Good News: Progressive and Empathetic Action to Follow Tragedy

Friday, March 15: Tragedy struck as a gunman entered the al Noor mosque in central Christchurch, New Zealand, a little bit after 1:30 p.m. After this initial attack, he proceeded to the Linwood Islamic Center, killing and wounding 39 and killing 50.

Since many mass shooters are motivated by the fame that follows their atrocious deeds, we will not name him or bring him any direct publicity.

Rather, this article aims to report not on the tragedy but on the country’s progressive and empathetic action, which followed.

Citizens of New Zealand, regardless of race and religion have rallied support for the Muslim community. According to Pew Research, there are nearly 5 million Muslims in New Zealand.

These citizens, including students, television newscasters and even police officers wore headscarves as symbolic gestures of solidarity with the Muslim community.

As another gesture of solidarity, members of the Māori community performed hakas, a posture dance performed by a group, with vigorous movements and stamping of the feet with rhythmically shouted accompaniment.

“New Zealand mourns with you. We are one,” said Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. Days after the tragedy, New Zealand lawmakers proposed a bill that bans semi-automatic firearms, magazines and parts used to assemble illegal firearms. The bill passed its first reading in Parliament with 119 of the 120 Parliament members supporting it. It is likely the legislation will pass.

So, here’s the good news: Once again, in the wake of tragedy, the human spirit triumphs and people overwhelmingly support persecuted communities. In the case of New Zealand, support was not only exhibited by the citizenry, but also the government.