On Friday, March 15, 2019, at approximately 1:40 pm Brenton Tarrant, executed 50 people and wounded numerous individuals in a time span of approximately 16 minutes. The executions were initiated at two separate mosques in the community of Christchurch,New Zealand. The worldwide outrage that followed had to do with Tarrant’s implementation of technology. A GoPro camera, attached to Tarrant’s helmet, provided a live stream for all to view as he carried out his attack. Authorities are investigating Tarrant’s 74-page manifesto.
Of importance is the fact, Tarrant’s manifesto was created three days before the shootings. Of key importance is although the manifesto was posted prior to anybody being killed, the fact it was found posted after the massacre is the means the door is now open for authorities to reconstruct from the beginning to the very end how it is this massacre of Muslims at a mosque, for prayer session, in Tarrant’s mind was justified. I have not read the manifesto, but the media outlets have provided information about portions of the manifesto that provides insight into Tarrant.
The New Zealand shooting is reinforcement that the local, county, state, and federal law enforcement communities establish open lines of community to offset as many active shooter and/or terrorist incidents as possible. Training must be introduced to offset an Active Shooter Incident. The New Zealand attack clearly reaffirmed what the law enforcement community has known for quite some time. An Active Shooter Incident, Terrorist attack, or a Domestic terrorist attack each passes through five stages.
Ideology (thoughts and ideas), followed by the formulation of a plan of attack, then leads to preparing for the attack. Once ideology, along with the plan and preparation are completed, the final two stages are approach and implementation. Tarrant provided an understanding of the meaning behind approach and implementation. Tarrant’s initial approach to the mosque was live-streamed as was the massacre that followed.
The New Zealand police responded and apprehended Tarrant. This incident emphasizes response to an Active Shooter Incident and/or Terrorist attack should be the last thing required of the police. Response can be replaced by intervention if law enforcement overcomes a potential attack during the Ideological, Planning or Preparation stages. This is the perfect time for the police to intervene. During these three stages the shooter is not prepared to implement his plan of attack. Tarrant indicated in his manifesto he wanted to demonstrate “no place in the world is safe.” Response alone cannot offset such a mindset.
The manifesto indicates that Tarrant moved to New Zealand to stage his alleged attack, which he had been planning for two years. Tarrant believed he had to defend “our lands” from “invaders,” to “reduce immigration rates,” to deepen division, and start a civil war in the United States. This is the mindset of a white extremist. His belief is that white Europeans are being replaced by non-white immigrants. The United States welcomes immigration of all people of all faiths and color, but is attempting to stop the flow of continuing illegal immigration. The policy of the United States is not acceptable to Tarrant’s white supremacist position.
The first question that needs to be addressed is why did the attack occur in New Zealand rather than Australia where Tarrant was born and raised? There appear to be two reasons. 1.) Tarrant wanted to send a message to the world. This required he implement his attack in a country other than Australia where he was born and raised. 2.) Retired FBI special agent James Gagliano, a law enforcement analyst for CNN indicated New Zealand’s gun laws are strict, but not as strict as Australia. This is an indication New Zealand became a more suitable target. What followed is that Tarrant planned his attack for two years and purchased the weapons he required in New Zealand as of December 2018.
Another question is why did this happen? Tarrant explains in his manifesto that he began to “change” while traveling through Europe in 2017. A terrorist killed five people in a Stockholm, Sweden truck attack. In his manifesto, Tarrant made it clear his attack was revenge for Islamic terror attacks. He felt he needed to prevent a “white genocide.”
In review, looking from afar, it appears Tarrant chose New Zealand over Australia because he needed to implement his attack to create a problem for the world and create a civil war in the United States. As of 2017, he began to plan his attack. His targets were the Muslim immigrants living in Christchurch, New Zealand. In 2018, he purchased the firearms required.
Tarrant’s ideology began in Europe, this led to him planning and preparing for his attack in New Zealand, and, on March 15, 2019, he approached two mosques without hesitation. Once on scene the carnage began and although he gained the attention of the world, a civil war will not occur.
All people of all colors have been victimized in one way or another. This incident will not divide us. It will bring these groups together as one.
Lastly, I am aware three people were killed in a shooting on a tram in the Dutch city of Utrecht on Monday, March 18, 2019. The possible suspect who fled the area is known to the Dutch authorities. What relationship this shooting may have with Tarrant will be determined now that the Dutch authorities have the suspect in custody.