Tragedy struck a New Zealand mosque on March 15 in the form of a rare mass shooting. The 50 deaths that were totaled in this attack makes this the largest shooting in the small island nation and put this terrorist attack on the proportional population equivalence to the 9/11 attacks in the United States.
It seems like every week there is yet another report of something like this happening across the globe. Hatred seems to be brewing everywhere, and no community seems to be safe.
Not in New Zealand, though. This island has a population of about 4.8 million people and about 1.2 million firearms and has not had a mass shooting since 1997, until this past Friday.
This is because the country has intense background checks, and in order to obtain a gun license, applicants must pass it to be approved.
This shooter obtained his guns legally, but he also was found with homemade explosive devices in nearby cars, which proves the theory that the attacker would have carried out these crimes, guns or not. It seems clearer than ever that the true issue is extremism, on all sides.
The New Zealand shooter published a manifesto online. In it he attacked conservatives and liberals alike. He called himself an “eco-fascist” and “white supremacist.”
He wanted to stop the immigrants from “infiltrating” Western society and he was trying to create a race war. He knew that this shooting would cause a heated debate between the left and right in America, which he wanted.
He named political commentator and founder of the Brexit movement Candace Owens as an inspiration, which is contradictory on its face as Owens is an African-American woman, the complete opposite person a true white nationalist would support.
The shooter also mentioned President Donald Trump in his manifesto, basically saying that he admired him as a symbol of white purpose but hated him as a political leader. The shooter knew that by mentioning these people, the media would pick it up and it would create the exact divide he was intending.
The media fell for his trap and did exactly what he wanted. They ran story after story blaming Owens’ and Trump’s rhetoric for this incident. That is exactly what this piece of human debris was going for, and if our mainstream politicians, media members and public as a whole do not wake up, this will continue to happen.
It is time to stop the nonsense. Guns are not the problem. Extremism is the problem. In all facets of society, people are pulled into extremist ideologies, right and left alike. It is disgusting that when tragedy strikes we have to run to our respective sides and we have to argue and fight.
That is exactly what the terrorists that commit these heinous crimes want. They want division and divisiveness. They want to implant the seeds of hate in us all. Enough is enough. We have to come together as one, Democrat and Republican, natural-born citizen and immigrant, white and black, we are one people.
It is time for the adult in the room to intervene. It is time to condemn hatred and bigotry on all fronts, and it is time to live by the true creed of America. All men are created equal.