The last two days have been full of bad news. First, and most seriously, the attacks in Norway.
I heard about the bombing in Oslo when I got home from work on Friday. At the time the assumption was that it was an attack by Islamic extremists and I was surprised to see Norway the target. When I went to bed there were reports of the shooting coming in. I awoke to see that the death toll had risen from 7 to 81 and it has increased since then. It appears that a Norwegian man with far-right views carried out both attacks, leaving the car bomb then taking a ferry to the island youth camp dressed as a policeman. He told the teenagers that he was trying to get information on the car bomb and asked them to gather around before opening fire. Some of the children managed to flee and entered the water in an attempt to escape and were shot as they swam away. It’s an act of unspeakable brutality on defenceless innocents and will be a scar on Norway’s psyche for years to come.
The next piece of big news was the sudden death of singer Amy Winehouse. Though there’s no confirmation yet on the cause of death, given her well-publised drug and alcohol problems, an overdose seems the likely explanation. Winehouse was exceptionally talented but her personal demons have caused her numerous problems over the years. Her death was a shock but not a surprise.
Rehab, one of her biggest hits, seems particularly apposite:
Then, last night, two trains collided in China which has resulted in the deaths of at least 35 people so far. According to Chinese reports, one train lost power after being hit by lightning and the other crashed into it. Several carriages apparently fell off a bridge, in which case the death toll seems sure to rise.
Altogether a very tragic weekend.