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In September 2010 Jared Loughner made a video tour of Tucson's Pima Community College, which he dubbed "the genocide school". Pausing at the bookstore, he said: "They're controlling the grammar." At the end of his tour, he commented: "All the teachers that you have are being paid illegally and have illegal authority over the Constitution of the United States under the First Amendment. This is genocide in America. Thank you." Three months later Loughner killed six people, and wounded 13 others, including Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.

Anders Breivik is mad in a more calculating way, and not just because he computed the hours he had spent studying or working. He joined a gun club in 2005 lest he fail (as he did) to acquire automatic weapons from criminals. The Oslo car bomb was a deliberate distraction from the massacre on Utoya.

He also calculated the long-term effects of his actions, "predicting" that a series of such massacres would result in an apocalyptic reckoning with Islam in Europe between 2070 and 2100. You can find similar ambitions among the 1970s left-wing terrorists who thought shooting bankers would force the German or Italian states to drop the democratic mask concealing "Fascism". Al-Qaeda similarly predicted that major geopolitical consequences would flow from the 9/11 attacks on America.

Rather than accepting that Breivik could be mad and bad, on the liberal Left there have been cynical attempts to blame his rampage on anyone (living) he mentioned in his cut-and-paste manifesto. The Guardian, the New Republic and the New York Times opportunistically blamed a "Christian", "Conservative", "Fascist-Populist", "Islamophobic", blogging-tabloid mulch for Breivik's individual atrocity. Writers were singled out for defamatory abuse, including Melanie Phillips, who found herself in the company of Churchill, Gandhi, Locke and Orwell, as well as Jeremy Clarkson, in the ravings of a madman. Claiming that Breivik is a fundamentalist Christian conservative is, as Orwell once remarked, to void words of meaning. We might as well discuss the serial killer Dennis Nilson in the same breath as the chef Michel Roux, because he boiled up parts of his victims.

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