More New Zealanders murdered by New Zealanders. Ten people murdered already, with the year only twenty-nine days old.
An unidentified woman aged between 30 and 50, found dead in the Wairoa River
Saishwar Krishna Naidu
“The motivation behind them seem to be quite random,” Detective Superintendent Win Van Der Velde said, “so there’s no single trend or factor.”
Random violence. No single trend or factor. Just a brutal start to a new year. Here in New Zealand we like to think we're immune from the violence that all too frequently sweeps the world, but our 'quarter-acre pavlova paradise' sometimes seems more like Hell's half-acre.
With a new outrage almost every day, picking up the newspaper each morning is becoming an act of courage.
It is impossible not to contemplate the questions the slaughter raises: What kind of world - what kind of a country - is it in which these things can be done to other human beings: a child's life snuffed out by his parents; a graduate with her life before her murdered by ex-boyfriend; a bubbly young girl seeing the world is slaughtered by a young boy; another young boy killed for tagging a fence in Manurewa; and another young Manurewa boy killed in his parent's dairy ...
“We pay tax and what do we get?” says dairy owner Anand. “We’re trying to work hard. We try to make an honest living.” Not so the brutes, who end the lives of other human beings for nothing much more than the 'kicks' it gives them.
What kind of bloody place is this where such unthinking, mindless brutes exist that can do such things to other people? What use is it -- we might ask ourselves -- to proselytise, to persuade and to philosophise when the newspaper is full of new atrocities every time we pick it up? What use is philosophy and reason when brainless brutality seems the order of the day?
Bertrand Russell once observed that "many people would sooner die rather than think - in fact, they do so." If only, we lament, it were only the wilfully mindless who were dying! But it's not - these bastards are taking others with them before they go.
'What refuge is there from this noxious tide of irrational brutality?' I wondered as I drove into town this morning helping a client set up a new business. As I drove I watched thousands of other good people going purposefully about their business - carrying out their plans, making deals, and enjoying the adventure of life in a teeming city. And as I drove, I realised that - despite the headlines - these senseless killings are still the exception rather than the rule. The slayings are still news precisely because they are not normal everyday events: The norm was here, I realised, right outside my car window, inside my client's new architecturally-designed offices, and in the heaving, pulsating, guffawing city all around me.
I realised the overwhelming majority of people, in this hemisphere at least, are simply going about their daily business - planning, acting and producing wealth and happiness for themselves and for others. The mindless brutes are not all around us; what we see around us instead are people much like ourselves - people whose actions are the exact inverse of the mindless morons - people whose actions are purposefully productive. It is such actions that move the world, not the actions of a few mindless thugs, however brutal.
Those of us who do value reason and happiness will often become frustrated by the mindlessness around us - particularly when violent mindlessness is inundating the news we see. But the fact remains that, in the western world at least, the violently mindless are still very much in the minority.
The meek will probably never get the chance to inherit the earth, and nor perhaps will the brutes: We will - those of us who do choose to think, and to act, and to guffaw. But some days it still seems like we'll have to fight the brutes for it all the way.
Pass the ammunition.
UPDATE: January's outbreak of brutality is the "backfire of collectivism" says Callum McPetrie. It's hard to disagree.