Shootings are horrible. Shootings are real.
It seems like shootings are becoming a norm now, and it scares me that this is our reality. It’s hard for me to grasp the concept that guns can be carried by civilians—that I could be surrounded by people who are armed, just not to my knowledge. It never gets any easier every time another story breaks—whether it be a shooting at a park, church, school or cafe. I’m always left dumbfounded, confused, heartbroken and helpless. Innocent people lose their lives just because guns fall into the wrong hands.
Yet something felt different when I first heard about the shooting that happened in New Zealand. The news broke when I was studying for finals. I dropped everything I was doing, and tirelessly waited for updates. How could something so sinister and cruel happen to one of the most peaceful countries in the world? It was hard to accept what had happened, and honestly, I didn’t want to. I didn’t want it to make sense. I didn’t want it to be real, but it was.
As of today, the terrorist has already been taken into custody and has appeared in trial. I will not put a name to the man that carried out this attack. Fame is sometimes a factor in driving terrorists to commit such acts, and I do think a lot of what motivates—unfortunately—other potential terrorists is the ability to further their movements on the platform that they will automatically be given when the acts they carry out are being broadcasted all over the different news channels.
The sheer audacity for him to have published a 37-page manifesto to explain and give the public answers with regards to his murderous plan is beyond me. A total of 50 people have died, and 50 more are still currently wounded, including children. This instagram account has dedicated a portion of his feed to remembering and honoring the victims of the shooting, while including a caption talking about each of their personal lives under each post.
Perhaps the one thing that we can take comfort in amidst this horrific account would be New Zealand’s Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern. Ardern has admirably taken charge in trying to better the situation for the victims’ families and New Zealand as a whole—there’s so much that we can learn from her leadership. She wasted no time; in just under a week, she visited the mosque while darned in a hijab because she wanted to pay respects to the Muslim community, and also as a symbolic gesture of equality among the different races. Within the next 10 days, she reformed gun laws in New Zealand, banning all military grade semi-automaic weapons (including parts that can be converted into them).
Ardern’s proactivity is definitely something that should be remembered and learned from. Watch the video below of Ardern visiting the victims’ families at the mosque:
Maybe we will never get to live to see the end of such shooting massacres, but with leaders like Ardern herself, we can perhaps feel more hopeful towards a more peaceful future.