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New Zealand’s Loss of Innocence

Like the assassination of Olof Palme in Sweden in 1986, the 9/11 attacks in the US, and the murderous rampage of Anders Breivik in Norway in 2011, March 15 will mark the day New Zealand lost its innocence and entered the age of postmodern mass terror. Fortunately, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's response has so far been pitch perfect.

WELLINGTON – After the terror attacks of September 11, 2001, Le Monde famously proclaimed that “Today, we are all Americans.” In the wake of the horrors in Christchurch, New Zealand, we must make the same proclamation: Today, we are all Muslims. The evil of that white supremacist outrage must unite us. More than that, it must inspire the united will necessary both to combat genocidal hate and to implement effective measures to stop social media from enabling murderous rage.

I arrived in New Zealand on Friday, the Muslim day of prayer, which became a day of massacre. Like the assassination of Olof Palme in Sweden in 1986, the 9/11 attacks in the US, and the murderous rampage of Anders Breivik in Norway in 2011, March 15 will mark the day New Zealand lost its innocence and entered the age of postmodern mass terror.

The gunman, Brenton Tarrant, a 28-year old Australian living in Dunedin, a couple of hundred miles south of Christchurch, wore military fatigues and wielded two semiautomatic rifles, two shotguns, and one lever-action firearm as he stormed into two mosques. He live-streamed his methodical slaughter of  50 people at afternoon prayer on Facebook (another 50 were injured). The video, having been “shared” on Twitter and other social media platforms, has since been removed.

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