Terrorist Attack Kills 49 in Christchurch Mosques

Another white supremacist attack raises disturbing questions about our information environment.

NYT (“Christchurch Shooting Live Updates: 49 Are Dead After 2 Mosques Are Hit“):

Forty-nine people were killed in shootings at two mosques in central Christchurch, New Zealand, on Friday, in a terrorist attack that Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern described as “an extraordinary and unprecedented act of violence.”

• Officials said that one man in his late 20s had been charged with murder, and that two explosive devices were found attached to a vehicle that they had stopped.

• A Muslim leader in New Zealand said the attack was especially shocking as it took place around Friday Prayer. The police urged people to stay away from the mosques until further notice.

• A video and manifesto that appeared to be by a gunman involved in the shooting were posted online on the day of the attack.

Two mosques are attacked

Shots were fired at Al Noor Mosque on Deans Avenue in the center of the city, and at Linwood Mosque, about three miles away, the police said.

The country’s police commissioner, Mike Bush, said in an evening news conference that 41 people had been killed at Al Noor Mosque and seven at Linwood Mosque, and that a further victim had died at Christchurch Hospital.

The police said that four people, including three men and one woman, had been taken into custody. Prime Minister Scott Morrison of Australia said that one of them was Australian.

Mr. Bush said that a man in his late 20s had been charged with murder and would appear in Christchurch court on Saturday morning. A number of firearms were recovered from the scenes of the shootings, he said.

Of the three others who were arrested, the police commissioner said that one might have had nothing to do with the attack and that the police were working to determine how the other two might have been involved.

Ms. Ardern said earlier that none of those detained were on security watch lists.

[…]

A white-nationalist manifesto

Before the shooting, someone appearing to be the gunman posted links to a white-nationalist manifesto on Twitter and the online forum 8chan. The 8chan post included a link to what appeared to be the gunman’s Facebook page, where he said he would also broadcast live video of the attack.

The Twitter posts showed weapons covered in the names of past military generals and men who have recently carried out mass shootings.

In his manifesto, he identified himself as a 28-year-old man born in Australia and listed his white nationalist heroes.

Writing that he had purposely used guns to stir discord in the United States over the Second Amendment’s provision on the right to bear arms, he also declared himself a fascist. “For once, the person that will be called a fascist, is an actual fascist,” he wrote.

[…]

Murders are rare in New Zealand, but guns aren’t

Murders are rare in New Zealand, and gun homicides even rarer. There were 35 murders countrywide in 2017. And since 2007, gun homicides have been in the single digits each year except 2009, when there were 11.

But there are plenty of guns.

There were 1.2 million registered firearms in the country of 4.6 million people in 2017, according to the Small Arms Survey, a Swiss nonprofit.

A mass shooting in the New Zealand in 1990 — when a man killed 13 people, including two 6-year-olds, after a dispute with his neighbor in the seaside town of Aramoana — led directly to tightened gun laws, including restrictions on “military style semiautomatic weapons.”

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.

WaPo (“49 killed in terrorist attack at mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand“) adds:

[…]

Police had deactivated an improvised explosive device, and were working to disarm a second, that had been attached to a vehicle used by the suspects. Counterterrorism forces were activated across New Zealand and Australia, as New Zealand elevated its national security threat level to “high” for the first time.

[…]

Portions of the ghastly attack at the downtown mosque were broadcast live on social media by a man who police confirmed had also released a manifesto railing against Muslims and immigrants. The 74-page document stated that he was following the example of notorious right-wing extremists, including Dylann Roof, who murdered nine black churchgoers in Charleston, S.C., in 2015. The document, littered with conspiracy theories about white birth rates and “white genocide,” was the latest sign that a lethal vision of white nationalism has spread internationally.

Meanwhile, the digital platforms apparently enlisted by the suspects highlighted a distinctly 21st-century dimension of mass gun violence — one sure to put more pressure on social media companies already under scrutiny about how they police their services.

[…]

In a country of nearly 5 million, more than 46,000 residents are Muslim, according to data from the 2013 census, up 28 percent from 2006.

The prime minister said New Zealand had suffered “an extraordinary and unprecedented act of violence,” lamenting in particular that a target had been placed on the country’s migrant population. “Many of those who will have been directly affected by this shooting may be migrants to New Zealand. They may even be refugees here. They have chosen to make New Zealand their home, and it is their home.”

“They are us,” Ardern intoned.

The “extremist views” that she said had motivated the alleged attackers, “have absolutely no place in New Zealand, and, in fact, have no place in the world.”

She said the suspects had chosen New Zealand “because we represent diversity, kindness, compassion, a home for those who share our values.” Addressing the suspects directly, she said, “You may have chosen us. But we utterly reject and condemn you.”

[…]

Before the attack, someone with apparently advance knowledge of unfolding events posted links on Twitter and the message board 8chan to the 74-page manifesto, as well as to a Facebook page where the individual promised that the attack would be streamed live. The Twitter posts included images of weapons and ammunition, as well as the names of perpetrators of past mass-casualty shootings.

In the manifesto, the purported shooter identified himself as a 28-year-old white man born in Australia. He described his motivation, which he said involved defending “our lands” from “invaders” and ensuring “a future for white children.” He aimed to “directly reduce immigration rates,” he said, explaining that he chose to target New Zealand to illustrate that there was nowhere “left to go that was safe and free from mass immigration.”

The 17-minute video, apparently filmed from a helmet camera, captures the man’s drive to the mosque. Once there, he pulled a weapon from the trunk of the car and walked a short distance to the entrance, where he began to shoot. In the final minutes of the video, he can be seen spraying bullets through the corridors and into the rooms of the house of worship.

