We must learn very specific lessons from this tragedy to prevent similar ones in the future. First though we need to read and reflect on the horrific accounts, look at the heartbreaking pictures, empathize with the victims and their families, and grieve. The word “tragedy” isn’t sufficient.
We learned from Norwegian friends’ Facebook accounts that two of the dead are from Hamar where we lived for a semester a few years ago. Our closest Norwegian friend’s 19 year-old daughter lives in an Oslo flat. My email generated an automatic reply, because like most Norwegians, she’s on vacation.
There’s no way to eliminate xenophobia, hatred, or evil, but we can monitor fertilizer sales, restrict gun ownership and ammunition sales, and tighten security so that one can’t fake being a police officer.
In starting to problem solve, I’m not heeding my own advice. There will be plenty of time to discuss the lessons and debate how best to limit such colossal acts of violence.
Now is the time to sit in still, sad, solidarity with Norwegians near and mostly far.