After a mass shooting in New Zealand, the country moved quickly to act on gun reform, causing reflection across the world

On March 15 in Christchurch, New Zealand, a 28-year-old opened fire on two different mosques and took the lives of 50 innocent worshipers while injuring 50 others. The shooter is set to be seen in court on April 5.

According to a CNN article, this “is the deadliest mass killing in New Zealand since 1943.” This massacre is also being called the first “internet-native mass-shooting,” a term coined by New York Times columnist Kevin Roose. This is because the shooting was not detected by Facebook even though it was streamed live on the social media platform. This has led some people to think large media platforms in the country may not have enough power to control or prevent these kind of events, in situations when they are being streamed on their platform.

Whether or not this is the case, New Zealand chose to respond immediately to this event. According to an NBC news article “New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced plans to ban nearly all military-style semi-automatic and assault rifles on Thursday.” With this action coming not even a full week after the shooting, many across the globe are calling these claims acts of a true leader.

However, some still believe the problem is not the guns, but people having  hidden agendas. Is the problem really the availability to guns, or is it the Islamophobia, extremism and/or white supremacy?

I would argue there is room for an answer that is not simply black and white. There is no reason that people need guns that are more powerful than what would be necessary to defend an attack. With that said, people should maintain the right to defend themselves in attacks like these.

After solving gun reform, there will likely still be a problem- a societal problem. Fostering hate and not paying attention as a society to signs of people capable of dangerous things leads to mass destruction. We as people are allowed to have opinions and thoughts on others, but we as a society are supposed to care about each other and know when a group is being targeted, promoted dangerously or being treated unfairly.

We cannot simply chalk this all up to “another mentally ill person.” We must continue to stand united against hate and bigotry of people that are taking their thoughts and turning them into harmful actions. The unity across the globe regarding this issue has been a beautiful thing to witness. While it’s tragic that it took such an event to cause this unity, we must continue to stand against all forms of hatred.

This shooting has brought out both the worst and the best in the world. After a quick google search, the problem with what you find is that it is being tied to American politics and more specifically, our president.

The New Zealand shooting was a tragedy. This is not about politics in any way but about the people whose family members and lives were lost. My heart and the hearts of all people should be going out to these wonderful people. As Christians, or people of any faith, it should be easy to understand how distraught they must feel. A place of worship is the safest place you can be, or at least it should be. To have that stripped away is a horrifying reality.

In a time where “thoughts and prayers” are being criticized, we must realize that they are only the beginning. While we understand that asking the Lord to intervene is the highest form of love, we must also ask God how we can intervene. Words are not enough. We are called to love one another, look out for one another and fight together. Words without action are useless.

Until we find an appropriate action to take, all of our thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends affected by this atrocious event.