Innovation Blog

 Norway’s Tragedy: A Sense of Proportion

By Shlomo Maital

         The enormous tragedy caused by Norway’s lone deranged extremist terrorist is difficult for anyone to fathom, especially the serene Norwegians. 

         I have tried to put the loss of life in proportion.  My arithmetic may seem insensitive to some, but perhaps of some value to others.

         America’s population is 311.8 million.  Norway’s population is 4.923 m.  So America’s population is 63 times that of Norway.

        In 9/11, America lost 2,752 lives.  In the recent attack, Norway lost 93 lives.    Loss of life in 9/11 was 30 times that of Norway’s incident.

        In other words, Norway’s tragedy, relative to its small population, was twice as massive as 9/11.  Take into account as well that many of those murdered in Norway were youths.

         Israel has grappled with Islamic terrorism for decades.  It has to this day forced Israel to place armed guards with magnetometers at the entrance to every shopping center, supermarket and coffee shop.  While we take this for granted, it is a heavy burden. Norway is now realizing that the serenity, naivety and openness of its society may have been lost forever – the fact that it took police well over an hour to get to the scene of the crime on Utoya Island must never ever recur, even taking into account the fact the Norwegian police were preoccupied with the earlier bomb blast in central Oslo.   Norway, a key player in the effort to attain Mideast peace in the Oslo Agreements, is ironically now learning how a handful of deranged murderous idiots can forever alter society – as Israel learned long ago.