Freshman Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) wasted no time Friday, launching a verbal attack on the National Rifle Association in reaction to the mass shooting at two New Zealand mosques, according to The Hill.
But the Seattle P-I.com and Associated Press are reporting that the second mosque attack was interrupted when “a prayer-goer returned fire with a rifle or shotgun.” If accurate, this report would reinforce NRA’s long-standing argument that “good guys with guns” stop “bad guys with guns.”
The far left New York Democrat alluded to attacks at churches in South Carolina and Texas and last year’s deadly attack on a mosque in Pennsylvania. In a message she reportedly wrote, “What good are your thoughts & prayers when they don’t even keep the pews safe?”
The Hill showed part of a message from Ocasio-Cortez that stated, “‘Thoughts and prayers’ is reference to the NRA’s phrase used to deflect conversation away from policy change during tragedies. Not directed to PM (Jacinda) Ardern, who I greatly admire.”
Firing right back at Ocasio-Cortez was NRATV host Dana Loesch, who replied, “Pretty sure thoughts and prayers isn’t anyone’s phrase, and prayer especially (which you mocked earlier after what happened in a house of prayer?) is a real action, a petition to, a conversation with, God — in this case, to request protection, comfort for those suffering.”
News agencies are reporting that one suspect in the mass shooting, identified as Brenton Tarrant of Grafton, NSW, Australia. He is alleged to have charged into the Al Noor Mosque in Christchurch Friday afternoon, New Zealand time, and opened fire with a rifle and shotgun.
The Associated Press reported that Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern branded the attack as an act of terrorism. She called the incident “an extraordinary and unprecedented act of violence.”
At last count, 49 people were killed at two different mosques. Another 48 people have been injured, according to the Daily Mail. The other mosque has been identified as the Masjid mosque in Linwood, where seven of the 49 victims were reportedly killed.
It was at this mosque where one of the people attending daily prayer reportedly opened fire against the attacker.
The Washington Post and other news agencies are reporting that the suspect created a “manifesto” and asserted that he wanted to increase “strife” in the United States over the Second Amendment and private gun ownership. New Zealand does not have a constitutional right to keep and bear arms, but one university study released in 2017 estimated that there are about 1.5 million guns in private hands. But there are tight restrictions on certain firearms as a result of a 1990 mass shooting in Aramoana, NZ that left 13 people dead.
The attack may have also been motivated because the suspect is concerned about “invaders” and ensuring “a future for white children,” the Washington Post story noted.
More details will doubtless be revealed over the next several days, but many in the gun rights community are already talking about the shooting, and bracing for more anti-gun exploitation.
Already, anti-gun Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-NY) is trying to blame President Donald Trump’s past rhetoric for the attack, according to Politico.
“I think that the public discourse from the president on down is a factor in some of these actions,” Blumenthal reportedly stated.