On a weekend when 80-odd young people lie dead and Amy Winehouse also died I find myself feeling pretty flat. Tomorrow the agent of Norway's killing gets his chance to air his views, and justify his actions, in the courtroom.
That no air will ever again pass the lips of scores of Norway's best young people seems insufficient to prevent his grandstanding. Were I a parent I am not sure I could easily countenance that indulgence at this time. This man should, at this early stage, be forced to stay silent. This is not his time.
I am not a pacifist but I really struggle with the notion of killing. Being able to do it, I mean. There are moments, perhaps in extreme self-defence, when ending another's life seems just about imaginable. But to take life after life, to hunt people like rats takes some kind of deranged detachment.
Each life ended in a solitary moment by a single shot was one nurtured by hundreds of thousands of mindful actions of love by others. Today, the lives of tens of thousands - parents, siblings, friends, teachers, uncles, aunts - will have been changed permanently. Every death does that. Needless, shocking deaths like this are never truly gotten over.
Which brings us onto the perpetrator. If my children had been among those slain, I am sure I would, on the day after, be happy to personally avenge what happened. This feeling would, I suspect, be replaced, in the following weeks, by a desire for judicial killing. But this defies my intellectual belief that good societies do not kill even people like this. Yet while my children had been robbed of theirs, their killer living would be difficult to take.
What I am saying is that after this incident, I am not sure my liberal convictions on capital punishment could stand the test that those parents are going to go through once the shock of what has happened has subsided and grief takes it long toll.