Heather Mallick: New Zealand killer is one of Trump's global useful idiots
“I can tell you I have the support of the police, the support of the military, the support of the Bikers for Trump — I have the tough people, but they don’t play it tough — until they go to a certain point, and then it would be very bad, very bad.”
So said U.S. President Donald Trump to far-right Breitbart on Monday. On Friday afternoon, a gunman who saw Trump “as a symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose” shot 49 people dead and injured 41 others at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand.
Most if not all were Muslims, although Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer’s initial tweeted condolences conspicuously failed to mention that, as did Trump’s. But then Scheer’s recent speech at the frightening anti-immigrant Yellow Vest rally on Parliament Hill last month didn’t mention Muslims either, not by name and not in sympathy.
There were references to political violence that day, one from a senator. It was a low point, but a useful warning for Canada. Privy Council Clerk Michael Wernick has publicly worried that someone will be shot during this fall’s election.
As rage builds globally, coaxed along online by bots, domestic and international, many good people will die. The massacre in New Zealand was just the latest case study in male cruelty, racial and religious hatred and pointless death on a pretty street in a distant, peaceful city.
We sang it in school assembly. Sample lyrics:
In the now-traditional mass killer high school essay, he interviewed himself, which is the kind of thing teachers ask you to do on Day 1 to get the cut of your jib. He wrote that he was ordinary. Yes. “Just a (sic) ordinary White man, 28 years old. Born in Australia to a working class, low income family.”
He was a Brexit supporter because of course he was. “It was the British people firing back at mass immigration, cultural displacement and globalism, and that’s a great and wonderful thing,” he wrote. Theresa May, he’s in your corner.
Australians call this “the cultural cringe,” grovelling to the hateful mother country that got rid of its criminals and otherwise unwanted by shipping them to Australia. These are absurd statements for any Australian but a man who compares himself to Alexander the Great after bulking up at the Big River Squash and Fitness Centre in Grafton, New South Wales is not a man who grasps subtlety.
He wrote the usual clichéd stuff on his manly mission. Please stop calling it a “manifesto” — it’s hardly Martin Luther-level complaining — when at best it’s one of those nighttime emails irate men send me that go on for eight pages. His took 74. He was clearly aping other killers but doesn’t appear to have a mental disorder as a partial excuse. What he had was guns.
Buzzfeed journalist Craig Silverman wrote, correctly, that the gunman was good at one thing, creating “a multiplatform content strategy to maximize his reach, push his message and force the media and social platforms to navigate a minefield of coded messages aimed at helping push his agenda.”
One shouldn’t write about things one hasn’t seen. I watched the entire slaughter video about 12 hours after the attack, long after it was allegedly taken down, which is proof that Google, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube have created a beast they cannot control.
But it was cruel to do so. “Help me. Help me,” one injured woman moaned. He shot her twice, point blank, and drove over her body.
As she lay dying, would it have helped her to know she was not alone with her killer, that thousands were with her in shock and sorrow? We didn’t have to accept what he offered us. I feel immense regret.
Heather Mallick is a columnist based in Toronto covering current affairs. Follow her on Twitter: @HeatherMallick