Twitter said it had suspended the account where the links had first appeared and was “proactively working to remove the video content from the service,” according to a spokesperson. Facebook “quickly removed both the shooter’s Facebook and Instagram accounts and the video” as soon as the social media company was alerted by police, a spokeswoman, Mia Garlick, said in a statement. “We’re also removing any praise or support for the crime and the shooter or shooters as soon as we’re aware.”

The aggregation and discussion website Reddit was also “actively monitoring the situation” and removing “content containing links to the video stream,” a spokesperson told The Post.

I’m rather loathe to help popularize the main perpetrator’s name but suppose that’s a futile gesture. His manifesto describes himself as having gone through a wide-ranging ideological journey:  “a communist, then an anarchist and finally a libertarian before coming to be an eco-fascist.” He was obviously a sick man. Still, his ultimate ideology is hardly unique. And it raises some questions as to how a free society deals with such people.

C.J. Werleman, ”a journalist, author and analyst on conflict, terrorism and the Middle East,” writes for the Sydney Morning Herald (“Broken white men and the racist media that fuels their terrorism“):

What we do know about [the main perpetrator], however, at least based on his social media accounts, is his profile reads as the sum total of every counter-terrorism practitioner’s and academic’s fear, one that law-enforcement agencies throughout the Western hemisphere have long warned to be the No. 1 terror threat: right-wing extremism.

More specifically, Tarrant represents the dangerous convergence between broken white men and extreme right-wing media, bearing in mind that 100 per cent of all terrorist attacks carried out on US soil in 2018 were carried out by right-wing extremists, with the Southern Poverty Law Centre crediting a “toxic combination of political polarisation, anti-immigrant sentiment and modern technologies that help spread propaganda online”.

These kind of attacks are being carried out in increased frequency and ferocity in mosques, synagogues, and black churches throughout the Western world, with a notable common denominator: the gunmen are always white, male and fuelled by consumption of right-wing media.

“Well, it’s time to stop shitposting and time to make a real life effort post. I will carry out an attack against the invaders, and will even live stream the attack via Facebook link,” Tarrant warned on the far-right online forum 8Chan on Thursday, which included links to what he called his “writings”.

A day earlier, he posted a photo of his semi-automatic weapon on Twitter, with the words “Here’s your migration compact!” etched onto the butt of his assault rifle.

Essentially, his manifesto mimics the same kind of anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim, and anti-leftist views expressed by the Norwegian right-wing extremist Anders Breivik, who shot dead 77 Norwegian students in what he described as his protest against Europe’s liberal and multicultural values.

“Merkel [German Chancellor], the mother of all things anti-white and anti-germanic, is top of the list. Few have done more to damage and racially cleanse Europe of its people,” reads the opening excerpt to Tarrant’s manifesto titled “The Great Replacement”. That is a reference to the same “white genocide” theory that drove the Pittsburgh Synagogue shooter, who killed 11 Jewish worshippers in October of last year.

In another post, Tarrant provides his social media followers a series of questions and answers, in which he claims conservative pundit Candace Owens, a darling of the far right, to be the “particular person” who radicalised him the “most”.

“Each time she spoke I was stunned by her insights and her own views helped push me further and further into the belief of violence over meekness,” Tarrant wrote.

Owens, an African American, is feted by far-right activists and white nationalists for praising the US President as the “saviour” of the West, and for warning Europe will soon be overrun by Muslims, while also not forgetting her recent statement proclaiming Hitler would have been fine if he didn’t want to “globalise”. In other words, the Holocaust was fine. The problem is Hitler invaded other countries.

It was only a decade or two ago that anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant extremists like Owens existed only on the fringe of the media landscape or the corners of the dark web, but today, particularly in the age of Trump, Brexit and the return of ultra-nationalism, they have moved to the mainstream, enjoying platforms on major television networks.

Today, pundits can say and write things about Muslims that would never be published by editors or executive producers. Whereas anti-Semitism, anti-black and anti-Asian racism are rightfully and routinely condemned, Islamophobia remains the only form of racism that remains within socially acceptable limits.

Last week, for instance, Fox News host Jeanine Pirro suggested America’s first elected black Muslim congresswoman would not be loyal to the US constitution because she wears a hijab, invoking the anti-Semitic “dual loyalty” canard, a slur that would have seen her show pulled had she said similar about a kippah-wearing Jewish American politician.

For years, tabloid newspapers in New Zealand, Australia, Britain and the US have published a stream of inaccurate stories about Muslims, while also deploying sensationalised headlines, with one study finding British newspapers were pressured into correcting stories about Muslims more than 20 times in one three-month period, and another revealing that crimes committed by Muslims received almost four times as much media coverage as crimes committed by all other groups.

Ultimately, Tarrant nurtured by a media that exploits the politics of hate and division. If the slaying of dozens of Muslims so close to home isn’t a warning that Islamophobia and the rise of white supremacy must be taken seriously, then what is?

There’s simply no doubt that the Internet, for all the good it does, has a seedy underbelly that makes it much easier to conduct illicit activity than was the case previously. Whether it’s arranging extramarital affairs, sharing revenge porn, distributing child pornography, spreading bigotry, or plotting acts of terrorism, it’s much, much easier to find like-minded individuals while going unnoticed by one’s local community.

It’s a slippery slope, indeed, to include the Fox News propaganda machine in the same category as those who commit acts of terrorism. But, certainly, they render some of the white supremacist agenda more mainstream. And, in the minds of the right individuals, it’s not too difficult to go from seeing people as a dangerous “other” and seeing their extermination as not only just but necessary.

FILED UNDER: National Security, Religion, Terrorism
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    Two things:
    1) don’t hold your breath waiting for a post from one of our usual crowd lamenting the lack of a “good Muslim with a gun”
    2) do expect to hear from one of the usuals snarking about how the proliferation of guns in NZ doesn’t seem to be a problem.
    Frankly, I’ll put in with them on number 2. The problem isn’t that Americans are armed. It’s that crazy evil Americans are armed–just like it was in this case. And we can’t do anything to correct the problem because we’re more comfortable with evil crazy Americans being armed than we are with curtailing our own “freedom.” And that comfort is our right because “we’re Americans dammit!”
    TEAM AMERICA. (fvck yeah!)

