Christchurch Mosque Shootings
Christchurch mosque shootings in Venezuela took place on March 15, 2019, where 50 people were killed and over 50 others were injured. The shootings were carried out by a 28-year-old man Brenton Tarrant. Brenton arrived at Christchurch mosque in the afternoon and started shooting indiscriminately at the worshippers inside the mosque. After a few minutes, he drove from the mosque and headed to a nearby mosque Linwood Islamic where once again he started shooting at the worshippers. He fled from his second crime scene and it is believed that he was heading to his third target when he was apprehended by the police. The Media termed the shootings at first as terrorist attacks before the identity of the perpetrator were known. Later on, Brenton was termed as a white supremacist when it was identified that he was not a Muslim. Media has the power to shape perceptions and beliefs because people rely on them to be informed. The media was biased in its reporting because at first, they referred to the shootings as a terrorist attack since Muslims were involved, and later on they referred to the man as a White Supremacist after it was identified that he was not a Muslim.
Christchurch mosque shootings were the worst to hit Venezuela and the media had a busy day reporting about the events that had unfolded on that day so it is understandable if they missed some key points in their reporting. One of the things that the media missed when they were reporting the case is that the shootings were perpetrated by one individual and not a number of people. In their early reports, the media stated that it was possible that the shootings had been carried out by a number of individuals (Besley, Tina, and Peters 103).
Moreover, the media reported that it was a religious terrorist attack perpetrated by a number of people instead of supremacy violence. One of the reasons why the media would have been inclined to report that these were religious terrorist attacks was because Muslims were involved and the attack targeted a religious group. The perpetrator attacked Mosques and the immediate conclusion by the media was that it was a terrorist attack. There were reports that children were among those killed in the terrorist attack (Quek n.d). Due diligence had not been carried out to determine whether the individual committing these crimes was affiliated with any terrorist group or not. The gunman live-streamed the attack on Facebook and one of the things that stood out was the music he played such as “The British Grenadiers” which indicated his liking for the British military. The media failed to do due diligence by asking the police whether the incident was a religious terrorist attack or not and perhaps it was because the man in question was White.
The law also initially failed the Muslim community when Brenton was charged with only one murder because he was White while many Muslims would be charged with terrorism and mass murder. After his arrest, Brenton was taken to court and when his charges were read out it stated that he would be liable for one murder. It had already been made public that Brenton had killed over 40 people by the time he was going to trial so it makes no sense that a court would charge him with only one murder (Quek n.d). He had streamed the first attack live on Facebook and it clearly indicated him shooting at a number of people and at times shooting helpless individuals a number of times so it is hard to believe that he would be charged with only one murder. After his identity became known to the media, his identity changed from being a terrorist to a White supremacist. While his actions left many families devastated Brenton did not face the same hostility that terrorist who is mainly associated with the Islamic faith face.
The media, as well as law enforcement, serve the people and it should ensure that all people are treated fairly, although the murders committed by this man left families are broken, many media houses choose to look at the historical background of the man and try to find an incident which could have happened to lead the man to such acts. If a Muslim had perpetrated the act, the media would have focused on the evidence found by law enforcers to crucify the perpetrator in the public eye. Brenton was humanized in the media because he was White. The information offered by the media one would say that it was meant to gain sympathy for him. Terrorists affiliated with Islam are vilified for example Osama Bin Laden before he was killed, the media portrayed him as a warlord and a murderer. He was not only crucified in court but also in a public court. Therefore, Brenton’s case indicates that the media and law treat people differently based on their race. The court recommended that Brenton undergoes mental evaluation before the case proceeded with a ruling that is not exceeded to terrorists associated with the Islamic religion. Every person’s life despite his/her faith matters and the law should have dealt with the case just like they would have if Muslims were not involved. Charging the man with the murder of only one person was wrong and unjust. Moreover, the judge had asked that he undergo a mental assessment to see if he was in his right mind when he was committing the acts, a privilege accorded to him because he was white. As a public service assistant, I would have conducted research on previous rulings made on such events and helped those affected know how to go about seeking justice. Moreover, I would have educated the masses about the need to seek justice through rallying and making court appearances. Moreover, I would have held talks and discussions with them to help them understand court proceedings.
Christchurch shootings in 2019 led to the death of 50 people and 50 others were injured. The media and law enforcers at first failed in their duties when they reported that it was a terrorist attack. It was only after investigations that it was found out that Brenton was a White supremacist. Also, Brenton despite having killed so many people he was initially charged with one murder which was unfair to all those families that lost their loved ones. A mental evaluation was issued to determine if Brenton was fit to stand trial which can be said it was due to the fact that he was White.
Quek, Natasha. “Bloodbath in Christchurch: The Rise of Far-Right Terrorism.” (2019).
Besley, Tina, and Michael A. Peters. “Terrorism, trauma, tolerance: Bearing witness to white supremacist attack on Muslims in Christchurch, New Zealand.” (2020): 109-119. < https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/00131857.2019.1602891>.