Our Black Friday

One week ago as I hit publish on my last post an horrendous event took place in my country. Today at 1.30 pm we will put aside our activities and take two minutes to stand in silence honouring the memories of the victims.

There is an added element to the Christchurch massacre that we in Dunedin are all painfully aware of. The shooter lived here for two years. He trained at a local gun club. He had originally targeted the local city mosque, but a trip to Christchurch had convinced him there was greater glory to be found in the larger population. So he travelled four hours north and on Friday 15th March 2019 targeted two sacred venues, killing adults and children and was on his way to a third when apprehended.

Much has happened here since the event. There are heroes everywhere I look. The two police officers who chased down the gunman as he drove to his third chosen venue of attack and, without a thought for their own lives, successfully took him into custody barely twenty minutes after the first call for help went out. These two men stand tall above all others.

The first responders, including ordinary passers by, who tried desperately to help, to save, to offer succour. One especially, who wept and was hugged by the news interviewer as they recalled the ghastly scene.

The farmer who voluntarily handed in his legal weapon and tweeted about it, asking others to join him. The gun’s convenience to him was nothing when compared to the acts of violence committed by a like weapon he said.

Jacinda, who paused a moment in surprise when a high school student asked her how she was doing at question time.  “How am I doing?” she repeated “i’m feeling very sad.”  Four words that describe a country.  But Jacinda went straight on.  Government, she said, can do certain things.  But I can’t do it alone, I need your help.  And she called on the students to do all they could to ensure the eradication of racism.  

Throughout the country there has been a mass outpouring of support for the victims and vigils are held outside mosques or in city centres where thousands gather and stand together silently in support of our Muslim brothers and sisters. It is a strong and palpable silence and in that silence there is a strong and palpable resolve growing.

First up is the actions of our Prime Minister. I’ve mentioned her here, no doubt you have probably seen her and heard her speak – it seems she is being touted around the world as an example to all leaders of How to Lead. And she is. New gun laws were introduced within six days. People are lining up to voluntarily hand over their weapons before the legislation is even passed.

Jacinda has said she will never to mention the name of the shooter. So very many of us have joined with her. We will, as a nation, deny him the notoriety he sought. We do not speak of him when we gather. We speak of the victims, of the heroes, of Jacinda. We speak of the vigils and the silence and the moments of heart rending sadness and strength and resilience we observe. We speak of our determination to rise above this event and to be one people in our country.

I look always to find the light in all moments of darkness in this world. It has not been hard to find them in this instance. There is a rising up in us, we will not be silent any longer. Racism is being met head on. This is an environment where the white supremacists, the racists, the ignorant do not feel safe.

I was in my local coffee shop buying my beans last Monday. There was a man sitting at the one table with the morning paper opened in front of him, the front page had been removed, carefully folded and sat to his right with the headline blazing out.

Jared went off to grind my beans for me and I looked at the folded page of the newspaper. The man did not acknowledge me when I asked if I could look at it. His face was hard set and he was reading about the shootings with his finger tracing the words. I’m a bit fey, I have a well developed feel for the intentions of people. He did not feel like a man of good intentions to me.

I looked at the article and as Jared returned I said to him ‘I don’t know why I’m reading this – it’s so ugly’. We talked on about the event and he told me how he and his family had made candles (he has two boys and a lovely wife) and they taken them down to the mosque the night before and joined the hundreds of people standing vigil.  He spoke of the silence and stillness and the tears that ran unchecked.

As we spoke we were both aware that the man at the table quietly got up and left the shop. Jared and I made eye contact and he kept on with his retelling of their experiences the night before. But we both knew in that moment, we had just driven a racist from his comfortable seat.

In choosing to honour the sacrifice of the victims, the actions of our heroes and the changes that have come and will come we as a nation are sending a clear and concise message to right wing terrorists. You are not wanted, you will not be elevated in any way, there is no place for you here.

