Some comment is deserved following the horrific Christchurch attack last Friday. Our deep sorrow and sympathy go out to those injured, the families of those killed and all others traumatized in ripple effect.
Among the earliest statements made by Prime Minister Ardern were promises that gun laws will change, and that ‘now is the time for change’, i.e. this tragedy can be exploited to forward her political aims. Her proclamation seemed improper also because it’s not the Prime Minister who changes laws, it’s our parliament (and ultimately the English monarchy). Her definitive pronouncement about law change before any parliamentary process has taken place suggests that she sees herself as making our laws. Is power and international attention going to the Prime Minister’s head?
Firearms control is an easy target. The US constitution was based in part on the principle that citizens should be armed sufficiently to keep the government and its agents in line, to prevent a government from becoming another monarchy or dictatorship. In New Zealand there is no constitution and people’s complacency about the ever-increasing power of the state and erosion of individual rights seems to be based on a naive faith in the fairness and restraint of their government. Among many other examples, the Prime Minister’s unilateral proclamation about gun laws shows that faith to be misguided.
It may be that gun laws deserve to change. Decades ago the issuing of gun licences came to be based on positive reports from significant others. If a man applies for a gun licence or renewal, police will interview his wife, girlfriend or female associate , asking searching questions to uncover any indication of patriarchal power and control, domestic violence or female criticism of the man’s temperament, attitudes, circle of friends etc. Essentially, the power to grant gun licences for men was placed in the hands of women in their lives. We understand that it’s mostly men who apply for gun licences and we don’t know any women who have gone through the process. We don’t know if the female applicant’s husband or boyfriend is given a similar power to enable or prevent women from having a licence. We suspect this would be seen as politically incorrect.
The assumption that a wife or girlfriend’s information will be honest and reliable is unsafe. On the one hand, if the man is actually dangerous then his female companion may be afraid to tell the truth or may lie due to identifying with the man’s antisocial group, activities and beliefs. On the other hand a woman may use the opportunity to frustrate the man’s firearms ambition out of a desire to wield power over him or to punish him for displeasing her in some way. The woman may have an anxious disposition and/or be philosophically against firearms, leading her to express reservations about her husband’s ownership of firearms even though there is no good reason to predict he would ever behave unsafely with them. As is the case in the Family Court, a woman’s claim to feel subjectively frightened of a man even when he has never done anything to be frightened of is more than enough to deprive the man of many human rights.
In the case of the Christchurch mosque shooter Brenton Tarrant the firearms licencing process has been proven inadequate. We would prefer removal of feminist control over men’s rights to own firearms, with instead more emphasis placed on a male’s history, employment and presentation, perhaps including psychological testing to be considered alongside other information.
The Christchurch mosque shooting resulted in huge censorship of internet forums such that any opinions deviating from the ‘we are all one people’ stance were quickly removed. Any hint of criticism of Islam or reference to the huge number of atrocities committed by Islamic extremists including the many Muslims who traveled from around the world to join ISIS, was removed. Our Prime Minister was even photographed wearing Muslim-type head covering. There was frequent condemnation of ‘hate speech’, religious intolerance, right-wing extremism and ‘racism’. Quite a few references were made to Stefan Molyneaux and Lauren Southern by people claiming these speakers promoted racism, uttered hate speech and encouraged violence such as Tarrant’s whereas in fact they had never done so. The irony was of course that it would be difficult to match the Quran and other holy books on religious intolerance , hate speech and promotion of heinous violence against others (non-Muslims), which militant Islamic groups obey but luckily most NZ Muslims seem not to put into practice.
The relevance of this for the men’s movement is that our views are now likely to be classed as hate speech and right-wing extremism even though that’s untrue for all but a tiny number of contributors through the years. We can now expect more surveillance of this and other blogs related to men’s issues and we may experience further erosion of our civil rights including free speech, privacy and fair consideration for gun licences. For that alongside the many other reasons we blame and condemn Brenton Tarrant.