Last week I wrote a brief blog post about New Zealand’s attempt to criminalize a video taken of the infamous Christchurch mosque shooting, leveling penalties of up to 10 years in prison for possession and 14 years for sharing it. New Zealand, apparently, has a “Chief Censor’s Office” that gets to make decisions about what its residents may and may not see.
The banned manifesto of the shooter, whose name I don’t really care to spread, clearly lays out the motivation behind this act of terrorism. The tl;dr version is that the shooter is a self-admitted racist who believes that non-white immigrants will take over “white countries” because of the combination of unchecked immigration and declining birth rates among white people. In other words, this man is a white supremacist.
There are really two ways to address terrorism: 1) to take away the means, and 2) to address the root cause. New Zealand, as many countries, has decided to go exclusively with the former, banning all semi-automatic weapons in a country where guns were already quite regulated. But terrorists always find a means to accomplish their goals, whether with homemade bombs, speeding trucks, hijacked airplanes, or otherwise.
New Zealand’s approach not only fails to try to remedy underlying causes, but actually prevents its residents from gaining any insight into the same by hiding a primary source that reveals the motivation in detail. At the same time, they place an authoritarian boot on the free speech rights (let alone gun rights) of their people with little benefit as future terrorists accomplish their goals via different means.
We can’t defeat terror by ignoring what motivated the terrorist. Without my personal support for any of the ideas expressed therein, here’s the manifesto (.pdf). Don’t click if you’re in New Zealand — that will be 10 years.