On Friday, Mar. 15, the 28-year-old Christchurch terrorist conducted a horrific and violent anti-Islamic massacre. Motivated by far-right extremism, the Christchurch terrorist shot dead 50 innocent Muslim-worshipers in two mosques located in Christchurch, New Zealand.
With more than 400 people gathered at Al Noor Mosque on Deans Avenue for Friday Prayer, the Christchurch terrorist was respectfully greeted by a man before proceeding to open fire with a semiautomatic gun, ultimately killing forty-one victims. He then commenced getting in his car to drive three-miles away to shoot and kill nine more people at Linwood Mosque. The whole account lasted a total of roughly six minutes.
The Christchurch terrorist took to his Facebook to live stream and broadcast his mass shooting on a helmet-mounted camera. The first-person footage immediately exposed to the hundreds of people watching an attack instilled on an international fear of Muslims. His reach on social media did not stop at Facebook. The Christchurch terrorist posted on both Twitter and 8chan, a website composed of user-created boards, to post a 74-page manifesto linked directly to his neo-Nazi views. He cited his influences, Finsbury Park Mosque attacker Darren Osborne and Norwegian far-right terrorist and mass murderer Anders Breivik. The manifesto delved deeper into white nationalist tropes and exposed The Christchurch terrorist’s fear of white genocide. He even describes his use of a gun as a tribute to stir discord about the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
Living nearly 190 miles south of Christchurch, the gunman was known to be a member of the Bruce Rifle Club that has allegedly proposed concerns over the mental stability of its members in past years. The Christchurch terrorist was known to keep a private life, although it has recently been uncovered that he has been planning the attack for two years. He did not appear on the radar for the New Zealand Police Department because his activity did not suggest anything suspicious. It was not until 2017 that the Christchurch terrorist got a gun license, and acquired the weaponry he would use in his crime. Nothing leading up to those events proposed the Christchurch terrorist as a potential threat to the livelihood of New Zealand residents.
Besides the firearms that were uncovered in the crime scene, police found two explosives in his car that have since been detonated.
While Tarrant has been accounted with charges of murder and the court continues to handle his case, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern calls for the immediate reform of gun laws.
“Within 10 days of this horrific act of terrorism, we will have announced reforms that I believe will have made our community safer,” Ardern said.
While people across the world unite through vigils to display their respect for the victims of the shooting, New Zealanders voice their support in more local ways by gathering at the crime scene, flooding the floors with lit candles and flowers. Students performed Ka mate, a famous haka dance, which is recognized as a tribute to life in the face of death.
Only a matter of days after the attack, Arden pushed forward a new law that bans the sales of “military-style” semi-automatic assault rifles and high capacity magazines set to become fully implemented into law on Apr. 11.
As New Zealand works to recover from the horrific awakening recent events have caused, this has been marked by many countries as recognition of far-right extremism particularly targeting Muslims.