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Coming to terms with terror
Date:11/23/2011

o feel secure, but the chance of terrorism in Norway is actually very small," he adds. "Statistically, we should fear cancer, cardiovascular diseases and road accidents."

Asked what Norway should do now, Prof Engen calls for a debate on what societal safety is and should be. "That's a question of the kind of society we want."

He says it will only be possible to say whether the terrorist attacks will change Norway positively or negatively once the commission of inquiry has reported and measures are proposed.

In his view, the 2000 report from Norway's commission on the vulnerability of society could provide an important basis for such a debate. It remains the only official document to analyse systematically how vulnerable the Norwegian community is.

But Prof Olsen does not think that a proposal in the report to concentrate resources in a separate ministry of homeland security would be the best solution.

"That solution would also represent a concentration of power which could ultimately undermine security. Everyone thinking the same way constitutes a danger".

"We need several organisations with different perspectives on what's dangerous and what should be done."

"In addition to a general debate, we need a further assessment of any measures the 22 July commission will propose," says Prof Engen, and is backed by Dr Kruke and Prof Olsen.

"If we're going to learn from these attacks, we need something more than this commission will be able to manage," he adds.

The trio believe that the inquiry team's composition indicates that its work could be difficult, and are therefore waiting with interest to see if it will raise major and sensitive issues. These include such questions as ways in which coordination within the police and support from military forces could have been improved.

"The lessons must be drawn in complete openness," emphasises Prof Engen. "After such a serious crisis, many
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Contact: Ole Andreas Engen
ole.a.engen@uis.no
47-518-31858
University of Stavanger
Source:Eurekalert

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