I did not intend to write this, I was writing a piece on what I am learning as I interview more people. But I have to put that temporarily aside.
As I write today the Minister of Social Development Paula Bennett is flying to Ashburton following a shooting which occurred this morning at the Work and Income offices. Two people are confirmed to have been shot dead. Another is in a critical condition. Armed Police have locked down the town and sealed off the WINZ premises, I understand too that the WINZ and ACC branches in Christchurch and Timaru have been closed.
A manhunt for the alleged killer, 48 year old John Henry Tully, is unfolding right now (1:02pm).
This does not feel like New Zealand. Right wing bloggers backed by shady money-men shovelling filth over a democracy and stacking candidate selections to filter out moderates — welcome to the antipodean Tea Party. A shooting and manhunt in progress — welcome to the constant back and forth of the USA. Fear.
Glancing at the Whale Oil post on the Ashburton shooting, and in particular the comments, already the bloated trolls are criticising (that’s actually a much kinder word for what they are doing) a tweet from Sue Bradford connecting this event to the policies of the National-led government.
I’m just waiting for someone to say something to the effect of; “This is not a time for politics”. Unfortunately this is often said right when the speaker attempts to do some free political points scoring. We are staring an election in the teeth, and are about to try to decide on the course for this country as ‘the people’, not individuals. This is a time to care, it is a time to grieve for the WINZ staffers who got up this morning and went to work to try and make New Zealand better. Will we let them down by switching off? Or do we still give a damn?