I have thought for a week or so before writing this. As one would expect, there has been an outpouring of virtue-signalling (accompanied by State repression or threats thereof) not seen since the Anders Breivik event in Norway eight years ago. I wanted to write not only about the Christchurch shooting itself, and about the perpetrator, but also about surrounding events and the overall context. I also want to examine the moral and ethical aspects.
There are many mass shootings in the world. The USA alone seems to have one on a weekly if not daily basis (and those are only the ones which are reported heavily). The anti-gun lobby focusses on ease of access in the USA, New Zealand etc. Obviously, if a disturbed (or other) person cannot acquire firearms, then he cannot shoot people; he can, however, stab them, blow them up, drive at them etc.
Firearms events have more victims, usually. Having said that, one could say “ban cars, because some people misuse them”, to which the answer would no doubt come, “people need cars, they don’t need guns”. Well, true, though still arguable. It all depends on where society decides to draw the line. In the UK, since the late 1990s, it has been almost impossible to own lawfully-held firearms (except shotguns and, in some cases, certain types of hunting rifle). That was not always the case.
“Members of the public may own sporting rifles and shotguns, subject to licensing, but handguns were effectively banned after the Dunblane school massacre in 1996 with the exception of Northern Ireland. Dunblane was the UK’s first and only school shooting. There has been one spree killing since Dunblane, the Cumbria shootings in June 2010, which involved a shotgun and a .22 calibre rifle, both legally-held. Prior to Dunblane though, there had only been one mass shooting carried out by a civilian in the entire history of Great Britain, which took place in Hungerford on 19 August 1987.” [Wikipedia]
Note that. In the entire history of Great Britain there have only been three mass shootings, yet the government took the opportunity to ban most firearms (at which time there had only been two such events in British history), and did so with the apparent agreement of a majority, probably high, of the general public, most of whom know nothing about firearms, have never so much as seen one (other than on TV), and who were stampeded by the publicity around the 1996 Dunblane school murders.
At one time, there was little regulation of firearms in the UK:
“Following the assassination of William of Orange in 1584 with a concealed wheellock pistol, Queen Elizabeth I, fearing assassination by Roman Catholics, banned possession of wheellock pistols in England near a royal palace in 1594. There were growing concerns in the 16th century over the use of guns and crossbows. Four acts were imposed to restrict their use in England and Wales.
The Bill of Rights restated the ancient rights of the people to bear arms by reinstating the right of Protestants to have arms after they had been illegally disarmed by James II. It follows closely the Declaration of Rights made in Parliament in February 1689. The Bill of Rights text declares that “That the Subjects which are Protestants may have Arms for their Defence suitable to their Conditions and as allowed by Law”.” [Wikipedia]
“British common law applied to the UK and Australia, and until 1791 to the colonies in North America that became the United States. The right to keep and bear arms had originated in England during the reign of Henry II with the 1181 Assize of Arms, and developed as part of common law.”
Starting in 1903, there were restrictions placed on purchase of certain firearms (mainly pistols), subsequent Acts of 1920, 1937, 1968 and 1988 tightening the law in other respects too.
It is worth noting that, following the two 1997 Acts, which effectively banned private possession of handguns (pistols and revolvers) and required surrender of thus-affected weapons, 57,000 people (0.1% of the population) handed in 162,000 weapons and 700 tons of ammunition! In other words, one maniac with a few weapons became the trigger (so to speak) for a law which affected at least 57,000 people all of whom had held and used their weapons peacefully until then!
I personally was not affected by the ban, though I was at one time (mid 1970s/mid 1980s) a member of the Kensington Rifle and Pistol Club in London. In the UK and/or other countries, I have fired a variety of weapons, including the 7.62 R-1 automatic/semi-auto rifle (there was a switch on the side), semi-automatic pistols including the 9mm Browning Hi-Power and numerous others in .32 and .22 calibre, and also revolvers such as the Colt .32, .38 and .357 Magnum, and have handled (overseas and mostly long ago, again in the 1970s and 1980s) others, such as the famous Uzi submachinegun and some Warsaw Pact automatic weapons. Despite that, I am not in fact particularly interested in firearms (or any weapons) and, even in the unlikely event of the 1997 Acts being repealed, would probably not bother to join a gun club. As far as shotguns are concerned, I have used them in Ireland and in England (in England only for clay pigeon, because I disapprove of shooting birds and animals for sport or “fun”). I myself have never privately owned any firearm.
I doubt that many people now even know that there used to be public ranges in England, where for a small fee, people could take their own weapons and fire them. I went once (in 1976) to the one at Dartford (Kent), quite near what was then a (disused?) mental hospital. Now the area is probably either a housing development or perhaps might be the present Dartford Clay Shooting Club, which (I just saw on Google) seems to be at or near the same location (it is not an area that I know, though).
Most British people have never fired nor even seen a firearm and that does tend to colour their reaction.
