Chch mosque

The idea that 15 March or “the ides of March” is unlucky goes back to ancient traditions and superstitions. Most people have probably heard the phrase quoted from a famous line in Shakespeare’s play Julius Caesar: “Beware the ides of March.” (source)

In commenting on yesterday’s mass shootings in Christchurch, this article on the Whale Oil blog states:

…[main perpetrator Brenton Tarrant] claims to have planned the attack for roughly two years and said he chose the location in Christchurch three months in advance. He said that he chose to use firearms deliberately because of the media storm it would create. He could have just as easily used a truck, he said, or a range of other terrorist methods.

His goal is to create political carnage, as he knows that left-wing governments will crack down on freedom of speech in reaction to his attack, and he wants to polarise the left and the right to cause an uprising. If Ardern’s government takes the bait and introduces hate speech laws, it will be playing into his hands, as that is exactly what he wants to happen.

It is certain that one of Jacinda’s reactions will be banning semi-automatic rifles, which was considered but not done after the Howard government in Australia did that following the Port Arthur massacre of April 1996.

It will be symbolic, but will make no practical difference as assault rifles are used in very few crimes, even in America.  This 2017 report by California’s Office of the Attorney General on the use of firearms in crimes states:

The 329 qualifying firearms examined by Department of Justice and SFPD during the reporting period included 306 handguns (93.0 percent), 14 rifles (4.3 percent), and nine shotguns (2.7 percent) (see Figure 1). No firearms were assault weapons (as defined in Pen. Code §§ 30510 and 30515) and one firearm (less than 1 percent) was classified as a short-barreled shotgun or rifle. The most commonly encountered calibers were 9 mm Luger and .40 Smith & Wesson (S&W), followed by .45 Automatic Colt Pistol (ACP)

And nationally in the U.S.:-

“…a 2004 study commissioned by the Department of Justice found that the federal ban [on assault rifles] didn’t lead to any decrease in gun crime or gun deaths. For starters, rifles, assault or otherwise, are rarely used in gun crime,” Adam Winkler, a constitutional law professor at UCLA Law School, wrote in a 2015 Los Angeles Times op-ed.

For those that own AR’s, they are symbolic too, a way of saying to potentially tyrannical governments that massively abuse their power: “we can fight back”.  The despotic Chairman Mao of China said, “all political power grows out of the barrel of a gun”; which is literally true when you think about it; the reason the right of citizens to bear arms was included in the American constitution.