The author of an editorial about the "flawed" Norwegian justice system published in the Arkansas daily newspaper Paragould Daily Press has personally responded to the BLABBERMOUTH.NET readers who have attacked him over his (presumed) musical and religious background.
Paragould Daily Press editor Travis Justice's Jan. 10 editorial, titled "Norwegian killer takes advantage of flawed system," spotlighted the case of Varg Vikernes (a.k.a. Count Grishnack), the former BURZUM leader who is serving a 21-year sentence for the August 1993 murder of MAYHEM guitarist Oystein Aarseth (a.k.a. Euronymous).
In the editorial, Justice criticized the Norwegian penal system for giving "murderers" like Varg three-day "get out of jail free" cards, only to make it possible for them to commit additional crimes while on the lam.
The following is Travis' complete response to the critical comments from BLABBERMOUTH.NET readers that followed the posting of the original story on this site:
"I just discovered that my editorial concerning Varg Vikernes has resulted in an outcry from quite a few metal fans. Judging by this site, a lot of those offended by my article have opted to assassinate my character. However, I do appreciate those who have sided with me on the matter.
"The main reason I'm responding to this message thread is that the very people trashing me for 'not having my facts straight' are the same ones who don't have a clue concerning my background or opinions on metal, religion and so forth.
"First off, I've played guitar for more than 20 years and have been a fan of metal longer than that. While IRON MAIDEN will forever be my favorite band, I listen to everything from LAMB OF GOD to DARK TRANQUILLITY. So to insinuate that I'm some unknowledgeable nerd in a suit is laughable.
"As for my religious beliefs, I'm not a 'Christian asshole.' While I do believe in God, I've come under fire numerous times within my community for my criticism of everything from the Catholic Church to faith-based initiatives involving government. So to imply that I'm some fundamentalist wacko is absurd.
"As for my knowledge of Varg's case, I have been aware of his activities for quite some time. I didn't merely 'cut and paste,' as some would suggest. I've been familiar with the events surrounding MAYHEM for a number of years and, to be honest, I've found them quite intriguing.
"Those criticizing my editorial and labeling it as a mere 'book report' should stop and think about the context of it. I'm the editor of a daily newspaper and, as such, I write a daily editorial. In doing so, I have an allotted amount of space to work with, so, whatever I write has to be short, sweet and to the point.
"As far as not 'signing my name' to the editorial goes, my name and photo accompany all of my op-ed pieces in the print version of my newspaper. I don't handle our web site, so I have no control over whether or not my byline accompanies my work when it appears online. What I find ironic is the fact those who are bashing me for just that are doing so under the guise of names like 'Tin God.' Hypocrisy is a wonderful thing (the noun, not the band).
"Finally, I would like to say that I am completely aware of the fact Norway has an extremely low crime rate and is a relatively safe place to live. But even though the crime rate is low, it doesn't change the fact that the sentencing of Varg Vikernes was far too lenient, given the crime, and it's ludicrous to think a murderer deserves some "time off" from the big house.
"That's all I have to say on the matter. So, flame away."