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Leigh Anne Zinsmeister
Community moderator. Constantly on the go.
Community moderator. Constantly on the go.

Leigh Anne's posts

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"There could be no greater incentive to use social media than making yourself more valuable."

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This has been a bad day. It saddens me that someone can walk into a path that leads to such utter disregard for other people and their lives.

For me, this experience has been like this: At about 3.30 local time we heard a boom outside our windows at work. We thought it was a loud thunder, but I didn't see any lightning so I was a bit puzzled, even though I didn't consciously notice it.

Some time later I checked the online news, and I saw the headline that there had been an explosion in central Oslo. In the Akersgata street, which is a place I often frequent, going to church, going to the library, going to one of my favorite Oslo cafes. At 4 PM my colleagues left, ready for the weekend. But I stayed on, searching, searching, for more information. Was this a gas leak? A bomb? Did anyone die? Who could be behind it if it was a bomb?

I remembered September 11th, 2011, when I had also been at work, and we had just had a long meeting, and when we came out of that meeting I heard a colleague say "And then one airplane crashed into one building, and then another plane crashed into the other building". I thought it was some movie she talked about. It was not.

It was unreal. Unreal, knowing that I wasn't really able to do anything. I could decide to go to the location, be another guy with a camera, leeching off the drama of the moments. I went for staying online, and posting here on G+ instead. Reading posts by other fellow Norwegians, and posts from people around the world. All asking questions, sharing information, following the story as it developed.

The moment my blood really froze to ice was when they started talking about shooting that took place at the sumer camp of the AUF - the youth wing of the Labour Party here in Norway. WTF? Shooting at a summer camp? I felt helpless, but found some comfort in the fact that I could help some of my international friends by curating some of the Norwegian languaged news, translating into English.

The evening went, and at a point I had gotten enough. I needed to get away from the internet, so I decided to get out, take the metro to the city centre, and see how close I could get to the location of the blast. I noticed how calm people were on the streets. Of course there were the police officers and their machine guns guarding the sealed-off areas. I could see that there was no chance I could get to the site of the major damage, although I passed several buildings who had had their windows blown out, and where people were busy clearing out the glass and putting temporary boards in place of the glass.

I went home, listening to Moby's "Destroyed" album on the way. I was fearing that this had been done by islamists, and that this would spark a major shift in the perception of the Norwegians. A shift towards more paranoia and xenophobia, towards more distrust, and less trust.

I got home, tried to eat, couldn't. Kissed my wife and our son, happy to hold them, be with them. Then I got back online, and posted more on here. Some hundred new people had circled me today, wanting more news. And I gave it to them, you.

I haven't cried. My heart felt numb. I was sad when I realized that it was a Norwegian who most likely have done this, who shot the kids at the youth camp. I wondered what drove him to it. A misplaced sense of nation, a misplaced sense of loss. That all the immigrants coming in to Norway is taking Norway away from us.

I felt a chill when I heard our King Harald of Norway talk on television, and I thought about Norway, this country of mine on the outskirts of Europe. Norway, with our fjords, our mountains, our shells which immigrants notice when they come here, and the warmth which we sometimes show once we trust you. I felt absolute pride when I heard how our Prime Minister talk about democracy, and how we must let these events make us grow. Stronger. We will not be silenced.

It was, most likely, not some Jihad organization that was behind this attack, although I am sure some of them cheered at the news. "Finally someone that deals with Norway". My city is shattered, youngsters on a peaceful political summer camp, slaughtered by a man of a politically different opinion.

I felt like making a videoblog tonight, but I couldnt muster the energy. Later, maybe. Tomorrow, maybe. Interviews with fellow Norwegians on the streets of Oslo. Calm, yet worried, frightened, shocked.

I don't know who I am writing this for. I guess for myself, to try to take this in, to process it. We had our own little Oklahoma bombing here today. How will we react, long-term? Will we build more walls between us, or tear down a few?

Thank you to all who gave support, and gave news, insights, comments.

Here I am. It is 3 AM. I can't sleep, but I know I want to. Sleep and wake up and realize that this day has merely been a bad nightmare.

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My brain has been infiltrated by the "Google Effect." Has yours? Take the quiz.

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"Keith Carmickle of Kingman, Ariz., lost his footing — he was not wearing shoes — and was saved from a 20-foot plunge to a pool deck by his brother, a friend and other fans at Chase Field in Phoenix."
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