This morning my twitter feed is full of comments, many from the USA simply incredulous that Anders Behring Breivik, a sane person, can recieve a sentence of 21 years for killing 77 and wounding 240 of his fellow citizens.
Ignore for a moment that 21 years is the maximum sentence the Norwegian courts can impose for ANY crime and that should Breivik be considered a danger at the end of this sentence, he could be detained for a further period.
A radio phone-in host, Jeremy Vine, even calculated that his sentence amounted to '3 months and 8 days per victim, not including those injured.'
You wouldn't imagine that this level of sentencing would offer much of a deterrent. But compare the homicide statistics in Norway with those of the United States, where I've little doubt that Breivik would have recieved a death sentence.
In 2010, the last year comparisons can be made, Norway has a homicide rate of 0.68 deaths per 100,000 population. The United States rate was 4.8 per 100,000.