The car bomb attack and mass shooting in Norway by an anti-Islam "crusader" that killed 76 innocent people on July 22, 2011, was a traumatic chain of events not only for Norwegians, but for all the nations of the world.
The head of the World Council of Churches (WCC), Dr. Olav Fykse Tveit -- himself a Norwegian Lutheran pastor -- expressed his sorrow over both attacks, and called on churches worldwide to pray for Norway.
Anders Behring Brevik, 32, has been arrested by police in connection with both attacks. He admitted to being responsible for the killings -- and even believed they were justified -- because he considered himself to be a "part of a crusade to fight a tide of Islam." As a very disturbed man, Brevik wanted his horrific actions to inspire copycat killings around the world.
Apparently unprepared and never even dreaming such violence would occur in Norway -- a terror-free and peaceful nation since the end of World War II in 1945 -- it took the police 90 minutes to reach the gunman, who by then had killed 68 people.
Police had to make the 25-mile journey from Oslo to Utoya Island -- where the shootings on youth campers occurred -- by car, because they have no helicopter. Police also had to be rescued by a civilian boat, because their boat broke down, as it tried to navigate a one-minute hop to the island.
Although many people have criticized Norway's police as being lackadaisical because it took them over 90 minutes to reach the island where Brevik was killing people, the fact is that the police lacked the proper equipment -- including a helicopter and a reliable boat -- to reach the island sooner.
The police certainly gave this tragic incident their best effort. Unfortunately, most Norwegians had become too complacent that such terrorist incidents would not occur in Norway.
Indeed, there is an important lesson to be learned from this tragic scenario, and not just for Norway, but for all countries of the world.
This lesson is that all nations must keep in mind that a horrific act of terror can occur on their land at any moment. Consequently, all nations must be prepared 24/7 -- both with sufficient manpower and equipment -- to prevent or at least minimize the effect of such a cowardly attack.