The southwestern Pacific Ocean country was rocked by a devastating terrorist attack that resulted in dozens of casualties.
By Alana Aimaq, Staff Writer
A terrorist attack at two New Zealand mosques left 50 people dead and dozens injured March 15 as a white supremacist Facebook streamed his murder spree to the world.
The deadliest shooting in modern New Zealand history according to multiple sources leaves the country shocked and eager to find out what will happen next.
The first half of the attack occurred at the Masjid Al Noor Mosque, where the self-proclaimed white supremacist used an automatic rifle to shoot down worshippers. He then got into his car, screamed “I am the god of hellfire,” and drove off to the Linwood mosque where he proceeded to kill seven.
Three other suspects were initially detained but are still under investigation, CNN stated. Before March 15, the deadliest shooting in New Zealand was 30 years ago, where a gunman shot and killed 13 people after an argument with a neighbor.
The shooting was broadcasted on Facebook Live and re-uploaded to sites including YouTube and Twitter, where these mega platforms were left scrambling to delete any footage of the attack. According to KTLA, the gunman aired 17 minutes of graphic content of him shooting the innocent victims.
YouTube’s chief product officer Neal Mohan announced that moderators worked overnight to take down tens of thousands of videos containing footage of the ambush, and are still dealing with an “unprecedented volume” of videos. Around 1.5 million videos were taken down from Facebook as well just 24 hours after the mass murder, stated the Washington Post.
The 28 year old had a history of promoting radical ideas and his behavior was nothing out of the ordinary. He had been a member of the Bruce Rifle Club, and was typically found visiting the range alone, the club’s Vice President Scott Williams explained to the New York Times. In 2017, a former New Zealand military member Pete Breidahl reported the perpetrator's mental stability to the club.
“They wore camo around the range, like they were living some military base fantasy,” he stated.
Filled with anti-muslim rhetoric, the suspect’s 87-page manifesto was sent to the New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Arden within minutes before the attack began, CNN explained. The proclamation was sent to the generic email account managed by staff and looked over as another email in the shuffle.
In this manifesto, the shooter described U.S. President Donald Trump as "a symbol of renewed white identity,” KTLA stated. His white-supremacist-filled document discussed his beliefs, plans and reasoning behind the attacks, as told by Vox.
After the New York Times explained how the suspect bought four firearms legally with a licence, citizens wonder what measures parliament will be taking.
New Zealand’s Prime Minister announced to ABC just five days after the attack that assault rifles will be officially banned from the country once it is approved by legislators.
"Today I am announcing that New Zealand will ban all military-style semi-automatic weapons,” Arden said.“We will also ban all assault rifles. We will also ban all high capacity magazines. We will ban all parts with the ability to convert semi-automatic or any other type of firearm into a military style semi-automatic weapon."
As a country with loose gun laws, KTLA explained that despite the low homicide rates, roughly one out of every three people own a gun.
In a video from Time where Arden talked to New Zealand’s parliament, she spelled out her concerns about popularizing the shooter’s name and bringing their actions into the public eye.
“We need to acknowledge and do what we can to prevent the notoriety that this individual seeks … One thing I can assure you, you won’t hear me speak his name.”