Last Friday it was just 3 weeks since 50 people died in an attack on 2 mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. A week earlier tens of thousands of New Zealanders stopped for 2 minutes silence at the call to prayers. At about the same time I briefly met a Muslim woman in Easton heading to her workplace. No-one had said a word to her about these events and the impact they must have had on her and her friends. Does anyone out there really care?
In a few horrific minutes NZ lost her innocence and maybe changed forever. A country far away from most on the globe – a people who mostly have a reputation for kindness and who are perennially happy – a country completely of immigrants. NZ is no utopia but it does do some things well.
This tragedy was about losing part of our family. The victims were NZ Muslims (just as some of us happen to be Christian, Jewish or of other religions) going about their normal lives. Most importantly though they were our brothers and sisters who were either born in or chose to live in NZ.
We New Zealanders adore the All Black’s rugby team, the America’s Cup sailors and Peter Jackson’s movies. But this is different and goes to our DNA. We care for people; it matters little where we came from, who we are or what we believe in. Our politicians, community and religious leaders, the police and other first responders appear to have behaved par excellence both in the moment and beyond – good for them. Then they responded quickly with changed legislation.
We are privileged to live in the US. It is a country that often displays the best of good things and at times the exact opposite. Personal freedoms and rights seem absolute. Unfortunately sometimes they seem to override the greater good. Gun control is not a panacea to righting the wrongs of our world but the wrong guns in the hands of the wrong people cannot be condoned in my view. The Eastern Shore is full of guns…almost all used responsibly for recreational purposes. New Zealand acted within a few days to ban semi-automatic weapons. Are we too numb to consider similar measures here?
Think first of the people…does anyone really care?
I personally will try harder.
Kia Kaha NZ (Forever Strong)