New Zealand experienced its deadliest attack last week after a gunman who had expressed racist and anti-immigrant views shot and killed 50 people at two different mosques.
Some criticized President Trump in the wake of the attack and accused him of stoking white nationalism, while many simultaneously applauded Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern who moved to immediately ban semi-automatic weapons in the country. Others criticized certain media outlets for implicating Trump, and said that the gun control action spearheaded by Ardern will be ineffective.
From the Blog: Unearthing old comments with the intent to incite outrage or economic consequences has been referred to as “offense archaeology.” Does this political tactic serve public discourse, ensuring bad ideas are snuffed out? Or does it erode public discourse, making people afraid to speak?
Snippets from the Left
The Guardian Opinion
"Trump, Conway and Mulvaney can deflect, distract and divide us as much as possible, but none of their words can erase the fact that the president is unambiguously connected to this far-right political violence that is sometimes performed with him directly in mind. Let me be clear. Trump is not criminally responsible for these acts. That would be a ludicrous idea. But he is politically responsible, and understanding that distinction will be the first step to rejuvenating our politics."
"The Anti-Defamation League (ADL), an organization focused on tracking extremist activity, found last year that white supremacist murders in the US 'more than doubled in 2017,' with far-right extremist groups and white supremacists 'responsible for 59 percent of all extremist-related fatalities in the U.S. in 2017.' They were responsible for 20% of these fatalities the year before."
Washington Post Editorial Board
"Parliament will have to give its approval and there may be opposition, but the gun rights lobby in New Zealand is far less powerful than that in the United States, where the National Rifle Association’s stranglehold on lawmakers blocked any meaningful reform even after elementary school children were slaughtered. And it was encouraging — even inspiring — to see politicians in New Zealand who had opposed gun control change their minds."
Snippets from the Center
"The 28-year-old Australian man charged in connection with the shooting was in court earlier Saturday, where he appeared to flash a 'white power' sign."
Wall Street Journal
"White House officials and Democrats clashed Sunday over President Trump’s response to the New Zealand mosque massacre days after the president downplayed the role played by white nationalism, saying that a 'small group of people' with 'serious problems' hold such beliefs."
"Under the changes, all military style semi-automatics (MSSA) and assault rifles will be banned, along with parts used to convert weapons into MSSAs and all high-capacity magazines."
Snippets from the Right
Washington Times Opinion
"Blaming Mr. Trump or even Chelsea Clinton is nonsensical. The media acts like mass public shootings in other countries are something new, but they are actually much more common outside of the United States. And, well before Mr. Trump became president, foreign shooting, bombing and vehicle attacks were increasing in frequency at a much faster rate."
Fox News Opinion
"All terrorism is terrible, but it is not all equal. Terrorist groups that are organized and supported by global networks, or directed by state-sponsors like Iran, represent systemic threats to national security and the peace and prosperity of societies. Individual acts of terrorism, even horrific acts of terror such as these mosque attacks, are extreme public safety challenges. Each should be handled with the resources and means appropriate to the nature of the threat.”
Washington Examiner Opinion
"We all have our views on the Second Amendment and gun rights. Yet, when it comes to judging New Zealand's legislation as applied to U.S. constitutional rights, the law stands clear. In the American Left's salutation of this legislation, we're seeing another example of gun control conversations driven by a lack of understanding and European-style emotional response."