Like a lot of writers of suspense thrillers I’ve populated my books with some pretty nasty psychopathic killers.
The bad guy in my first book, The Cutting, surgically removed the hearts of innocent young women sans anesthetic to provide “inventory” for his highly profitable illegal transplant business. My villain in The Chill of Night merely killed to cover up his predilection for abusing runaway teenaged girls.
And while both my guys were pretty nasty fellows, neither came close to some of the characters created by other writers, Thomas Harris’s Hannibal Lechter and Bret Easton Ellis’s Patrick Bateman in American Psycho being among my favorite.
Yet in my view neither Lechter or Bateman, as evil as they are, come close to equaling truly ugly insanity of a self proclaimed right wing, Christian fundamentalist named Anders Behring Breivik.
As we all know, on July 22nd Breivik slaughtered 76 people in Norway including 68 mostly teenagers and young adults whom he systematically gunned down at a summer camp off Norway’s coast.
As he was coolly aiming at and shooting to death child after child, Breivik was reportedly tuned in to his Ipod and listening to a composition by British musician Clint Mansell called lux aeterna which he described as an “incredibly powerful song” that would help suppress his fear.
Who was this guy?
A couple of quotes from Breivik himself may bring this real life villain more clearly into focus.
Reporter Victoria Ward writing in the British paper the Telegraph quotes Breivik describing his preparations for his deadly rampage. “I can’t possibly imagine how my state of mind will be during the time of the operation, though. It will be during a steroid cycle and on top of that; during an ephedrine rush, which will increase my aggressiveness, physical performance and mental focus with at least 50-60 per cent but possibly up to 100 per cent.
“In addition, I will put my iPod on max volume as a tool to suppress fear if needed. I might just put Lux Aeterna by Clint Mansell on repeat as it is an incredibly powerful song. The combination of these factors (when added on top of intense training, simulation, superior armour and weaponry) basically turns you into an extremely focused and deadly force, a one-man-army.”
Yet almost at the same time, Breivik was apparently blogging, “There was a relatively hot girl on(sic) the restaurant today checking me out. Refined individuals like myself is (sic) a rare commodity here so I notice I do get a lot of attention in both the southern and the northern town. It’s the way I dress and look.”
Reading stuff like this, I find myself wondering if my skills as a writer are good enough to allow me to create a bad guy either as weird or as evil as Anders Behring Breivik. The most honest answer is I really don’t know. But the truth of the matter is I’m not sure I really want to.