In the USA, things are of course very different. The old English Common Law right to bear arms is written into the U.S. Constitution, though muddied by the famous words about “a well-regulated militia” etc. Leaving aside the legal and quasi-theological arguments revolving around that Amendment, it always seemed to me when I lived there (in New Jersey) that it was odd for many American states to require people to have a licence to own or at least drive a car, but not a pistol, shotgun or something even more dangerous.
In the UK, people tend to say, “look at the USA: easy ownership of guns and a massacre every week!”, but that has to be set against the fact that tens and probably hundreds of millions of Americans own firearms. Probably the vast majority have never received even the most basic training. True, there are huge numbers of crimes committed with firearms in the USA, but simply banning guns (as in some other countries) is a simplistic solution which might leave American citizens helpless. Societies differ. I met an American lady, a blonde with startlingly blue eyes, in the Caribbean. She said that she had a large silver-plated automatic pistol (I forget the marque), which she kept under her pillow. I never got to see it, by the way!
As far as New Zealand is concerned, its gun ownership laws were lax compared to the UK or even Australia, but huge numbers of New Zealanders (about 5% of the population, 250,000 out of 5 million) own at least one weapon. New Zealand is a country about 10% larger than the UK but with only about 5 million inhabitants. Much of the country is rural. There had never been a massacre there such as the one recently perpetrated in Christchurch by Brenton Tarrant.
First impressions, Muslims in the UK and NZ, the history, the demographics
When the Christchurch attack happened and the news organizations started to report, my first surprise was to hear that New Zealand has 50,000 Muslims living there! That figure may seem small, but is still 1% of the whole population.
In the UK, there were at one time effectively no Muslims, though trade with Muslim lands, evidenced by coins, goes back at least as far as the time of King Offa in the 8th Century. All the same, there were only a few Muslims in England, mostly diplomats, traders etc, for centuries, e.g. in the Tudor and Stuart periods (15th-17thC), until sailors from British India (mostly Bengal) known as lascars started to spend time in ports such as London, Bristol, Liverpool etc in the 19thC. There may have been 10,000 at any one time, but few were permanent residents. The Sherlock Holmes stories by Arthur Conan Doyle occasionally mention lascars, not infrequently preceded by words such as “rascally”.
The first small mosque in England was built in Woking (Surrey) in 1889 (it’s still there, quite near the railway station), having been built there adjunct to an Islamic burial ground. The first mosque in London only appeared in 1924. By 2007, there had been established 1,500 mosques in the UK! Now, in 2019, the figure is even greater: 1,750 [BBC statistic]. 250 more mosques in little more than a decade…
As to the population figures, England and Wales had 50,000 Muslims in 1961. That was then around 0.1% of the whole population. A decade later, in 1971, there were 226,000, a quadrupling, then by 1981, 553,000; 1991, 950,000. Doubling every decade at that point. Then 1.6 million in 2001; 2.7 million by 2011 and, a mere three years later in 2014, well over 3 million.
The present number of UK-based Muslims is not officially known but is around 3.5 million.
So in the UK, 50,000 Muslims became (via immigration and births) 3.5 million within little more than half a century. New Zealand has 50,000 now. New Zealand has different immigration and other factors as compared to the UK, but will New Zealand, a land of only 5 million people now, have a population of Muslims alone of 3.5 million by, say, 2075 or 2100? It cannot be dismissed out of hand. At that point, the Muslims would be already dominant even if the general NZ population will by then have grown to, say, 10 million (twice its present level). Yes, that projected third of the population could in fact be the dominant bloc. A laser is powerful because its light is concentrated and disciplined, not diffuse.
The intention of the shooter
It seems that the perpetrator of the massacre had been travelling, perhaps using inherited monies, for 7 years. Information given out by the msm indicates that Tarrant was “radicalized” not while a member of some group or party, but by events witnessed while travelling around Europe and, finally, in New Zealand itself.
The manifesto of Brenton Tarrant, The Great Replacement, will not be reproduced here. It is found with ease on the Internet, via Google or the like. I do not want to give anyone hostile the excuse to say that, by posting it on here, I am somehow “encouraging” terrorism or political violence. It does seem very repressive that major Internet platforms have been pressured to remove his manifesto, and have acquiesced.
Reading that manifesto, the motivation of Brenton Tarrant seems to be almost impersonal on the face of it. It has elements of sacrifice and self-sacrifice. It shows determination (he has that in common with Breivik). As to education or erudition, I do not think that he lays claim to much, but there is intelligence manifest in the document. He has learned (whatever might be said about that) from his travels.
Politically, Brenton Tarrant describes himself as an “ethno-nationalist”. He also says (the manifesto is mostly written in Q & A format):
“Were/are you a nazi?
No, actual nazis do not exist.They haven’t been a political or social force anywhere in the world for more than 60 years.”
That is a good point. As Hitler said, “National Socialism is not for export.” Hitler also remarked to his last secretary, Traudl Junge, and others, in 1945, that German National Socialism was finished, but that something with the same essential core might emerge “in a “hundred years” and then “take hold of the world with the force of a religion”. Well, here we are in 2019, 100 years after the founding of the NSDAP, though of course we are only 74 years from the end of the Reich.
