"I would ask him: 'What made you (do it)?'," she said of the man
who shot her daughter twice in the back on July 22, 2011.
"Because at every opportunity he has explained ... the political
reasons why he did what he did. What he has not talked about is what
made him hold these opinions. Where did it go wrong?"
Then she thinks of all the reasons why it would not be worth it to
"He does not deserve that I spend my time on him ... And I don't
think you could get an answer."
The fantasy of meeting her daughter's attacker is new for the
40-year-old. Two years ago, when Reuters News followed her over
several months to document her life after the assaults, Gustavsen
spared no thought for Breivik - she was focused on her daughter's
recovery. Marte Oedegaarden, 20, spent several months in hospital.
Memories of "July 22", as the attacks in central Oslo and at a youth
camp on Utoeya island are commonly known, remain raw for relatives
of the victims and the hundreds of survivors.
For Gustavsen, a former lawmaker now working as a project manager at
a polytechnic university, the reality of the assault is no longer so
difficult to process.
"I no longer have to pinch myself to remember that July 22
happened," she told Reuters, speaking over coffee at her home in
Kongsberg, 80 km (50 miles) west of Oslo.
"But sometimes I feel numb ... like you are carrying something that
you haven't quite worked your way through yet."
Vegard Groeslie Wennesland, 30, who escaped the Utoeya shooting by
barricading himself in a red wooden cabin with 50 or so others, has
found a job working for a trade union and ran - unsuccessfully - for
parliament last year.
Wennesland is most proud of having handed in his master's
dissertation on the political life of Lebanon's Palestinian refugee
camps in June. He had intended to finish it on Utoeya before the
shooting, but afterward, he had trouble focusing.
"I still think of it (the shooting) every day. But I guess I have
learned to deal with it," he said, sitting on the terrace of a cafe
in central Oslo.
As a nation, Norway still grapples with what happened that day.
Breivik first planted a car bomb, which killed eight when it
exploded outside the prime minister's office at 3.25 p.m. on a
It was a shocking, unprecedented assault on central Oslo. While
police and rescue services rushed to the scene, Breivik drove out of
Oslo and took the ferry to Utoeya, where the youth wing of the
center-left Labour Party was holding its annual gathering. He
reached the island a little before 5 p.m. Over the course of the
next hour-and-a-half, disguised as a policeman, he hunted down and
shot dead 69 teenagers and adults.
In court, Breivik said he was trying to protect Norway from Muslim
immigration and multiculturalism, and called the teenage activists
on Utoeya traitors to the Norwegian nation. He said his only regret
was that he did not do more damage.
The building that housed the prime minister's office has remained an
empty shell, decked in a dirtied white cloth, while the public
debated whether to raze the building or restore it.
Some said destroying it would signal a victory for Breivik. After
consultations, Prime Minister Erna Solberg's cabinet decided in May
that the original building would stand.
Norwegian media continue to criticize the performance of the police,
health and other public services whose job it has been to help the
victims of July 22.
"We know we could have done better. We know we could have done
things better earlier," Prime Minister Solberg told the daily
Dagsavisen earlier this month. "It is always difficult to reach out
to all the ones who are affected."
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Utoeya island has not hosted a summer camp since the shooting, as
some relatives believe reviving the event would amount to trampling
on their loved ones' graves.
Plans to cut a 3.5-metre (11.5-foot) gash at one end of the island
as a memorial - a symbolic scar on the landscape - have been
suspended after protests from local residents, many of whom took
part in the rescue. They have said they do not want to have a
constant reminder of what happened.
Breivik has sat in isolation
ever since his arrest. He was sentenced to the maximum time in
prison of 21 years, and has been transferred to a jail in Skien, 130
km (80 miles) to the southwest of Oslo, from a prison on the
outskirts of the capital. He can be kept in prison indefinitely if
he is deemed a threat to society.
His mother was the only person other than his lawyer allowed to
visit him until she died of cancer last year.
Among survivors, the experience of recovery has been mixed.
Adrian Pracon, now 24, came face to face with Breivik several times
on July 22. "He was shouting that he was going to kill us all,"
Pracon told Reuters a few months after the attack.
He said he was struggling with depression and how to cope in crowded
places. If he was in a busy shopping mall, his instinct would be to
look for the quickest escape route.
In November 2011, Pracon assaulted a woman and a man in a bar.
Pracon said at his trial that he could not remember why he did it.
He had just seen Breivik for the first time since the shooting,
during a pre-trial hearing.
"I felt a strong psychological strain. Anger, hate and a lot of
pain," he told the Oslo district court.
"What I did was wrong and cannot be excused," he later wrote on
Facebook. "But I hope we all realize the importance of giving good
help to people after accidents and traumas."
He was sentenced to 180 hours of community service and 10,000 crowns
($1,600) in damages to one of the victims after the court found
there were mitigating circumstances in that he suffered from
Pracon did not respond to requests for interviews from Reuters.
Gustavsen's daughter, Marte, has begun studying European politics at
Oslo University and has bought a flat in Oslo with the compensation
money that all survivors received.
A fan of English soccer club Manchester United, she hopes to study
at Manchester University next year, Gustavsen said. Marte herself
declined to be interviewed.
"I am very proud of the way we have gone through this as a family,
how Marte has dealt with things," said Gustavsen. "I have become
even better in tune with myself and my reactions, which I will use
for the rest of my life. Which is good."
For many months after the attacks, Wennesland wore an
orange-and-white cotton bracelet marked with the word UTOEYA in
capital letters which was given to everyone who attended the youth
camp that year. He wore it as a reminder of the dead, and would
often touch it without thinking.
"One morning ... I took a pair of scissors and cut it off," he said.
"I felt it would be a specific moment. But it just felt natural."
(Reporting by Gwladys Fouche; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall)
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