Mourners carry the body of a victim of the March 15 mosque shootings at the Memorial Park Cemetery in Christchurch, New Zealand, on Wednesday. Photo: AP Photo/Mark Baker
New Zealand is on the other side of the world, far away from the hurly-burly life of Europe and violent America, the upheavals and turmoil in Africa and the turbulent Middle East. It is a land of peace and tranquillity. Not for a moment did anyone expect this peaceful sheep-rearing nation to become the target of terrorist attacks.

But New Zealand’s image as a Garden of Eden was shattered last week on Friday when gunmen, filled with hatred and vengeance, opened fire in two mosques in the appropriately named Christchurch and spilled the blood of innocent worshippers.

The massacre left 50 dead and scores injured. New Zealanders were left reeling and count it as the darkest day in their history.

The massacre shows how hatred and violence have spread to all corners of the earth. Prayers and messages of peace and love seem to have now fallen on deaf ears as the world grows more violent by the day. Like many, I wonder what could have triggered the Australian to become a killing machine.

Violence is an innate characteristic of mankind. Men love violence. It gives them power and control over their opponents. America is largely responsible for exploiting this weakness in man for material gain. It propagates and spreads this culture of violence around the world with its violent films. 

Gun ownership is a God-given right in America and is entrenched in the constitution. Guns can be bought over the counter as easily as Coke and burgers.

The movies and videos churned out daily by Hollywood glamorise and hero worship trigger-happy men. The more violent a film is the greater appeal it has. Mass shootings are common in the US and the Christchurch killing is a copycat version of the US mass killings.

What I cannot understand is why a peaceful nation like New Zealand would allow the unrestricted sale of these dangerous weapons.

The Christchurch killer, 28-year-old Brenton Tarrant, was armed to the teeth with two semi-automatic weapons, two shotguns and a lever-action firearm. There were also explosives attached to his car. We manufacture these weapons of destruction for the sole purpose to make money and kill.

We pray so hard but we still breed extremists like the Australian white supremacist.

Thyagaraj Markandan

Silverglen