Tarrant also describes himself as an “eco-fascist” as well as writing that he is at one with many of the policies expounded by Oswald Mosley. A word of explanation might be useful here. I knew someone who was at one time quite well acquainted with Mosley. She always said that he was basically an intellectual who saw himself as a “man of action” (“Action” was also the name of Mosley’s newspaper). Mosley of course was also a “man of action”, who had flown in the First World War (where he was a fellow-officer of the aforesaid lady’s husband in the Royal Flying Corps), but he, arguably, made too much of sports, fencing, physical fitness generally, as a politician. That was the Zeitgeist of the 1930s though, not only in Germany and Italy but in the UK, where lidos and indoor public swimming pools etc proliferated.
Mosley was once described as someone who could have been a great prime minister of the UK, for either [System] party. He was unwilling to accept mass unemployment, so resigned from the Labour Party (under which he was a government minister).
Mosley is now remembered, in the public mind, in the “cartoon” version put out by a largely Jewish mass media: the sneering Fascist demagogue in his black uniform. As with all important lies, of course, there was a kernel of truth in that.
As to Tarrant’s “eco-fascism”, there has always been linkage between “green” politics, environmentalism etc, and social nationalism. See:
In fact, the author Henry Williamson, who wrote Tarka the Otter, combined Englishness, support for Mosley and support for German National Socialism with being an early environmentalist and, in essence, “green” activist:
Tarrant declares in his manifesto that he will not kill NZ police. He kept to that and allowed himself to be captured. He also makes the following point:
“Were/are you a supporter of Brexit?
Yes, though not for an official policy made. The truth is that eventually people must face the fact that it wasn’t a damn thing to do with the economy.That it was the British people firing back at mass immigration, cultural displacement and globalism, and that’s a great and wonderful thing.”
Amen to that.
He adds, re. Marine le Pen’s party in France:
“Were/are you a supporter of Front National?
No,they’re a party of milquetoast civic nationalist boomers, completely incapable of creating real change and with no actual viable plan to save their nation.”
Rather oddly, Tarrant says that one Candace Owens https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Candace_Owens#Political_views was a major influence. I had to look up her details. I myself see nothing of any real interest there, but this blog post is about the New Zealand attack and its author, not me.
As to the psychology of Brenton Tarrant, hard to say. True, he shares some characteristics with other “rampage killers”, being marginalized by society, not having a solid career or place in society, not having a solid marriage or other relationship either. He seems to be sane and in fact makes some very good if obvious points in his manifesto. No doubt the New Zealand state’s psychiatrists will find suitable labels to attach…
The reaction of the New Zealand state, msm and public
Once the initial shock of the massacre ebbed, there was a wave of sympathy for the victims, especially in New Zealand itself. Looking at the TV news, one can see how warm-hearted the New Zealanders are, though it is all too easy to see a crowd of a few hundred and assume that it represents a whole country. The New Zealanders have proven that they have a heart. It is far more doubtful as to whether they have a head. Like Australia, New Zealand has gone from being an entirely white European society (albeit grafted onto an existing “native” one) to a developing multikulti mess, but the extent of that is probably slight enough in terms of numbers and percentages (so far) that most New Zealanders are unaware of it. I cannot say.
The New Zealand Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, immediately started virtue-signalling on an epic scale, wearing Arab dress and insisting that even women police officers did the same. It was rather chilling to see an armed policewoman carrying her automatic rifle and wearing the Arab hijab. Reminiscent of the ISIS barbarians.
Many of those who virtue-signalled like mad about the people shot in New Zealand scarcely noticed, I think, the many killed recently by American or British bombers when the ISIS barbarians were under attack. The ISIS fighters had to take their chances, perhaps their camp-followers too, but what about uninvolved civilians? What about small children also killed by the assaults on towns such as Raqqa?
Then take another example: the Second World War bombings (on both sides, though the Allied bombing was far worse, in Germany, both in terms of numbers killed and in terms of intensity). In Japan, the populations of Hiroshima and Nagasaki may have supported the war effort, may also have been related to soldiers or whatever, but were themselves not combatants. Their children even less so.
[above, Dresden 1945]
To attribute blame becomes difficult. That is why human beings cling to the conventional. Many will have seen The Night of the Generals, which is based around questions like that: in the midst of a massive war, where thousands are being killed monthly or weekly, and where the Wehrmacht resistance to Hitler is in the background (with its premise that Hitler must die for the greater good…), an investigation is launched into the murder of a prostitute.
If conventional morality says that it is justified for a state to kill civilians and even civilian children for some larger end result, then perhaps the same argument could be used by an individual who massacres civilians whom he regards as either “the enemy” or “collateral damage” to achieve some larger end? The moral question which looked so clear superficially becomes opaque.
For me, the NZ shooting was unpleasant, unnecessary and possibly counter-productive. Tarrant obviously disagrees with that conclusion. All one can say is that the large-scale movements of population will continue until someone says or enough people say NO.