An opinion piece by Ben Hope
The Christchurch mosque shootings were two consecutive terrorist attacks at mosques in the cityChristchurch, New Zealand, during Friday Prayer on 15 March 2019.The attacks began at the Al Noor Mosque in the suburb of Riccarton at 1:40 p.m. and continued at Linwood Islamic Centre at about 1:55 p.m.The gunman live-streamed the first attack on Facebook.The attacks killed 51 people[and injured 49. Brenton Tarrant, a 28-year-old man from Grafton, New South Wales, Australia, described in media reports as a white supremacist and part of the alt-right, was arrested and initially charged with one murder. Tarrant was later charged with 51 murders, 40 attempted murders, and engaging in a terrorist act. He pleaded not guilty to all charges, with the trial expected to start on 2 June 2020.
Tarrant is alleged to be guilty.
Were any others involved?
Well, yes – there were – the New Zealand Police.
To examine the police involvement, the question arises how did an Australian Brenton Tarrant come to get a firearms licence?
Former MP Richard Prosser had this to say in an opinion piece published December 2019 on Elocal magazine site. Richard Prosser is a former NZ First politician, who served as a Member of Parliament from 2011 to 2017 but was inexplicably demoted on the party’s list from number 3 to number 15. It was NZ First’s loss and the treatment he received may one the party will regret come the 2020 election.
Richard Prosser wrote “It was the Police who issued Brenton Tarrant with his firearms licence, who never enquired as it his criminal history in Australia, who only interviewed him online and not in person; and who allowed his two character referees to be a father and son, whom Tarrant himself inly knew from an internet chat room.”
“And it was Police who allegedly failed to act in information from one of Tarrant’s former fellow Dunedin Gun Club members, himself ex-New Zealand Army, that Tarrant was a head-case and a ticking time bomb.”
Opinion online is giving the public more and more an insight into the police incompetence that allowed Tarrant to get a New Zealand firearm licence.”
Richard Prosser’s claim was backed up elsewhere. On the website “TrueblueNZ” a writer “Redbaiter” said “Licenced gun owners at the club Tarrant joined were alarmed by his ideas and actions and reported them to the New Zealand Police. Who did nothing.”
The sad aspect is the New Zealand media, from newspapers to radio to television, were guilty of failure to pick up on the incompetence by the Police to identify Tarrant’s lack of suitability to hold a New Zealand firearm licence. Indeed the illiterate media did not pick up March 15 is Shakespeare’s “The Ides of March”. Was it coincidence or did Tarrant deliberately select the date knowing the significance?