New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has expressed determination to do everything in her power to deprive the Christchurch shooter of the public attention he longed for by committing the deadliest terror attack in the country’s history.
“I agree that it is absolutely something that we need to acknowledge, and do what we can to prevent the notoriety that this individual seeks. He obviously had a range of reasons for committing this atrocious terrorist attack. Lifting his profile was one of them. And that’s something that we can absolutely deny him. One thing I can assure you — you won’t hear me speak his name”.
Later, in a speech to Parliament, Ardern encouraged the public to follow in her footsteps and let the gunman’s name sink into oblivion:
“I implore you: Speak the names of those who were lost, rather than the name of the man who took them. He may have sought notoriety, but we in New Zealand will give him nothing, not even his name”.
The prime minister further addressed the perpetrator’s livestreamed footage of the attack, saying that the authorities have been in touch with Facebook in order to have the graphic video removed. Even though the social media network managed to take down 1.5 million versions of the clip, it still can be found online.
“We have been in contact with Facebook; they have given us updates on their efforts to have it removed, but as I say, it’s our view that it cannot — should not — be distributed, available, able to be viewed. It is horrendous and while they’re given us those assurances, ultimately the responsibility does sit with them”, she said.
Following the mass shootings, Ardern announced that gun laws in New Zealand would be reformed in order to “make our community safer”.
The statements come four days after the suspected gunman, Brenton Harrison Tarant, a 28-year-old Australian, went on a shooting spree, targeting Muslims gathered for prayers in two Christchurch mosques, Al Noor and Linwood. The attack claimed the lives of 50 people, with Ardern branding it as a terrorist act.