about Utoya island, its long history as a camp for young members of the Labor Party, and the horror that unfolded there on Friday. I would add that calling Utoya a “youth” camp is incorrect, since many of the people who gather there are in their twenties. Which leads to another point. Notwithstanding the presence of many young men in their twenties, it didn’t occur to them to work together in a band to rush the killer and overwhelm him. Since he was killing them all anyway, what did they have to lose? Also, be sure to see the last sentence of the article, describing the “seemingly content” Breivik who, his diabolical work done, surrenders to police without a struggle.
For Young Campers, Island Turned Into Fatal Trap
OSLO—It has been a rite of passage for Norway’s liberal elite for decades: a summer camp set on a verdant Nordic isle called Utoya, where this week hundreds of young people gathered to meet government ministers, dive into election strategy sessions and maybe find a little summer romance.
But for Helen Andreassen, a 21-year-old aspiring politician, a celebration of bright futures became something horrifyingly different when she and her friends jumped from a second-story window to escape the bullets of a man who was hunting them specifically because of their politics.
They ran for their lives, she said, tumbling down the rocky heights to the sea shore, hoping the man in the police officer’s uniform would not pursue them into the water. But he kept shooting.
“He was standing just by the water, using his rifle, just taking his time, aiming and shooting,” Ms. Andreassen said. “It was a slaughter of young children.”
For more than an hour, the gunman stalked the forests and steep, rocky shores of the island. There were no bridges to provide escape. Time was on his side.
The young people desperately silenced their cellphones and stripped off colorful clothing. But the shooter was methodical. After killing several people on one part of the island, he went to the other, and, dressed in his police uniform, calmly convinced the children huddled there that he meant to save them. When they emerged into the open, he fired again and again.
“He shot a boy in the back,” said Stine Renate Haaheim, 27, a member of Parliament who was also among those hiding. “I saw that some people were falling, and we turned around and ran. At that point I didn’t look back.”
The police have identified the suspect as Anders Behring Breivik, who in his writings has portrayed himself as a modern knight, charged with driving out Islam and immigrants and the political correctness that he said had been wrongly invited into Norway and was thriving there.
The campers at Utoya appeared to be the embodiment of his hatred.
Organized by the youth wing of the ruling Labor Party, the camp has become a kind of multicultural incubator in recent years. Many of the victims in Friday’s shooting were the children of immigrants from Africa and Asia who have begun to stake out a greater role for themselves in Norwegian society.
Khamshajiny Gunaratnam, 23, a camp member, was born in Sri Lanka and moved to Norway when she was 3. She is dark-skinned, wears a nose stud and speaks both Norwegian and English in seemingly native accents.
She described a Norway that was increasingly divided along class and ethnic lines, and said there was a growing hostility toward people who were not ethnically Norwegian, even those born in the country.
But she saw the camp on Utoya as a sanctuary, a promise of a better country. “It was for me the safest place in the world,” she said.
For her, and hundreds of others trapped with her, and generations of current and former Labor leaders, the island’s personal significance now includes a national tragedy.
Norway’s prime minister, Jens Stoltenberg, was scheduled to speak to the campers this week. A former leader of Labor’s youth wing, he had attended the camp every summer since the 1970s. The killer “turned a paradise of my youth into hell,” Mr. Stoltenberg said Saturday when he went to the area to meet with survivors and their families, as did King Harald V and Queen Sonja.
The police are working on the assumption that Mr. Breivik, having drawn security services to central Oslo when he exploded a car bomb outside government offices, traveled to Utoya, taking one of the regular ferries that brought campers and others over from the mainland.
When he arrived, about 600 people were there, most gathered in the main assembly building for a briefing on the bombing. Many came from political families and were frantically trying to get a hold of relatives who worked at the site of the blast.
Ms. Andreassen was able to get in touch with her father, Lasse Kristiansen, a labor union worker, to determine that he was uninjured in the blast. But a short time later, he received a text message telling him to call the police.
“After that, time stood still,” Mr. Kristiansen said.
His daughter’s cellphone went silent, and it was hours before he knew that she and another daughter had saved themselves by swimming until they were picked up by a passing boat.
There was little shelter or chance for those caught back on the island. Witnesses told Norwegian news agencies that the shooter sprayed bullets into piles of dead bodies, apparently seeking those that were hiding among them. On Saturday night, the authorities knew that 85 had been killed, and still sought bodies in the water, or in an unchecked corner of Utoya.
“He seemed he was enjoying it” Magnus Stenseth, a youth leader, told the Norwegian newspaper VG. “He walked around the island as if he had absolute power.”
It took police about 40 minutes to reach the island, but once they confronted Mr. Breivik, his lethal animation seemed to melt away, they said. He surrendered without a struggle, seemingly content.
Sophia A. writes: