Up until a few days ago Norway was rightly regarded as one of the safest countries in which to live.
But the killing of 76 innocent people by deranged bomber and gunman Anders Behring Breivik has proved that nowhere can claim to be totally immune to the violence of political extremism. But then, the bombings on the tube trains and buses of London in July 2007 by home-grown Islamist extremists were also shocking because it is the nightmare of your neighbours turning against you.
Scotland has long and ancient links with Norway and this week we report on Borderers Margaret and Michael Rustad, who have homes near Oslo and in Yetholm, and were in Norway at the time of the tragedy.
Margaret says there is a strong sense of mutual support and strength among Norwegians determined not to allow the horror of what happened to change the open and tolerant way the country’s citizens lead their lives. And Behring Breivik’s own lawyer said his client had turned to violence to promote his right-wing extremist views, because he got nowhere trying to advance them among his fellow Norwegians through normal political channels.
The fact that the vast majority of Norwegians were not prepared to have any truck with such intolerant political views is the best safeguard of all when it comes to halting the spread of such ideological poison.
It is an example we must all follow.