different motivations. But incidents like Columbine and Oklahoma City build upon themselves and give people the idea that a mass killing is the art of the possible.