First, my thoughts are with and condolences expressed to the families of those who lost their lives to the homicidal loon in Norway, and my best wishes for a speedy recovery to injured survivors of the malefactors activities there.
That said, a number of my other views are rather less charitable.
The blurb in the NY Times asserting that the initial assumptions that the perpetrator(s) were Islamic in origin was some baseless expression of xenophobia?
Xenophobic? Perhaps. Baseless? Certainly not - given that the perpetrators of most major acts of terrorism in the last three decades have emerged from the skirts of islamic extremism, it's certainly not baseless. One might even go so far as to say it would be a reasoned assumption with fairly good odds of accuracy.
However, reasoned or not, in this case the odds didn't really pan out.
But, that's not my point today, though I would suggest the editorial staff of the NY Times should at least be allegorically beaten about the head and shoulders with a text on elementary journalism. Perhaps twice.
But the various blood-dancers in the wake of a tragedy do catch the eye and raise the ire, and now to my main point.
As RobertaX so graciously puts it, waxing a mass killer as s/he is about their dastardly deeds is not a political act - it is a social service, not unlike putting down a mad dog or joining an impromptu community fire brigade or stepping forward to help victims of any other disaster, rather than fleeing.
I would suggest most folks with anything resembling decency or morals would *approve* of cutting a mass murder in progress short. Preferably, with extreme prejudice and amazing suddenness.
Some, however, take the view that expressing such views is....
A) not helpful
Any numbskull can express horror or sorrow. Both are appropriate in the face of such events. But it is a sign of maturity to take the next step, and while expressing regret at the tragedy to also express a desire that someone at the site of the island portion of the Norwegian tragedy had been equipped (and given the circumstances, a firearm would have likely been the most effective tool) and available to bring the horror to a screeching halt early on. To express regret that option was not present is no more and no less than an expression of additional grief that "things got as bad as they got".
B) make you sound like a right wing SA nutjob, and
I'm not so sure. There's a lot to the saying "A smile and a .45 will get you a lot further than a smile.." in such instances. Someone armed, and better yet trained, can bring an awful lot of badness to a halt...or at least be seriously distracting to the homicidal loon du jour. It might not be politically correct, but...
And frankly? Being silent for the sake of other folks delicate sensibilities is largely what's gotten us (and an awful lot of other folks) into this and other messes when plain speaking (ideally cushioned with some level of sensitivity and decency) would serve all concerned rather better.
C) demonstrate a remarkably piss-poor understanding of the Norwegian culture...
Norwegian culture, delightful as it is, is not particularly relevant to (A) and (B). Flying lead and other projectiles are not especially picky about cultural practices and beliefs, any more than gravity is sensitive to symphony performances.
Neither is the culture of a given nation relevant to an expression that some (in this instance, someone with gun and the will to use it to stop a mass murderer) intervenor had been present to avert tragedy.
Such an expression is a bit more constructive (and sympathetic, frankly) than pretending that bad things don't happen to good people for no humanly discernible reason (unless you've come up with a reason for evil and/or insanity verifiable by independent experimentation, you may go away now) - or that inanimate objects are somehow responsible for the actions of the allegedly sentient.
My prayers and condolences, such as they are, are with the victims and the Norwegian people.
And yes, I wish someone had shot the son of a bitch before he killed all those kids.
And searching for ways to prevent or derail tragedy is part of the very essence of the best of humanity - not something to be regretted or belittled.