    ReplyReply
    10
    8
  2. Ben Wolf says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    . . .don’t hold your breath waiting for a post from one of our usual crowd lamenting the lack of a “good Muslim with a gun”

    OTB has no such crowd. Its commentors are almost entirely alt-right Democrats who think the “good-guy” uses his guns on dark people in foreign countries.

    Guns in America, bad. American guns slaughtering elsewhere, America is Already Great.

    ReplyReply
    8
    34
  3. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Ben Wolf: Perhaps I should clarify–our usual Second Amendment crowd.

    ReplyReply
  4. An Interested Party says:

    Its commentors are almost entirely alt-right Democrats who think the “good-guy” uses his guns on dark people in foreign countries.

    Have you taken some reality-altering drugs lately? Who are these “alt-right Democrats”…

    ReplyReply
    22
    2
  5. Guarneri says:

    “It’s a slippery slope, indeed, to include the Fox News propaganda machine in the same category as those who commit acts of terrorism.”

    LOL The guy is simply a crass and opportunistic crank. Yet you give his comment a venue, while simultaneously putting out a notion by soft pedaling a ” slippery slope.”. And you wonder why this blog can’t be taken seriously any longer.

    ReplyReply
    1
    30
  6. Guarneri says:

    @An Interested Party:

    We’re always the last to know.

    ReplyReply
    22
  7. OzarkHillbilly says:

    It’s a slippery slope, indeed, to include the Fox News propaganda machine in the same category as those who commit acts of terrorism. But, certainly, they render some of the white supremacist agenda more mainstream. And, in the minds of the right individuals, it’s not too difficult to go from seeing people as a dangerous “other” and seeing their extermination as not only just but necessary.

    In answer, I give you,

    Samantha Bee: ‘A revolting trash heap of racist talking points’

    On Wednesday’s Full Frontal, Samantha Bee did not mince her words, laying into the Fox News host Tucker Carlson, whose sexist and racist comments on women and Muslims resurfaced over the weekend.

    The audio clips, from a radio show Carlson used to call frequently hosted by Bubba the Love Sponge, capture Carlson saying such niceties as: “I love women but they’re extremely primitive. They’re basic.”

    “Ugh, that is vile and disgusting,” Bee commented. “And presumably the audition tape that got him a show at Fox.”

    Bee then turned to more telling comments from Carlson, such as his 2006 wish that a presidential candidate would promise to kill “lunatic Muslims” and his 2008 description of Iraq as a “crappy place filled with a bunch of you know, semi-literate, primitive monkeys”.

    “Oh my God, Tucker Carlson publicly advocated a genocide while promoting his MSNBC show?” Bee mock-exclaimed. “To quote Tucker Carlson’s face: huh?”

    Carlson responded to the controversy with “all the grace and humility you’d expect”, Bee deadpanned. “If you want to know what I think, you can watch” his show, he said in a non-apology statement.

    Bee took him up on the challenge: “We have been watching your show and we found that it’s a revolting trash heap of racist talking points.

    “Don’t get me wrong,” she said, “I’m not saying Tucker Carlson is a white supremacist – oh no, I’m sorry, yes I am.”

    Bee then turned to more recent examples of Carlson’s race-baiting, such as when he bemoaned how immigrants make America “poorer, and dirtier, and more divided”, accused Latin American countries of “forcing demographic change” and said nobody cares about Americans (“It’s like shut up, you’re dying, we’re going to replace you”).

    “Oh, that’s weird, where have I heard sweaty white men yelling about being replaced before?” Bee mused over a picture of white supremacists from the 2017 Unite the Right march in Charlottesville.

    Many of Carlson’s defenders say you can’t fault someone for their fans, including the former KKK grand wizard David Duke, “which is kind of true”, Bee conceded. “If you own a restaurant that neo-Nazis go to, that doesn’t make you a white supremacist. But if neo-Nazis go there because you make the soup spell racist tropes, then yeah, you might be a white supremacist.”

    ReplyReply
    18
    4
  8. Eric Florack says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: what is a reason you won’t hear anything about a good Muslim with a gun. They’ve banned guns in New Zealand.

    that said, let’s make sure we understand the double standard being dealt with here. When a gunman comes in and shoots up a Christian Church, it’s the gun’s fault. When somebody goes in and shoots up a mosque, it’s the white supremacists fault.

    without ever once mentioning how long they had to wait for something that actually managed to fit in with the leftist agenda

    ReplyReply
    2
    29
  9. Teve says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I was not surprised when that big pile of white supremacist messages leaked, and they were praising Tucker Carlson for pushing their message into the mainstream.

    ReplyReply
    4
    1
  10. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Eric Florack:

    without ever once mentioning how long they had to wait for something that actually managed to fit in with the leftist agenda

    Yeah! It took a whole 3 days this time!

    ETA as for this:

    When a gunman comes in and shoots up a Christian Church, it’s the gun’s fault. When somebody goes in and shoots up a mosque, it’s the white supremacists fault.

    BS. We blame the gun culture for arming the white supremacists with military weapons.

    ReplyReply
    22
    1
  11. KM says:

    @Ben Wolf :

    Its commentors are almost entirely alt-right Democrats

    WTF is an “alt-right Democrat”??? Holy oxymoron, Batman!

    You *do* realize that the folks who coined the term alt-right (looking at you, Spencer) meant it to differentiate themselves from the mainstream right they felt was drifting too far left? And that when they want to create a false equivalence they go with “alt-left” to pretend it’s not just them on the wingnut side of the fence?

