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Al Noor Mosque, Christchurch

Racist terrorists killed 49 people at two mosques in New Zealand, targeting worshippers during Friday prayers. The attack appears to have been carried out by a single shooter, a 28-year-old Australian man, who has been charged with murder. New Zealand authorities have arrested four people, although they said one was not involved in the violence. The shooter wrote a manifesto claiming he was acting to save white people from immigration of nonwhites, and that he considered himself "a lawful, uniformed combatant." Authorities said none of the four arrested had been on terror watch lists.

The number of injured is also high; Christchurch health authorities stated 48 patients, "ranging from young children to adults with gunshot wounds," are being treated at Christchurch Hospital alone, and that additional patients with gunshot wounds had been taken to "other health facilities in the community." Injuries ranged from critical to minor. Remember; "wounded" by an assault rifle does not necessarily mean "lucky."


The Washington Post reports,

New Zealand Police Commissioner Mike Bush said 41 people were killed at Al Noor Mosque on Deans Road, opposite a large downtown park. Seven more were fatally shot about three miles away at a mosque in Linwood, an inner suburb of Christchurch, and another person died at the hospital [...]

Schools and public buildings, as well as the Christchurch Hospital, were on lockdown for hours on Friday afternoon as the police commissioner advised residents of Christchurch, the largest city on the South Island, to stay off the streets.

Bush also asked Muslims in New Zealand to stay away from mosques for the time being:

"I want to ask anyone that was thinking of going to a mosque anywhere in New Zealand today not to go, to close your doors until you hear from us again," he said at a news conference.

Police also disarmed two improvised explosive devices attached underneath a vehicle used by the suspects.

In initial remarks following the attack, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern called the attack "one of New Zealand's darkest days"; the country's terrorism threat level was raised to "high" for the first time ever.

Many of those who would have been directly affected by the shooting may be migrants to New Zealand. They may even be refugees here. They have chosen to make New Zealand their home, and it is their home. They are us. The person who has perpetuated this violence against us is not. They have no place in New Zealand.

In a later press briefing, Ardern expanded on that condemnation of racism and xenophobia:

We are a proud nation of more than 200 ethnicities, 160 languages. And amongst that diversity we share common values. And the one that we place the currency on right now is our compassion and support for the community of those directly affected by this tragedy.

And secondly, the strongest possible condemnation of the ideology of the people who did this [...] You may have chosen us – we utterly reject and condemn you.

It's not yet clear what weapon(s) the shooter used. The Post notes that New Zealand's firearms laws are stricter than those in the US, but well short of the very harsh restrictions on guns in Australia. Regulation of military-style semiautomatic rifles had been tightened after a 1990 mass shooting. The shooter's manifesto claimed he wanted US authorities to overreact and start seizing guns, sparking a civil war.

This morning, Donald Trump offered his sympathies, complete with the weirdly inappropriate word "warm," which normal humans reserve for happy occasions:

The shooter was apparently thoroughly connected to online hate forums, and just before the massacres, posted a tweet with links to an online manifesto that drew inspiration from previous rants by other racist killers -- the perpetrators of the Charleston church massacre and the 2011 Norwegian bombing and mass shooting at a youth camp. The manifesto, which we'll discuss further in a later post, also included a lot of the "shitposting" sarcasm you'd expect from racist trolls. The shooter livestreamed parts of the massacre on Facebook; a Facebook spokesperson said the company had "quickly removed both the shooter's Facebook and Instagram accounts and the video" after being notified by police, and said Facebook would also remove "any praise or support for the crime and the shooter or shooters as soon as we're aware." Nonetheless, reports persist that copies of the videos are still showing up on YouTube; we found one in just seconds (no we didn't watch -- we reported it; it had been up an hour).

It's going to be a terrible weekend probably. Look for the helpers. A fund for the victims and survivors has been set up, although the site seems to be overwhelmed at the moment -- which is in itself a hopeful sign, perhaps.

[WaPo / Stuff.nz / NYT / Bellingcat]

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Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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