The Ghastly Coda Cell Phones Added to the Breivik Massacre

In the August issue of GQ, Sean Flynn has a feature on the Anders Behring Breivik massacre in Norway, in which Breivik killed 77 people, most of them in a shooting rampage on a small island.

Flynn describes meeting a police officer, Håkon Hval, who helped deal with the immediate aftermath of the violence. He concludes with a horrifically modern detail: the unanswered ringing of the phones of the dead and escaped.

When the sun went down, Håkon was in a boat not far from shore. Divers were in the lake, searching the depths for bodies that might have been drowned, and Håkon was providing security. It was very quiet. Håkon could hear waves licking at the sides of the boat, and then, from the island, he could hear something else: a chorus of chirping and buzzing and snippets of pop songs. In the darkness, he saw tiny lights flickering on, then off, then on again, like fireflies. There were hundreds of them, scattered along the Lovers' Trail and on the lawn below the cafeteria and in the tent field and where the bodies lay. Mobile phones lighting and ringing and nobody answering.

"There was nothing you could do," Håkon said. "You just had to wait until they ran out of electricity."

It is, as Matt Pearce pointed out, an almost unbelievably haunting end to an already haunting story.

Presented by

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well. Bestselling author Mark Bittman teaches James Hamblin the recipe that everyone is Googling.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well.

Video

Before Tinder, a Tree

Looking for your soulmate? Write a letter to the "Bridegroom's Oak" in Germany.

Video

The Health Benefits of Going Outside

People spend too much time indoors. One solution: ecotherapy.

Video

Where High Tech Meets the 1950s

Why did Green Bank, West Virginia, ban wireless signals? For science.

Video

Yes, Quidditch Is Real

How J.K. Rowling's magical sport spread from Hogwarts to college campuses

Video

Would You Live in a Treehouse?

A treehouse can be an ideal office space, vacation rental, and way of reconnecting with your youth.

More in Technology

Just In