The Norse Apocalypse “Ragnarok” is believed to have inspired 16-year-old Alex Hribal, accused of stabbing 20 students and a security guard at Franklin Regional High School in Pennsylvania this April. Detectives from Westmoreland County obtained a warrant two days after the Pennsylvania mass stabbing incident and discovered a document titled Ragnarok – the name of a Norse apocalypse legend – that expressed the suspect’s dissatisfaction with his school and society in general.
The documents seized included another chilling revelation into Hribal’s state of mind at the time:
“I can’t wait to see the priceless and helpless looks on the faces of the students of one of the ‘best schools in Pennsylvania’ realize their precious lives are going to be taken by the only one among them that isn’t a plebeian.[sic]”
Authorities have not said whether the statement comes from the Ragnarok document or is related to Hribal’s affinity for Norse apocalypse mythology, though the term “plebeian” dates to medieval times and denotes a person of common birth, as opposed to patricians and others of noble birth. They have also not indicated whether the teen’s interest in the Norse apocalypse myth played directly into the stabbings.
According to an AP report, Hribal is suspected of committing the stabbings with a pair of kitchen knives. The youth is scheduled to face arraignment on 21 accounts of attempted homicide, 21 counts of aggravated assault and a school weapons violation on July 23. Hribal is awaiting his arraignment for the crimes, which may have been inspired by the Norse apocalypse myth, at the Westmoreland County Juvenile Detention Center.
Hribal’s lawyer, Patrick Thomassey, has indicated that he is going to request that his case be moved to juvenile court. If the request is granted, the most Hribal will face for the Norse apocalypse inspired stabbings would be incarceration or enforced supervision until the age of 21 – 5 years, most likely less by the time the Ragnarok case makes its way through the Pennsylvania court system. Should the request be denied, Hribal could be tried in the adult system, and could face decades of incarceration.
The Norse apocalypse, Ragnarok, is said to be a series of future events culminating in a major battle that ends badly for some of Norse mythology’s most iconic figures. Odin, Thor, Loki, Tyr, Freyr and Heimdallr are among the Norse apocalypse’s most notable casualties. In the Norse apocalypse, the great battle is followed by the entire world being submerged in water. After the flood resides, the earth is reborn, the gods return and the earth is repopulated by two human survivors.
A report on Pittsburgh’s Action News 4 indicates that legal analyst Bruce Antkowiak claims that writings referencing the Norse apocalypse – or other apocalyptic literature – is not uncommon in cases like Hribal’s. According to the report, he said:
“Where the victims are more wide spread, that sort of ideation of cataclysmic events, end of the world, Armageddon, is probably not an uncommon phenomenon in these circumstances because the individual is acting out in a way that’s not simply to exact revenge on a particular individual, but to cause a much greater cataclysm on the people that make up their world, as they perceive it.”
Although Hribal’s reference to the Norse apocalypse is not unprecedented in these kings of crimes, it is unclear how directly the legend of Ragnarok inspired either Hribal’s document titled Ragnarok or the stabbings.
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