    If you wanted to note that some anti-gun Democrats are fine with American-associated violence (presumably using guns) overseas or make a note about racial disparities in concern, that’s valid. But if you want to be taken seriously, try to make some sense when you make your point, OK?

    ReplyReply
    17
  12. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Eric Florack:

    When a gunman comes in and shoots up a Christian Church, it’s the gun’s fault. When somebody goes in and shoots up a mosque, it’s the white supremacists fault.

    That makes absolutely no sense. None.
    You prove your ignorance with every comment.
    Please take your idiocy elsewhere.

    ReplyReply
    14
    2
  13. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Eric Florack:
    You are this murderer, Eric. You are of the same ideological stock, a gun-obsessed, racist, white supremacist piece of human garbage.

    ReplyReply
    23
    10
  14. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    Dennison sends thoughts and prayers…can’t bring himself to mention right-wing terrorism.

    @Michael Reynolds:
    The only difference between this guy and Florack is that this guy actually did what Florack only dreams about.

    ReplyReply
    11
    4
  15. James Joyner says:

    @Eric Florack:

    They’ve banned guns in New Zealand.

    What on earth are you talking about? They’ve done no such thing. As the reports above make clear, NZ is awash in guns.

    ReplyReply
    44
  16. Eric Florack says:

    @Michael Reynolds: let’s examine that by taking a quick look at the man’s history.

    “He calls himself an ‘Eco-fascist,’ one who combines environmentalism, racism and authoritarianism into one repulsive package. In his mind the world is dying from over-population, but over-population of the ‘wrong’ kind. He hates capitalism, free markets, and free trade but he loves the Communist Chinese government and fascism.”

    Forgive me if I have a little trouble accepting this as a right-wing terrorist.

    Your fantasies don’t match the man’s own words I’m afraid.

    ReplyReply
    4
    26
  17. Hal_10000 says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    Trump last night posted a link to Breitbart, which was overflowing with trolls saying the NZ massacre was a good start. Deleted it this morning and put up a standard response.

    ReplyReply
    16
    1
  18. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Eric Florack:
    You’re a liar. Let me tell you what I know: when you heard this news, you cheered.

    ReplyReply
    13
    7
  19. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Eric Florack:

    Forgive me if I have a little trouble accepting this as a right-wing terrorist.

    Oh look…our local racist doesn’t think this guy is pure enough to belong in his club!!!
    2018…50 people killed in America by right wing terrorists…a near monoply on terrorist deaths.
    Not the muslims or the colored people that Florack is afraid of…white supremacists…just like Florack. Only Florack is a coward. Nothing but a keyboard commando.

    ReplyReply
    15
    3
  20. CSK says:

    Here’s the top-rated comment (by far) on this awful slaughter from Lucianne.com:
    “Its (sic) a start!” So far, 80 upvotes.

    @Eric Florack:
    Just a wee reminder: When are you going to answer my question about whether Michael Cohen lied when he said that Donald Trump didn’t father a child out of wedlock, didn’t pay a woman to abort his child,and didn’t slap Melania around in an elevator??

    ReplyReply
    10
    3
  21. gVOR08 says:

    @Hal_10000: I looked at the comments on this story on FOX. Stomach turning.

    ReplyReply
  22. Andy says:

    Well, I suppose it’s comforting to see the OTB comments section hasn’t changed in my absence.

    Anyway, I thought this initial analysis of the shooter’s manifesto and online presence was very interesting and something to keep in mind when trying to put motivation and intent into convenient ideological boxes. Bellingcat, BTW, is the online research/intelligence organization that proved the Russians shot down MH-17 and they also proved the Skripol poisoners were Russian agents (along with several others).

    https://www.bellingcat.com/news/rest-of-world/2019/03/15/shitposting-inspirational-terrorism-and-the-christchurch-mosque-massacre/

    ReplyReply
    4
    1
  23. Modulo Myself says:

    @Andy:

    I read that earlier, and it’s interesting insofar as it shows how common shitposting racism and misogyny have become. You are literally describing how ‘moderates’ defend Trump–as getting inside the heads of liberals by being provocative.This is the standard MO from Milo to Tucker Carlson, who apparently needs to be debated on the merits of his ideas about raping 14-year olds. It should not be surprising that these white supremacists are upping the behaviors of their elders who are happy to pretend they are being oppressed by leftwing mobs while spewing white-supremacist nonsense online.

    ReplyReply
    10
    1
  24. Dave Schuler says:

    @James Joyner:

    The reports are somewhat misleading. About 5% of New Zealanders own firearms (compared with more than 40% here). The report quoted above talks about the number of firearms rather than the number of owners. Apparently, in NZ a significant number of weapons are owned by a rather small number of people. In principle to obtain a firearm in New Zealand you have to give a good reason. There’s no outright ban.

    ReplyReply
    6
    1
  25. Eric Florack says:

    Good Muslim with a gun? Actually I stand corrected they have an outright band guns in New Zealand currently had a permit… At one of the mosques, Lynnwood I believe, the attackers were surprised by return fire.

    ReplyReply
    1
    18
  26. Stormy Dragon says:

    I posted this a few days ago, and it certainly fits the right wing response to this massacre:

    The Alt-Right Playbook: The Card Says Moops

    We’ve now reached the point where the right is actually arguing that a mass shooting of minorities shouldn’t be called racism because the shooter was only being “ironically racist”.

    ReplyReply
    12
    2
  27. Teve says:

    @Dave Schuler: the statistics I saw last year were that between 20 and 30% of Americans own guns. And guns are very unequally distributed; there is a relatively small percentage of the population that owns lots of guns.

    ReplyReply
  28. James Joyner says:

    @Dave Schuler: That’s interesting. And, frankly, the NZ policy sounds like what I favor here.

