No longer the country I woke up in this morning

A whole new kind of evil has raised its ugly, violent head in Aotearoa New Zealand today.

The details are unclear, but one or more gunmen stormed two mosques in Christchurch and fired on worshippers. Many people — we don’t yet know how many — are dead or wounded. Security forces are defusing IEDs and the city is in lockdown.

I woke up today feeling angry that yesterday one of the leaders of the Green Party, James Shaw — a Cabinet Minister — was beaten up while walking to work in central Wellington. It wasn’t a random attack; he was deliberately targeted. Shit like that isn’t meant to happen in NZ where our politicians are routinely to be found hanging out like normal people and are generally incredibly accessible.

By lunchtime I was cheered by the energy of the climate change strike events — at which James Shaw, black eye and all — spoke passionately to huge applause.

Then it all came crashing down.

I suppose it was naive to think that these little islands at the bottom of the world could be immune to the insane hatred and violence blighting so many other countries. Our time had to come. And it has.

Tonight we are a nation in mourning. For the senseless loss of precious lives, and for our country’s loss of innocence today.