AP Photo/Mark Baker
Some mornings, it just doesn’t pay to get out of bed. This morning was one of them.
After all, I get up, fix myself some coffee, and I have a message waiting for me. A friend is telling me I’ll need to get caught up with the news out of New Zealand. After a quick Google search, I find out what he’s talking about.
We can file this under the heading of “so mass shootings only happen in the U.S., huh?”
A gunman opened fire on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, on Friday, killing 49 people in an afternoon slaughter that in part was broadcast live online after the publication of a white supremacist manifesto.
Jacinda Ardern, New Zealand’s prime minister, said that in addition to those killed, 20 were seriously injured, shaking a country with little history of mass shooting in what she called “an extraordinary and unprecedented act of violence.”
Awful. Absolutely awful.
So what motivated these gunmen? Apparently, they’re counting on the anti-gun left to react to this by trying to push still more gun control on us.
In his manifesto, he identified himself as a 28-year-old man born in Australia. He listed his white nationalist heroes, described what he said motivated him to attack, and said he purposely used guns to stir discord in the United States around the Second Amendment.
Of course, we can point out the failure of gun control in New Zealand, a country that is occasionally referred to as having the “right” approach to mass shootings.
Gun owners must be licensed, a process that includes a review of criminal activity and mental health, attendance at a safety program, an explanation of how the gun would be used, a residence visit to ensure secure storage, and testimonials from relatives and friends.
As it stands, few are advocating for that level of control here in the United States, which means it’s unlikely they’ll do so now.
Thankfully, according to the New Zealand Herald, a local was able to help stop any further bloodshed.
A well known Muslim local chased the shooters and fired two shots at them as they sped off.
He was heard telling police officers he was firing in “self defence”.
It’s troubling, though, that someone or some group would actively try to spark a civil war in a completely different country. I don’t understand the thinking, and I really don’t want to find the manifesto to figure out what was going through their distorted minds. Civil wars are brutal, bloody affairs where few really win. What comes out of those kinds of conflicts often isn’t anyone’s goal going in.
This, folks? This is terrorism, plain and simple, and I’m glad the authorities have them in custody. This is one of those things you just don’t tolerate as a society. If there’s any downside, it’s that New Zealand lacks a death penalty. You don’t coddle rabid dogs in relative comfort. You put them down.
Unfortunately, though, one real question we have to consider is whether their plan will work. Will American gun grabbers take the bait and start trying to use this to advance gun control?
Or, will it undermine gun control efforts here in the United States to some degree? After all, this is the second day in a row we’re seeing reports of a mass shooting elsewhere in the world. If we’re going to scream about needing to stop mass shootings, gun control clearly won’t cut it as evidenced by these two events.
We’ll have to wait and see, but I’m not optimistic.
Editor’s note: An earlier version of this post stated a local was able to use his own firearm to help stop one of the shootings. However, it is not clear if the man owned the firearm.