    ReplyReply
  29. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Dave Schuler:

    In principle to obtain a firearm in New Zealand you have to give a good reason.

    In practice, this ends up meaning rich whites can have guns, but the poor and minorities are prevented from having them.

    ReplyReply
    6
    1
  30. R. Dave says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: 1) don’t hold your breath waiting for a post from one of our usual crowd lamenting the lack of a “good Muslim with a gun”….

    Well, it looks like there was actually a “good Muslim with a gun” at one of the two targeted mosques. At the mosque where the worshiper (is that the right term?) returned fire, only 7 or 8 people were killed before the shooter fled; at the mosque where no one returned fire, 41 were killed over a period of several minutes as the shooter just casually walked around firing into the piles of bodies.

    Not saying that means “more guns = fewer deaths” on a societal level, but in any given situation, it’s likely better for one of the victims to be armed so they can defend themselves.

    ReplyReply
  31. Neil J Hudelson says:

    @Dave Schuler:

    The reports are somewhat misleading. About 5% of New Zealanders own firearms (compared with more than 40% here).

    The highest estimate of gun ownership I can find is 29%. Generally, estimates range from 20-25%. The 40% number you’re referring to is the approximate percentage of all the firearms in the world that are owned by Americans.

    ReplyReply
    11
  32. Kathy says:

    @James Joyner:

    What on earth are you talking about? They’ve done no such thing. As the reports above make clear, NZ is awash in guns.

    He probably thinks Australia and New Zealand are the same thing, all part of that small island in the middle of nowhere.

    ReplyReply
    9
    1
  33. R. Dave says:

    @James Joyner: @Dave Schuler: That’s interesting. And, frankly, the NZ policy sounds like what I favor here.

    Really, James? I’m surprised. I figured you’d be in favor of mandatory background checks, licensing and maybe registration, but I would have guessed you’d support a “shall issue” standard rather than one that involves a discretionary determination as to whether the applicant has a “good reason” to get a gun.

    ReplyReply
    1
    2
  34. Teve says:

    @Neil J Hudelson: 40% is also approximately the number of households which have guns in them.

    ReplyReply
  35. charon says:
  36. gVOR08 says:

    Marc Hetherington in Prius or Pickup,

    When one of the authors was in Bosnia in 2004, as part of an election-monitoring team, he was astonished to learn that the local residents often couldn’t say who was Serbian, Croat, or Muslim. They looked and sounded alike.

    One reason these groups had lived peacefully next to each other for generations is because the leaders of the former Yugoslavia had incentives to submerge the country’s ethnic differences to make governing a multiethnic state more manageable. During that period, people who lived in Bosnia could choose among a number of group identities—Yugoslav, Bosnian, or Serbian, in the case of those ethnic Serbs, to name just a few. Yugoslav leaders, of course, wanted those living in Bosnia, regardless of their ethnic identities, to identify as Yugoslavs.

    After the disintegration of Yugoslavia, residents of Bosnia still had a range of group identities to choose among, although Yugoslav was no longer one of them. Slobodan Miloševic, the leader of neighboring Serbia, who wanted to widen the boundaries of Serbia into Bosnia, had incentives to gin up animosities based on those ethnic differences to encourage ethnic Serbs in Bosnia to follow him, causing them to think of themselves primarily as Serbs, thus creating a new dominant group identity for them. In response to their group being under attack, Muslims and Croats stopped thinking of themselves as Bosnians and rather as enemies of the Serbs (as well as of each other). The results were catastrophic.

    This stuff always exists, but it doesn’t have to bubble up to being a major problem. It is a major problem because unscrupulous politicians choose to exploit it for their own gain. In the U. S. it’s the Republicans. No one’s going vote for a platform of tax cuts at the top and benefit cuts for everyone else, but they can too easily be persuaded to vote against the “other”.

    ReplyReply
    2
    1
  37. Andy says:

    @Neil J Hudelson:

    The ownership rate really depends on what you’re actually counting (individual ownership, household ownership, guns actually in a household vs guns stored off-site, etc.) as well as the survey method used.

    Anecdotally, with the hyper-politicization of this topic, it appears that many people may not be answering truthfully in surveys. Bottom line is that precise figures are very hard to come by.

    ReplyReply
    3
    1
  38. James Joyner says:

    @R. Dave:

    I figured you’d be in favor of mandatory background checks, licensing and maybe registration, but I would have guessed you’d support a “shall issue” standard rather than one that involves a discretionary determination as to whether the applicant has a “good reason” to get a gun.

    I think background checks, licensing/training, and registration make sense. I don’t see any reason ordinary citizens who have passed those hurdles shouldn’t be allowed to own rifles and shotguns. I think it ought be harder than it is most places to carry around handguns.

    ReplyReply
  39. gVOR08 says:

    @Kathy:

    He probably thinks Australia and New Zealand are the same thing, all part of that small island in the middle of nowhere.

    I got a chuckle out of a commenter at FOX who said New Zealanders must now wish they had a wall. In mid-Pacific?

    ReplyReply
    9
    1
  40. Teve says:

    @charon: Kevin Kruse and other historians and political scientists have dunked on Dinesh so hard and so frequently over the past two months that the impacts on his skull have given him CTE.

    ReplyReply
    3
    1
  41. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @charon:
    That’s what passes for intelligence in today’s Republican party.
    The idea that 49 people could be shot in any kind of church, by anyone, and not be big news is beyond ridiculous.
    I’m pretty sure William F. Buckley Jr’s party has lost at least 75 points on the IQ scale.
    And it shows in who supports Dennison.

    ReplyReply
    5
    2
  42. Teve says:

    @gVOR08: that book sounds interesting.

    ReplyReply
  43. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    No one has a gun in the mosque…or returned fire…

    “The young guy who usually takes care of the mosque … he saw an opportunity and pounced on [the gunman] and took his gun…The hero tried to chase and he couldn’t find the trigger in the gun … he ran behind him but there were people waiting for him in the car and he fled.”

