March 16th 2019
Forty nine dead, eleven in critical condition, another ten or so with lesser injuries, the type that will ache on rainy days decades from now. And an entire nation emotionally scarred, also for decades.
New Zealand has always been a somewhat isolated nation, with Tonga and the Cook Islands about the only land within 1,500 miles. Australia is the only significant nation that comes within 2,500 miles. Most of the world’s problems, even nuclear war, seemed remote. The only exceptions were the World Wars, where New Zealand took the highest human toll in relation to the population of just about anyone except Scotland. Even natural disasters, except for earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, were remote events, well over the horizons. Until ozone depletion and climate disruption, even the impact of humanity on the planet seemed distant.
New Zealand had fairly lax gun laws, but this didn’t raise any alarums because New Zealand didn’t seem to have a big gun problem, at least by American standards. Since the turn of the century, the annual gun toll hadn’t exceeded 60, and was gradually declining. The low numbers did hide a disturbing fact: New Zealand only has about 3.6 million people, roughly 1% of the United States population. Multiply the gun casualty totals by a hundred, and you find that it’s actually a quite high rate, nearly a half that of the US.
Yesterday’s attacks on those Christchurch mosques and that hospital may exceed the gun death total for New Zealand in some recent years. While it’s not exactly an identical set of circumstances, the sheer bloodletting was, for NZ, worse than 9/11 was for the States.
Apparently a lot of kids and old folks died. Just because they went to service on their holy day.
The Right Honourable Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister, noted that the killer had obtained all five guns legally, and said, “I can tell you one thing right now: our gun laws will change. There have been attempts to change our laws in 2005, 2012 and after an inquiry in 2017. Now is the time for change.”
Given the magnitude of the terrorist attack, and the fact that New Zealand doesn’t have a treacherous gun lobby group standing on its collective throat, I believe her. The NZ Attorney General, David Parker, has been warning of the hazards extremist white nationalism presents (“There is a dimming of enlightenment in many parts of the world”), and vows to ban semi-automatic weapons within weeks. I hope he succeeds.
The accused is an emigré from Australia, a land beset by vicious racists and bigotry in its dominant right-wing political party. (Sound familiar?) One utter piece of shit, a member of their Senate, one Fraser Anning tweeted: “Does anyone still dispute the link between Muslim immigration and violence? As always, leftwing politicians and the media will rush to claim that the causes of today’s shootings lie with gun laws or those who hold nationalist views, but this is all cliched nonsense. The real cause of bloodshed on New Zealand streets today is the immigration program which allowed Muslim fanatics to migrate to New Zealand in the first place.”
OK, Anning is bigoted filth, and obviously he doesn’t represent many Australians or the whole country would be one vast death camp by now.
Murdoch’s media, classy as always, delighted in showing the footage the accused murderer shot while killing innocent men, women and children. Murdoch would have loved the concentration camps, especially the firing squads. New Zealand shut his channel down for the interim until his blood lust settled a bit.
With Parker’s “dimming of enlightenment” there are Nazi politicians in many parts of the world now, including the United States.
Ardern contacted Trump and asked him to convey condemnation of the bigotry and terrorism of the attack. Trump could manage to do neither, instead tweeting, “My warmest sympathy and best wishes goes out to the people of New Zealand after the horrible massacre in the Mosques. 49 innocent people have so senselessly died, with so many more seriously injured. The U.S. stands by New Zealand for anything we can do. God bless all!”
Warmest sympathies from a man who has never shown any signs of sympathy in his entire wastrel life. Wow. Must be thoughts and prayers time.
Even John Bolton worked up the intellectual honesty to call yesterday’s attacks an act of terrorism, and he is no friend to Moslems.
Trump couldn’t manage that. He did refer to immigration as an invasion, just as the Australian immigrant did in his 70+ page screed that served as his case for hate-filled losers to fire weapons-grade weaponry at small children and grandparents.
Well, Hitler probably wasn’t too sympathetic to the Jewish victims on Krystallnacht, instead bleating about how the poor innocent brown shirts were driven to acts of violence by the depredations of the Jews.
There may still be a difference between Hitler and Trump, but that difference exists only because Hitler was faster to consolidate power. When Trump can’t even acknowledge that this was a specific terrorist attack against a select group of people because it’s the same people he’s been vilifying for years (along with African Americans and Hispanics and Jews) then emotionally he isn’t far from Hitler. In the end, Hitler may simply have been more intelligent than Trump.
So New Zealand will try to make amends and make things right. Here in America, Trump will encourage similar attacks.
Don’t believe me? Just watch.