It is important to try to understand the mass murder in Christchurch, but it is just too early to make any sound or meaningful assessment. Despite the manifesto, we do not know enough about Tarrant’s background and thoughts, and we know nothing about any of the others who may have been involved. That hasn’t stopped the mainstream media with its screeching headlines. More on that in a minute.
I know Christchurch a little. My mother was born at Lyttleton, Christchurch’s port and a very pretty place, and I have spent time in Christchurch and worshipped at the cathedral. That poor city has had more than its share of troubles.
What we can say, and the first thing we must say, is this. There is no excuse, ever, for religious or political violence against ordinary people. Whatever their background, the victims thought they had found a home in New Zealand, and were entitled to feel safe and welcome.
What we cannot justifiably do, at least yet, is make the judgments about Tarrant’s views some media organisations have made.
Someone who hates capitalism, corporatism, and conservatism, who despises President Trump’s economic and foreign policies, who describes himself as a former communist, now an eco-fascist, who recently visited Pakistan and said he liked and respected the people there, and whose most admired country is communist China, is neither a white supremacist, nor right wing.
If he wrote the manifesto in his name, he is highly intelligent, and thoroughly evil.
To repeat, there is no excuse, ever, anywhere, for acts of terror against civilians. All such acts, wherever they occur, and by whoever they are committed, must be condemned, and every step taken to stop them recurring.
Tarrant suggested he was trying to defend the West and its traditions. The opposite is true. He has comprehensively betrayed our values and our history.