The murder of 50 Muslim worshipers in New Zealand , allegedly by a 28-year-old Australian white supremacist, will be long scrutinized for the way violent hatreds are spawned and staged on social media and the internet. But now the world should learn from the way Jacinda Ardern , New Zealand’s prime minister, has responded to the horror.
Almost immediately after last Friday’s killings , Ms. Ardern listened to her constituents’ outrage and declared that within days her government would introduce new controls on the military-style weapons that the Christchurch shooter and many of the mass killers in the United States have used on their rampages. And she delivered.
On Thursday , Ms. Ardern announced a ban on all military-style semiautomatic and automatic weapons , parts that can be used to turn other rifles into such weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines. “ It’s about all of us ” she said … “ it’s in the national interest and it’s about safety.”
Earlier in the week , she told Parliament that social media sites must address the ease with which the internet can be used to spew hate and images of violence. “ We cannot simply sit back and accept that these platforms just exist and that what is said on them is not the responsibility of the place where they are published … It cannot be a case of all profit, no responsibility.”
Ms. Ardern didn’t propose immediate measures to limit the reach of Facebook , Twitter and other internet publishers , and it’s not obvious what could be done without trampling freedom of speech ( That does seem to be where a lot of this is heading tho … ) But she made clear that she believed that those social media platforms , like gun manufacturers and dealers , bore some responsibility for the carnage visited on Christchurch and so many communities in recent years.
The ban on terrorists’ weapon of choice was only one of the areas in which Ms. Ardern showed what leadership looks like in time of crisis. In lieu of trite messages , she donned a black head scarf and led a group of politicians to visit victims’ families , speaking without a script to a school some of the victims attended , she urged the pupils to “ let New Zealand be a place where there is no tolerance for racism. Ever. We cannot know your grief , but we can walk with you at every stage.”
It still comes down to the fact that any ‘ law ‘ regarding the ownership of weapons only curtails the activity of ‘ law abiding individuals … Criminals that have no moral concern about breaking the law of killing other people don’t give a shit about breaking the law of acquiring and using those weapons in a criminal and immoral fashion …
Declaring ‘ military weapons ‘ illegal doesn’t cease , or even decrease the actions of people with a screw or two loose … No more than making pot legal magically puts an end to illegal drug trafficing …