Update: I want to clarify that Steven Pinker did not comment on this tragedy with specifically what I mentioned below, I was referring to his books.
Steven Pinker is quick—and correct—to remind us that the world is the safest and nicest it’s ever been. Every type of crime, across the board, is down. We’re kinder to each other, we live longer, and we engage in fewer wars than at any point in human history. Someone from the 1800s would see our world today, and would cry with joy at our progress.
And then the shooting in Christchurch happens. Statistically, all that Mr Pinker says remains true. But it takes the wind out of your sails, helped by a fanatical media that’d rather report the gory detail than ask the difficult questions.
It’s easy to feel this hit closer to home for us in Australia, because it is. We see New Zealand as our brothers and sisters. In the vast expanse of the Pacific Ocean, we bob around here together, with our shared sense of humour, languages, cultures, and history. New Zealand is still listed as a state in the Australian constitution, though I’d rather have their prime minister.
It’s also closer to home because the far-right knuckle-dragger who caused so much destruction in Christchurch… was an Australian.
I’m choking up, which is making words hard. I don’t know what more I can add, other than to wish we we come out of this stronger, and more united. Nothing would displease our enemies more. 🇳🇿🇦🇺