Over Thanksgiving, Chris told me that the Norwegian police routinely beat up people they arrest, if they get any lip. The courts officially ignore this and the newspapers don't bother to mention it. They used to beat up drunk drivers, but now that they take away their licenses immediately - sometimes forever - they no longer bother.
I thought Chris had misplaced a decimal point, but researching the usual fines, it is true that for going about 13 mph over the speed limit, he has a fine of $1400. Also, he seems to have been lucky to have received the less stringent set of penalties, though his speed 65kph in a 40kph zone - deserved more. The next ticket up includes a mandatory 18 days in jail.
Norwegians have about the lowest speed limits in Europe. They allow guns and hunting, but every bit of ammunition must be accounted for or you lose the privilege. They think Americans are gangsters, shooting each other all the time. I suppose we have ourselves to blame for that, because the movies and other media we like ourselves, and the rest of the world seems to like to watch also, does suggest that most of America is essentially Detroit.
They also have gypsies moving in more and more, and my Romanian-born son becomes positively shrill when he describes how they dismiss his warnings about this. How the official position of ethnic tolerance will square with the cultural preference for community order is anyone's guess. But the problems and solutions will show up in Oslo before Tromso.
Europeans do tend to ignore the violent crime rate in Lyon, Malmo, Glasgow, Manchester, or the Paris banlieue (without me even getting around to mentioning southern and Eastern Europe). Because the homicide rates aren't as high as American, they are quite self-congratulatory. But rape, assault, drug trafficking, forced prostitution, pedophilia - these aren't good either. The cultures are different.