One attack was east of the city’s center, the other west. Both were about a mile from Cathedral Square.
The Bangladesh Cricket team were on their way to one of the prayer meetings. They hadn’t quite arrived when the killing started. They’re a bit rattled, but otherwise okay.
The cricketers weren’t the only ones who had their day disrupted. Christchurch authorities stopped a climate change rally in Cathedral Square and put the city’s schools in lockdown.1
The attacker’s identity was obvious, at least in 20-20 hindsight. He identified himself by name, and livestreamed video of at least one attack from his headcam.
I noticed familiar angles in today’s news and op-eds covering the attacks:
- “Christchurch shootings: 49 dead in New Zealand mosque attacks”
BBC News (March 15, 2019)
- “Facebook, YouTube and Twitter are struggling to remove New Zealand mosque shooting videos”
Lauren Feiner, CNBC (March 15, 2019)
- “New Zealand gun laws face scrutiny after Christchurch attack”
Lois Beckett, The Guardian (March 15, 2019)
- “Christchurch city in lock down, thousands of workers, students stuck”
Chris Hutching, Liz McDonald, Adele Redmond; Stuff, New Zealand (March 15, 2019)
That’s understandable. Even if some outfit managed to get all the facts and discussed how they’d affect — or might affect — everyone, I doubt that anyone would read the result. Maybe a few news wonks, with entirely too much time on their hands.
I’ve got an angle or two, myself.
“Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.”
I’m not sure which would be less pleasant: knowing that someone in my family had been killed, or knowing only that he or she is missing and might be dead or injured.
Either way, I’d almost certainly prefer knowledge to uncertainty. From the trouble taken to update missing persons lists, I’d say that others share my preference:
- Christchurch Firearms Incident in New Zealand – Search
International Committee of the Red Cross, New Zealand; in cooperation with National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
‘Weeping with those who weep’ is easier for me in cases like this, where I can identify with the mourners. Maybe that needs an explanation.
And partly because I’m a Catholic, living in a country where some folks may still see us as minions of a foreign power.
There’s a little truth behind that fear. The pope isn’t an American. I can’t vote for or against an amendment to the Decalogue, or even collect signatures for a referendum on trans-species marriage.
I could, actually. And that’s anther topic.
But, undemocratic and un-American as it is, I’m pretty sure “Romanism” won’t engulf this fair land in its tentacles of tyranny, superstition, bigotry and ignorance.
I figure many Muslims living in America and New Zealand take their faith as seriously as I do. Particularly those who let themselves be seen following their religious practices.
Not that I’d hope to convince stalwart defenders of ‘their’ country that Islam and Muslims are no more a threat than creeping Catholicism and Papists with too many kids.
The attacker’s livestream video apparently went straight to his Facebook account. Folks who share his attitude promptly shared it in assorted social media.
I think there’s a lesson or two here, and it’s not that civilization is doomed unless we limit social media content to material screened by right-minded officials.
I don’t even think that social media, the Internet, guns or motor-driven vehicles make people behave badly.
The technology and its developing social structures let me communicate with folks I’d never meet otherwise.
Some share my viewpoints, many don’t. For me, that’s nothing new. Or disturbing, by itself. Some of the attitudes I see are another matter.
I’d much prefer living in a world where pretty much everyone didn’t act as if “different” and “evil” were synonyms. And saw other folks as neighbors, not foreign threats. That’s not how things are in today’s world.
It’s not how they were in my ‘good old days,’ either.
But it was harder to learn what editors hadn’t selected for the day’s network news and national news services. As I keep saying, I don’t miss ‘the good old days.’
And I sure don’t want a world where only the ‘right’ folks are allowed to express opinions. Even if the information gatekeepers said they had only my best interests in mind. That’s a can of worms for another day.
I think human life is precious, sacred. (Catechism, 2258)
I also think working together makes more sense than the alternative:
“…We must overcome our fear of the future. But we will not be able to overcome it completely unless we do so together. The ‘answer’ to that fear is neither coercion nor repression, nor the imposition of one social ‘model’ on the entire world. The answer to the fear which darkens human existence at the end of the twentieth century is the common effort to build the civilization of love, founded on the universal values of peace, solidarity, justice, and liberty….”
(“To the United Nations Organization,” St. John Paul II (October 5, 1995))
Maybe I’ll say more about what happened in Christchurh yesterday, when there’s more information and I’ve got more time.
Meanwhile, here’s the usual list of somewhat-related posts:
- “Jolo: Bombs at the Cathedral”
(January 29, 2019)
- “Homer, Hegel, History and Hope”
(May 12, 2018)
- “Mass Murder: No Fast Fix”
(February 18, 2018)
- “Who is My Neighbor?”
(February 1, 2017)
- “Death in Charlottesville”
(August 14, 2017