What We Can Learn from the Christchurch Terrorist Attack

After the catastrophic death of 50 Muslim worshippers at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand on March 15, NZ prime minister Jacinda Ardern has led by example by proposing instant gun reforms.

Additionally, her respect and the overall camaraderie all of New Zealand is showing for the survivors and loved ones of the victims is really heartwarming. However, while it seems that things are shaping for the Kiwis, there is a lot that Americans can learn from the leadership of Ardern with respect to terrorist attacks.

Photo credit: Euro News

The US has a long and complicated history with guns, based on its protection in the Constitution by the second amendment guaranteeing a person’s right to “bear arms.” And while this can be deemed to be a fundamental right to some Americans, the recent mass shootings have called for better gun reform in an attempt to save lives.

According to the Gun National Archive, there were a total of 340 mass shooting in the United States in 2018 and 61 in 2019 as of mid-March. Recent incidents, such as the Tree of Life Synagogue shooting that left 11 dead and the Parkland shooting in February 2018, have highlighted the increase in white supremacy, which the main shooter of the Christchurch shooting said was one of the reasons behind his decision.

Perhaps one of the most heartbreaking lessons we can learn is that it may take many lives and deaths to start change. In fact, it already has. More Americans have died at the hand of guns since 1970 than they have in battle. Even with this startling fact, the government and the NRA have been hesitant in moving towards stricter gun reform in an attempt to save lives.

Photo credit: Quartz

But for New Zealand, it took only one mass shooting to ignite change. Less than a week after the shooting, she has declared more control over military-style weapons.

 

For many young people, we’ve grown accustomed to the constant fear of being a victim in a shooting; we’ve accepted this as a norm that will only continue to worsen with time. What we can learn from the Christchurch shooting, is that change is necessary. We cannot keep waiting for social stigma to change our current problems for a better tomorrow.

 

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