Tragedy strikes New Zealand and the Netherlands


International Business Times

People from around the world mourned with Christchurch, New Zealand after the mass shooting.

Maia Berthier, Staff Writer

On Sunday, March 15, an armed gunman entered the Al Noor Mosque and Linwood Islamic center in Christchurch, New Zealand, murdering 50 people and injuring 50 others. This catastrophe was horrifying for New Zealand and for people around the world as well. Unfortunately, three days later, a shooter entered a tram in Utrecht, Netherlands, killing three people and hospitalizing five others. One suspect from each shooting has been arrested and is currently being detained by police, but neither were killed in action.

This attack is thought to possibly stem from terrorism, because of a letter found by police in the Dutch suspect’s car. However, the motive for the New Zealand shooting has not yet been labeled terrorism, even after a manifesto commending white supremacy and denouncing many minorities and immigrants was posted on the website 8chan, an online forum notorious for housing hate speech. He posted this prior to live streaming his actions and the entire shooting itself. This stream was posted to YouTube, and although it was taken down several times by the site, it continues to be uploaded.

“I feel terrible for what happened to the people of New Zealand. Innocent people died for no reason and measures need to be taken to prevent this from ever happening again. The prime minister of New Zealand should have released the name of the shooter so people know who is responsible for this heinous act,” freshman Nicholas Calindro said.

In wake of this crisis, New Zealand is speaking out and preparing to take extreme but necessary actions. The prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, spoke out on Saturday, Mar. 16 and said that in response to the attacks, the gun laws in New Zealand will change. She also refused to name the suspect, which promoted the idea across the world that the shooter should not have any praise, even what comes from the use of their name.

Pullquote Photo

[Refugees residing in New Zealand] are us. The person who has perpetuated this violence against us is not. They have no place in New Zealand. There is no place in New Zealand for such acts of extreme and unprecedented violence, which it is clear this act was.”

— Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern

Instead, the lives of the victims and the heroes of the attack must be commemorated. For example, a man named Abdul Aziz distracted the victim by throwing a credit card machine at him. Witnesses believe that it was due to this that the gunman left the site and  did not re-enter the mosque. The suspect was taken into custody by police two minutes later. Aziz’s bravery is astounding and his actions saved many lives. Since the Utrecht shooting is more recent, there has not yet been a response by the government officials in the Netherlands.

“I agree with the Prime Minister’s decision to not release the shooter’s name. This just draws attention, which is what a lot of shooters want. It is important that the government act after one person was able to kill so many people before being detained. New Zealand already is moving to ban assault riffles, which will diminish the possibility that it will happen again there,” freshman Jasming Senel said.

Following the shooting, the first burials took place on Wednesday, March 20. A father and son who came to New Zealand seeking refuge from Syria were buried, along with four other victims. In the U.S., the lives of all the victims have been remembered through interfaith vigils throughout the country.

The world is mourning with these two countries. The immense pain that they are feeling is reflected everywhere, and the justice systems in the respective countries are moving to prosecute these suspects.

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