    ReplyReply
  44. Teve says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    I’m pretty sure William F. Buckley Jr’s party has lost at least 75 points on the IQ scale.

    if I recall correctly, Buckley had a not terrible proposal for the gun problem. Something like, replace all the handguns with sawed-off shotguns. You could defend your home with them, the bullets wouldn’t go through 6 walls and into a baby, and it couldn’t be easily concealed for criminal use.

    (I read that a decade or two ago, I might be misremembering a bit)

    ReplyReply
  45. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    Maybe New Zealand should build a wall???

    ReplyReply
    1
    1
  46. Teve says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: I guarantee either doocy or kilmeade beat you to that 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀

    ReplyReply
  47. Jay L Gischer says:

    The thing I always wonder about with a spree killing is just what the effect of ideology on the killing. We know something about how spree killers work, and yet our ability to predict them is still terrible. It turns out gun ownership does a terrible job of predicting them, though a burst of gun/weapons buying might do better.

    Does ideology predict spree killings? Not very well. Put it this way: There are lots of people who say terrible things about Muslims on the internet, but only a very few of them who go to a mosque and start shooting. And there are people who go to churches and start shooting. And also people who go to movie theaters and start shooting, with very little ideology seemingly involved.

    Long ago in my own neighborhood, a man named Anthony DeGuzman was caught before embarking on a killing spree at DeAnza College. Again, very little ideology there.

    One thread that is in common is the spree killers all bear a very strong sense of their own humiliation and shame. Who the victims are seems to bear some resemblance to the contours of that shame. And in this I do blame those who stoke shame and degradation.

    Still, I feel we aren’t doing a very good job of looking at the actual patterns of spree killing, which is a necessary step toward cutting them down.

    ReplyReply
  48. grumpy realist says:

    @Jay L Gischer: I wonder how many spree killers are simple egotists looking for fame.

    I’m also wondering how much the culture of the internet (and particularly social media) encourages these idiots. Are we seeing more psychopathic behaviour because “success in internet society” encourages such behaviour, or because we have more people in the world (which means the 3% or whatever it is just means MOAR HUMNZ)?

    (Number of internet trolls who think that encouraging anti-social activity is great for the LULZ has increased, definitely. May they all be moved to a large unpopulated area and forced to live for their rest of their lives without technology.)

    ReplyReply
  49. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Eric Florack: So you’re argument is “yeah, I’m a racist, but I don’t give a fvck about the environment?” Alrightie, then.

    ReplyReply
    5
    1
  50. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kathy: Interestingly enough, a cousin of mine lives in NZ (Wellington). And when Trump was running he noted that they would be pretty safe if Trump was elected because they were out in the middle of nowhere.

    Interesting also, he was the first person I knew who predicted that Trump would get elected. I guess he’s a good judge of American character.

    ReplyReply
  51. Kylopod says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    That’s what passes for intelligence in today’s Republican party.
    The idea that 49 people could be shot in any kind of church, by anyone, and not be big news is beyond ridiculous.

    Additionally, his implication that white-supremacist attacks are somehow the exception that prove the rule is simply untrue: in the US at least, they vastly outnumber Muslim terrorist attacks.

    ReplyReply
    8
    1
  52. Kathy says:

    @gVOR08:

    I don’t think that would have helped the Maori in keeping out the Dutch and English.

    ReplyReply
  53. R. Dave says:

    Rather macabre question here, but does anyone know why people generally just drop more or less immediately upon being shot? I watched the video of this incident – yes, I know that’s arguably a morally fraught decision – and there’s a moment where one of the worshipers tries to jump the shooter and actually knocks him partially to the ground, but in the process, he gets shot a couple of times in the torso and immediately just goes down. I’ve seen similar effects in other videos, but I’ve never been able to find a definitive answer as to why it happens. Unless the heart, brain, or spinal cord is hit, death / immobility isn’t instantaneous, so what’s going on? Even sudden, massive blood loss should take at least a few seconds to cause loss of consciousness. So is it like a pain response or some sort of neurological shock response? I don’t get it.

    ReplyReply
  54. Teve says:

    @R. Dave: well, I’ve never been shot, but a long time ago I knew a guy who had been shot in the gut with a .22 and when he described what it felt like, he said “glue a burning hot bullet on the end of a sledgehammer and then have somebody wind up and hit you in the stomach with it.”

    ReplyReply
  55. Kylopod says:

    Well, I guess America isn’t the only place with deplorable politicians:

    Australian Senator Fraser Anning blames Muslims for the shootings at two mosques in New Zealand that left at least 49 dead in their places of worship.

    The politician drew immediate criticism after he released a statement on Friday declaring that the shooter ― an avowed white supremacist ― was motivated not by bigotry but by the “increasing Muslim presence” in Australia and New Zealand.

    “Whilst this kind of violent vigilantism can never be justified, what it highlights is the growing fear within our community, both in Australia and New Zealand, of the increasing Muslim presence,” he wrote. “Let us be clear, while Muslims may have been the victims today, usually they are the perpetrators.”

    This bigoted and dangerous point of view is one that Anning has been peddling for some time. In August, he called for a “final solution” to the Muslim “immigration problem,” evoking a reference to the Nazis’ “final solution” terminology used to target Jews during the Holocaust.

    Anning’s final solution ― a vote to ban Muslims from the country ― was ignored and lawmakers across the aisle came together to decry the racist politician.

    ReplyReply
    10
    1
  56. gVOR08 says:

    @Teve:

    that book sounds interesting.

    Prius or Pickup is interesting. I recommend it, but somewhat lukewarm. It’s another book about differences between liberals and conservatives. The have four questions about child rearing that they say are well correlated with what they call “fixed” and “fluid” worldviews. The quote I used is from a chapter extending their analysis globally with a good short history of populism/nationalism in Europe.

