In New Zealand, it was already Friday daytime as gunmen attacked two Mosques in central Christchurch. At least 49 people are dead, with many more injured. It is news of unimaginable grief, unthinkable hatred. The inevitable asking “why?” has echoed round the world as the news has spread, to be followed by the sure and certain realisation that this was the endpoint of a journey fuelled by bigotry and intolerance.
The BBC reported “Forty people have been killed and more than 20 seriously wounded in shootings at two mosques in Christchurch … Three men and one woman are in custody, police commissioner Mike Bush said, but warned more suspects may be at large. Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison said one of those arrested was an Australian citizen. He described the suspected attacker as an ‘extremist right-wing violent terrorist’”.
Innocent lives brutally and premeditatedly cut short. As with Utoya, as with Orlando, as with Pittsburgh, those whose heads are turned by the incendiary rhetoric of the far right - the instigators always being able to claim plausible deniability - take out their hatred on the minorities and the vulnerable. Muslims, Jews, Gays, and yes, mere children, all mown down as the all too predictable end product of the far right hate industry.
It is an industry that does not exist in a vacuum: as with any malignant virus, once incubated, it has to spread if it is to have any effect. And here, our free and fearless press, and even our broadcast media, should hang their heads in shame, although they will not. They have published the hate merchants, given platforms to bigots, encouraged the demonisation of minorities, all for the momentary interest of profit and ratings.
Moreover, it is not just fringe media that has spread the virus of hatred. It long ago went beyond Breitbart, InfoWars and Rush Limbaugh. Now it has been transmitted by Fox News Channel, the Murdoch Sun, the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday, the Express, the Spectator and others. Yet the management of those media outlets are not responsible for the end product of the hatred they enable. Nor are the figureheads of the hate movement.
So it is that Donald Trump, Tucker Carlson, Laura Ingraham, Geert Wilders, Marine le Pen, Nigel Farage, Gerard Batten, Rod Liddle, Douglas Murray, Tony Gallagher, Paul Dacre, Trevor Kavanagh, Katie Hopkins, Stephen Yaxley Lennon, Paul Joseph Watson, Peter Imanuelsen, Martin Sellner, Brittany Pettibone, Lauren Southern, Milo Yiannopoulos, Taki Theororacopulos, Fraser Nelson, James Delingpole, Boris Johnson, and so many others will rest easy this morning, safe in the knowledge that It Wasn’t Them.
Well, I have news for this collective stain on humanity, this repellent convocation of amateur human beings, this vicious cohort of hate preachers. Don’t think any or all of you can duck responsibility for what happened in Christchurch. You cannot. This is where your ignorance, hatred and bigotry leads. This is the fruit of your ill thought out labours.
Damn you. Damn every last miserable, hate-filled, bigoted, snivelling, cowardly, intolerant, selfish, worthless, uncaring one of you. Damn you all to hell.