On Friday 15th March, a lone gunman opened fire on two mosques in the city of Christchurch. The shooter, a white supremacist, was charged with murder the following day. The death toll for this horrific act of terrorism reached 50 with 9 people in critical condition, making it New Zealand's worst mass shooting. What is deeply unsettlingly about this attack is the gunman live streamed the attack across social media in a bid to maximise the number of witnesses to the attack across the globe.
In the first time speaking since the attack, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern gave a powerful speech addressing parliament. In the speech, Jacinda Ardern states that March 15th will now be a day "etched in our collective memories" describing it as the "darkest of days". She also assures the public that the families of the fallen will have justice. When speaking of the gunman, Jacinda states:
He sought many things from his act of terror, one was notoriety
She vows that she will never speak the name of the shooter and render him as "nameless" and urges the public to do the same and to speak the names of the victims’ instead.
Watch the full speech here:
Ardern states that part of ensuring the safety of New Zealanders is a frank examination of gun laws. She assures the public that gun laws will change stating her cabinet met the Saturday to make principle decisions around the reform of gun laws following the attack.
I intend to give further details of these decisions to the media and the public before cabinet meets again next Monday. This ultimately means that within 10 days of this horrific act of terrorism we will have announced reforms which will, I believe, make our community safer
Our thoughts are with the family of the victims of the attack.