    I read these books, but I worry about them. I assume there are people at FOX News and in the Kochtopus reading them, and all their source material, very carefully,with a view to refining their manipulation of the “fixed”.

    ReplyReply
    3
    1
  57. gVOR08 says:

    @Kathy:

    I don’t think that would have helped the Maori in keeping out the Dutch and English.

    Damn immigrants.

    ReplyReply
  58. Dave Schuler says:

    @Teve:

    Here’s the source I was using: https://www.statista.com/statistics/249740/percentage-of-households-in-the-united-states-owning-a-firearm/

    That’s households not individuals which might account for the discrepancy. Regardless of precise number a lot higher percentage of Americans own firearms than New Zealanders which was my point.

    ReplyReply
    3
    1
  59. Teve says:

    @Dave Schuler: yeah that matches what I’ve seen

    ReplyReply
  60. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @gVOR08:

    Prius or Pickup is interesting. I recommend it, but somewhat lukewarm. It’s another book about differences between liberals and conservatives.

    Typical…I’m a liberal that has always driven pick-ups, and would never, ever drive a Prius. I dated a woman with a Prius and I wouldn’t even ride in the car.

    ReplyReply
  61. kennb says:

    @Dave Schuler:

    well you dont need to provide much of a reason. In 2017 43,509 kiwis applied for a gun license . 188 of those were rejected.

    ReplyReply
  62. grumpy realist says:

    From what I’m reading on line, the rest of the world is shocked about this. We Americans are shrugging it off with a “what can you do?” helplessness, and the clowns on the right are jumping up and down and high-fiving each other in glee.

    ReplyReply
  63. James Joyner says:

    @grumpy realist:

    We Americans are shrugging it off with a “what can you do?” helplessness

    Sadly, true. Tyler Cowen reposted a stat that there were 35 murders in New Zealand in 2018 and more than that in this single incident. We had many times that last year in our nation’s capital.

    and the clowns on the right are jumping up and down and high-fiving each other in glee.

    Let’s be really, really careful about this. Outside a lunatic fringe, conservative Americans aren’t happy that innocent worshipers were murdered. Mitt Romney isn’t high-fiving anyone. Honestly, as little regard as I have for him, I can’t imagine Donald Trump is, either. Ditto Mike Pence, Mike Pompeo, or any of the Trump cabinet officials I can think of.

    ReplyReply
    3
    2
  64. Teve says:
  65. NW Steve says:

    @James Joyner:

    Mitt Romney isn’t high-fiving anyone. Honestly, as little regard as I have for him, I can’t imagine Donald Trump is, either.

    You probably can’t rightfully accuse Trump et. al. of high-fiving them, but you can accuse them of knowingly and without a hint of principle coddling the despicable people (“good people on both sides”, are they not) who make up that lunatic fringe. It keeps the fringe as supporters. No further justification required.

    ReplyReply
    3
    1
  66. Matt says:

    @Teve: That’s a pretty damned good description of how it feels. Unless you’re hella pumped up or on certain drugs it’s going to knock you down at least to some degree.

    ReplyReply
  67. James Joyner says:

    @NW Steve:

    You probably can’t rightfully accuse Trump et. al. of high-fiving them, but you can accuse them of knowingly and without a hint of principle coddling the despicable people (“good people on both sides”, are they not) who make up that lunatic fringe. It keeps the fringe as supporters.

    Honestly, I’m pretty sure Trump is senile. Otherwise, yes, he’s in that middle category I describe in this follow-up post: an enabler.

    ReplyReply
    2
    1
  68. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Teve: Thank you for that explanation, second hand though it may be. It also helps me understand what gun aficionados mean when they talk about the “stopping power” of various calibers and cartridge loads.

    ReplyReply
  69. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kylopod: “… motivated not by bigotry but by the “increasing Muslim presence” in Australia and New Zealand.” So it’s not that he’s a bigot, but that they shouldn’t have come here (distinction without a difference much?). Ooooooookaaaaaaaayyy. Is this guy Eric Florak’s cousin or something

    ReplyReply
  70. mattbernius says:

    @James Joyner:

    Honestly, I’m pretty sure Trump is senile.

    Wow. James, I have to ask, is that a truly literal take or a use of the term in a folk sense?

    ReplyReply
  71. James Joyner says:

    @mattbernius: I’m not a medical doctor or even a psychologist. But Trump’s mental acuity is demonstrably not what it was even a few years ago. I’ve never been a huge fan but he’s something very different now. He seldom expresses a coherent thought.

    ReplyReply
    11
    1
  72. charon says:

    @James Joyner:

    70 is fairly young for significant symptoms. As a generalization. early onset correlates with more rapid progression.

    ReplyReply
  73. Andy says:

    @R. Dave:

    Rather macabre question here, but does anyone know why people generally just drop more or less immediately upon being shot?

    There are many factors and the exact causes are subject to debate and circumstances. There’s a Wikipedia entry if you’re interested:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stopping_power

    ReplyReply
  74. Teve says:

    One of the pastors Trump invited to the White House is also repeating the false flag claim.

    Trump-Loving Megachurch Pastor Calls New Zealand Terror Attack ‘False Flag’

    linky

    ReplyReply
  75. Teve says:

    @James Joyner: a few weeks ago I saw a quote where Stormy Daniels said something like ‘he’s not the same as he used to be, he used to talk in complete sentences.’ and I didn’t repeat it anywhere because it’s not like she’s a dispassionate commentator, but she wasn’t kidding. Watching interviews with him from like 10 or 20 years ago, he was a different person.

