In Amy Winehouse, the world lost a musician whose songs, lunging up from her soul, prophesied her own demise. Edith Piaf was another, except that in Piaf’s time—early 20th Century—the world offered fewer ways to self-destruct. Piaf did it with alcohol and lived to be 48, almost twice as long as Winehouse, dead at 27. Other musical artists who died young include Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Most served their talents avidly although Amy Winehouse seemed only to endure hers. Yet we can be grateful that each lived long enough to leave the world a legacy.
In Norway, 76 young people were destroyed before they could flower, leaving sorrowing loved ones, saddened millions, and a deranged murderer with a tormented manifesto that will be analyzed but never comprehended. Berserk sociopaths erupt regularly in the U.S.A., but this happened in Norway, a democracy of busy productive people with a high standard of living, and one of the least corrupt societies in the world.
What caused one fear-wracked man to explode in lethal madness? I doubt any explanation will throw light into this deep inner darkness of the human soul, recognized by ancients who wrote the Judeo-Christian Bible. It is the problem of evil, epitomized by the Serpent in the Garden of Eden. All religions attempt to deal with it. There are also some who, eschewing religion, create rational theories that deny the very concept of evil.
We can never know all that was lost on Utoya Island. Whatever explanations are offered to help us deal with this incomprehensible act by one deformed soul, what happened, in its mindless and deliberate destruction of flowering young life, is hard to accept as anything but