Martin Bullock Lawyers, like many of you, are appalled by the terrorist crimes committed by a young white supremacist in New Zealand last Friday.
We are all asking: “How could an Australian do this?”
The death toll from the attack has risen to over 50 people, including children, parents and grandparents. People from all over the world and from all walks of life. Our condolences go out to the victims and their families.
For information on the identities and stories of some of the victims, have a look at this SBS News article.
Amongst the outpouring of grief, we can learn from these attacks. We can prevent future atrocities and protect our society. Let’s do something.
Former Deputy Police Commissioner Nick Kaldas has written a wonderful article in the Sydney Morning Herald that discusses the lessons we should learn and the changes we must make.
The things we can do include:
- Focus on right-wing extremism. This has been bubbling away for 20 years. It is essential that the law enforcement and intelligence communities focus on it even more.
- Measure hate crimes. Racist graffiti on mosques and synagogues needs to be measured. Such graffiti often provides early warning of the radicalisation of white men.
- Create a government agency to measure hate crimes. The FBI does a great job in America, working with over 15,000 police agencies across the nation. We only have eight police forces in Australia. We need to start measuring and recording these crimes.
- Regulate social media in relation to hate crimes. The Christchurch terrorist/mass-murderer deliberately posted on social media and named Twitter celebrities to spread his message further. This is called “shitposting”. Media is the oxygen for terrorism.
- Maintain gun control. The AR-15 rifle used in Christchurch was also used for the terrorist attacks in Las Vegas, Sharpeville, the Bataclan Theatre in Paris, plus many others. In many countries, the AR-15 is relatively cheap and easy to access. Its only purpose is to kill humans. It should be banned from any civilised society.
Finally, Martin Bullock Lawyers would add another point, addressed at our leaders and the media, and particularly our politicians: Stop pandering to racist fascists. Stop trying to divide our country. Stop trying to win votes by blaming certain races, whilst justifying the acts of others.
Former Australian Prime Minister John Howard famously noted: “The things that unite us are greater than the things that divide us”. Our leaders would do well to follow that maxim.
They would do even better to follow the lead of NZ Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who simply stated: “They are us”. We must treat all members of our society with equal respect and tolerance, whatever their ethnicity or religion.
These appalling crimes were committed by a self-styled “ordinary Australian”. This is not ordinary behaviour. This is not something of which any Australian should be proud.
Let us honour the memory of the victims, and let us take steps to protect our community in the future.
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