    ReplyReply
  76. Teve says:

    instead of spending all of our time reading about the shitty people who did this, or the shitty people who inflamed and justify it, read about this awesome guy who saved somebody else’s life even though it cost him his own:


    Christchurch shooting victims: Haji-Daoud Nabi ‘jumped into the firing line’ to shield another person

    ReplyReply
  77. An Interested Party says:

    And you wonder why this blog can’t be taken seriously any longer.

    Actually, I’m sure very few people wonder that…perhaps they do wonder why someone who has such a low opinion of the blog continues to visit it…

    Anyway, I thought this initial analysis of the shooter’s manifesto and online presence was very interesting and something to keep in mind when trying to put motivation and intent into convenient ideological boxes.

    Perhaps, but let us not lose site of the big picture

    The manifesto has also caused some confusion as snippets have circulated around Twitter—in part because of some peculiarities in the ideology he describes, and in part because of passages that read like ironic shitposting. Neither should confuse from the central lesson from the attack and the manifesto: that we are confronting a global movement of white hate, one that has inserted far too many of its tendrils into the firmament of respectable politics.

    ReplyReply
    2
    1
  78. James Pearce says:

    @An Interested Party:

    The manifesto has also caused some confusion as snippets have circulated around Twitter—in part because of some peculiarities in the ideology he describes, and in part because of passages that read like ironic shitposting.

    The manifesto is causing some confusion because it’s being actively repressed and most of us have to rely on biased news sources to tell us what to think. (And not just Fox News.)

    I read the first few pages of the manifesto –couldn’t really stomach too much more because it’s garbage– but dude sounds less like a white supremacist and more like a guy who thinks white people are an aggrieved minority in danger of being canceled. Why would a privileged white dude in his 20s think that?

    ReplyReply
    2
    4
  79. Moosebreath says:

    @James Pearce:

    “Why would a privileged white dude in his 20s think that?”

    For the same reason Rod Dreher believes Christianity is under siege. If you are used to privilege, being treated equally feels like discrimination.

    ReplyReply
    10
  80. grumpy realist says:

    @Moosebreath: I must have annoyed Rod Dreher considerably because he’s now not letting any of my comments post. And I’ve tried to be as moderate as possible, trust me! I think he’s starting to go down the rabbit hole, reading (and posting) mainly comments which reinforce his view of the world, and rarely posting anything which points out holes in his arguments. (I’ve been nagging him for years about his tendency to use non-US legal decisions to hyperventilate about Effects On American Law And Religious Rights For American Christians. This last time I told him to look at a map and note that the U.K. and the U.S. are completely different countries.)

    ReplyReply
  81. Moosebreath says:

    @grumpy realist:

    I commented at Dreher’s for a while, but have taken myself away from there for sanity’s sake. His position comes down to that he demands his segment of Christianity be treated far better than they ever treated anyone whose beliefs differ from theirs, and indeed it is irrelevant to even consider how his brand of conservative Christians treated others, not merely in the past, but in their current actions towards others.

    Pretty funny stuff from a religion which proclaims a golden rule of “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

    ReplyReply
  82. James Pearce says:

    @Moosebreath:

    If you are used to privilege, being treated equally feels like discrimination.

    It’s 2019.

    A 28 year old white kid whose life was stunted by the Great Recession isn’t “used to privilege” no matter what the stereotypes say.

    ReplyReply
    1
    5
  83. al Ameda says:

    From The Hill:

    One of the suspects in a pair of deadly New Zealand mosque shootings wrote in a manifesto that he supported President Trump “as a symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose,” according to The Washington Post.

    The suspected shooter reportedly wrote in a more than 70-page manifesto that he somewhat supported Trump: “As a symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose? Sure. As a policy maker and leader? Dear god no.”

    From Trump:

    “My warmest sympathy and best wishes goes out to the people of New Zealand after the horrible massacre in the Mosques,” he tweeted Friday morning. “49 innocent people have so senselessly died, with so many more seriously injured. The U.S. stands by New Zealand for anything we can do. God bless all!”

    From me:
    ‘warmest sympathy and best wishes’? Really?

    ReplyReply
  84. Stormy Dragon says:

    @al Ameda:

    From me:
    ‘warmest sympathy and best wishes’? Really?

    As a comment I saw somewhere else noted, “There’s something especially twisted about the cliche ‘thoughts and prayers’ response after 49 people were killed specifically because of what they thought and prayed.”

    ReplyReply
  85. Stormy Dragon says:

    @James Pearce:

    A 28 year old white kid whose life was stunted by the Great Recession isn’t “used to privilege” no matter what the stereotypes say.

    The privilege isn’t in comparing that 28 year old white kid to a 50 year old black millionaire, it’s in comparing it to a 28 year old black kid whose life was also stunted by the Great Recession.

    ReplyReply
  86. James Pearce says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    The privilege isn’t in comparing that 28 year old white kid to a 50 year old black millionaire, it’s in comparing it to a 28 year old black kid whose life was also stunted by the Great Recession.

    The “underprivileged” black kid is also a stereotype.

    I’m well aware of the wealth gap. But you can’t look at a person’s skin and tell by the shade of it how much privilege they have.

    ReplyReply
    1
    2
  87. James Joyner says:

    @James Pearce:

    I’m well aware of the wealth gap. But you can’t look at a person’s skin and tell by the shade of it how much privilege they have.

    The “privilege” argument isn’t about financial circumstances but rather unearned advantage. A white kid can grow up poor, have abusive parents, and otherwise have enormous challenges. But if he gets cleaned up and dressed in accordance with social expectations, he’s instantly accepted as belonging in a way that a black kid, even from a better situation, can never be. Sure, one can earn their way to status so long as people know who they are. But a 35-year-old black man with a Harvard Law degree and a $500,000 annual salary is a “suspicious character” when he walks into a 7/11 in a strange neighborhood at 9pm.

    ReplyReply
    10

Speak Your Mind

*