AP Photo/Matt York, File
It hasn’t even been a week since the deadly attack in Christchurch, New Zealand. However, it’s been busy since then.
Among the many happenings is that apparently, a number of New Zealand gun owners are turning in their guns. This comes well ahead of any official gun ban, but they’re turning in the firearms they lawfully own. I guess they think they’re “icky” now.
Since Friday’s deadly attack at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, gun owners have been turning up at local police stations seeking to have their own semiautomatic rifles—the weapon believed to have been used in the shootings—destroyed.
In the days since the attacks, which saw 50 people killed and dozens more injured, a number of gun owners in New Zealand have gone on social media to encourage others to follow in their footsteps. They want them to hand over their weapons and prevent another attack like Friday’s from happening again.
“Until today, I was one of the New Zealanders who owned a semiautomatic rifle,” one gun owner, farmer John Hart, wrote on Twitter. “On the farm they are a useful tool in some circumstances, but my convenience doesn’t outweigh the risk of misuse.
“We don’t need these in our country,” he added, sharing an image of a police form registering his weapon for “destruction.” “We have make sure it’s #NeverAgain.”
Unless, of course, you’re a maniac in the making.
What is this? What is it really?
Mostly, it’s virtue signaling. It’s a gun owner who is aghast at what happened in Christchurch and needs to tell people that he’s right-thinking on guns now. So, he goes and turns in his firearms and tells the entire world.
Hart isn’t the only one. The article profiles yet another who did the same (though it doesn’t sound like tons are doing it).
But the question none of these people can answer is just how would their weapons, lawfully held by supposedly law-abiding citizens, represent a threat to anyone? The answer is that they don’t. They won’t. They’re inanimate objects with no will of their own. They’re machines. Devices meant to fire a projectile so that a target some distance away can be hit.
That’s all they are.
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen such blatant gun-blaming. This happened after Parkland last year. A number of people turned in guns, making a big show of their actions, and desperately trying to show everyone just how virtuous they were.
The problem is, this isn’t an act of moral superiority. It’s the act of a sheep.
I hold onto my guns because I know damn good and well that when seconds count, help is just minutes away. Hell, in Christchurch, it took 36 minutes for police to respond. How many people died in those 36 minutes?
I’m not blaming the police. They can only respond to an event after the fact. But that’s also the point.
These people giving up their guns think they’re oh-so-moral and virtuous, but what happens if they need a gun to defend themselves? What if they need it to protect another?
Back in high school, I visited the New Zealand embassy in Washington, D.C. During our visit, the person we were speaking with was only really familiar with sheep and cattle. I relayed this to my father who was more familiar with the country than me. He quipped, “That’s not her fault. That’s all there is in New Zealand.”
I didn’t know how right he was. Stuff like this proves it.