The Christchurch Gunman
Brenton Tarrant, an Australian, carried one of the most horrifying attacks in New Zealand for which he was recently sentenced to life without parole.
BBC reports that such a sentence has not been awarded before in New Zealand making him the first person in the country’s history to receive such a judgement.
On 15 March 2019 mass shootings that killed 51 people and left 40 injured took place in New Zealand. Media outlets have reported that the attack that was carried out by a single gunman began at the around 1:40 pm and continued at around 1:52 pm.
The gunman has been described be as a white supremacist and he was also part of the alt native right. Prior to the attack, the gunman released an online manifesto which many overlooked as they considered it to be something equivalent to a troll of poor quality.
Moreover, the video of the first attack was streamed live on Facebook. The gunman, Brenton Harrison Tarrant, a 29-year-old man from , initially pleaded not guilty to all charges, with the trial expected to start on 2 June 2020.
However, he changed his decision and pled guilty on all charges on 26 March 2020. Soon he was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment “without parole on 27 August 2020“.
Tarrant’s actions were claimed to be “inhuman.” The judge said that he “showed no mercy“. The perpetrators sentencing also marks the first terrorism conviction in the history of New Zealand.
Judge Cameron Mander in a Christchurch court stated that the crimes are so horrific that even if the criminal is detained till he dies, it will not match up to the “requirements of the punishment.”
Jacinda Ardern, New Zealand’s Prime Minister upon hearing of Tarrant’s sentencing, announced that this meant Tarrant had “no platform… and we have no cause to think about him, to see him or to hear from him again. Today I hope is the last where we have any cause to hear or utter the name of the terrorist.”
This frightening situation pushed New Zealand to pass stricter laws regarding buying and owing of weapons.
The gunman was born in Australia. His father was a garbage collector and his mother was a teacher. After his father’s death in the year of 2010, it is believed that Tarrant quit his job and traveled to various parts of the world.
Specifically, through parts of Asia and Europe. Tarrant’s grandmother explained to a news outlet that the travels completely changed the boy. The gunman moved to New Zealand in 2017 and soon started plotting attacks against the Muslim community.
The judgement was welcomed by everyone in New Zealand as it was believed that justice had been served. Justice Mander, on the last day of the hearing, spent around an hour reiterating who each of Tarrant’s victims were. The judge also added that despite the gunman’s plea, he appeared “neither contrite nor ashamed”.
It is speculated by many that the rise in white supremacy and alt-right extremism worldwide since 2015 resulted into this heinous attack.
Politicians all around condemned this attack with Jacinda Ardern claiming it to be one of the darkest days in the history of New Zealand.
By- Sagarika Mukhopadhyay