Mass killers often turn the gun on themselves, but Anders Behring Breivik, the gunman in Norway who killed 93 people on Friday, has said he wants to explain his motives in the courtroom.
But should his motives be classified as the symptom of a deranged mind, or do they indicate something more widespread in the European psyche?
Norwegian philosopher Lars Gule believes he argued with Anders Breivik on an online forum, and he "did not stand out with a particularly aggressive or violent rhetoric... he was quite mainstream".
"When it comes to opinions and statements, he was not alone... it shows some of the warped sense of reality that is operating" in certain Norwegian communities, he said.
Matthew Goodwin, author of New British Fascism, said that he was "struck by the similarities" between Breivik's manifesto and some far-right parties in Britain.
"There are also large sections of the public... who are very concerned over some of the same issues - the role of Islam in European society, immigration, multiculturalism.
"They might not endorse violence, but I think there is a pool of wider potential there."
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