I swapped my experience during that conversation with Jared, of having met a man some time ago in my street. As I made my way home with Siddy after our early morning walk we met a lone, older gentleman carrying his coffee mug, wandering towards us, kicking at the odd stone that had made its way from a gravel drive to the pavement, removing a piece of litter from between the fence palings on another property. I greeted him and he responded in a thick accent and with a tired smile.

Initially I was puzzled by his aimless wandering with coffee mug in hand – until one day it clicked for me. Of course, here was a man from a culture that interacted on the street, the cafes where the men would gather for their morning coffees and news gathering, perhaps a board game …… as a refugee he found himself suddenly upended here, in an area where there is no street culture to speak of and he, poor soul, spent his mornings looking for it. I felt so sad for him, and at a loss too as it was so hard to communicate anything other than a smile.

We ran into each other often over the ensuing weeks and as his English slowly improved we advanced beyond the simple greeting to brief conversations. One day he asked the name of my friendly dog. I replied ‘Siddy’. He double checked it. Then his face broke into a huge grin “Ah!” he declaimed, throwing his arm in a wide arc towards the city centre, “Ciddy!” “Yes, yes” I laughed with him in his delight. And so it is that to one man at least, Siddy is not named for the prince who became Buddha, he is named for a place of commerce.

I have not seen him for a while now, I guess he has given up looking for the culture he knows and stays home to drink his coffee.

Jared handed me a coffee card telling me to pass it on to the man when I next met him, he was welcome to go to his rotisserie where he would get a free coffee and Jared would play draughts with him. Perhaps, we thought, it could become the hangout for our new locals. We got stupidly excited at the thought.

And I now have a job to do – to find my refugee and take him somewhere for coffee.

I have started a drawing that may become a painting

Thanks for all your kind and heartfelt words in the last post – they confirm what I already knew. The world is full of good people. My blog stands testament to that and so does yours. We need now to stand up and ensure our voices are the ones that are heard. And, as ever, thanks for coming by today I love that you did!

103 thoughts on “Our Black Friday

  1. So beautifully written, Pauline, heartfelt, intuitive, and achingly sad. The story of the man on your street, looking for his lost culture is particularly poignant. You’re a fine ambassador and someone I’m glad to call a friend. You’re an old soul, with a bottomless heart and a deep appreciation for the other. Thank you for sharing your thoughts through words and drawing. I’ve fallen in love with New Zealand all over again.

    With love and a virtual hug, Alys

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  2. Truly heartbreaking. I so admire your PM and the country as a whole. It’s gotten so crazy here in the U.S. that when we have a mass shooting, people on the right claim it was a hoax. In fact, one of the parents of a child killed in the Sandy Hook massacre a few years ago recently committed suicide. I don’t doubt it’s from all the harassment. It’s terrible, Pauline, and those of us who want gun control often feel so helpless in the face of the opposition. Keep moving forward is the only way, I guess.
    I am descended from immigrants on both my mother and father’s side. All four of my grandparents came to the U.S. and started a new life here. They dealt with a lot of the same negativity that today’s immigrants do with the difference being that no one pointed a gun at them. And still the pendulum swings. I can only hope that gravity pulls it back to center soon.
    I hope you find your coffee drinking friend and invite him to sit at the cafe. I bet he plays backgammon. xo

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  3. I’m here from Robin. This is such a heartfelt, beautiful post. I hope you find the man, and you are able to give him the card. I hope the racist man perhaps finds the light.
    “I look always to find the light in all moments of darkness in this world. It has not been hard to find them in this instance. There is a rising up in us, we will not be silent any longer. Racism is being met head on. This is an environment where the white supremacists, the racists, the ignorant do not feel safe.”

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    • Hello Merrill, thank you so much for coming via Robin 🙂 Thank you for reading, for commenting and highlighting that passage. I’m not sure that it will hold for too long as the global right-wingers try to empower them through social media and the news media, but we are trying to be vigilant.

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  4. Hello dear P. What a gorgeous post you’re sharing here. You are the wise one. I felt every word intensely. Broken hearts create ripples through a community like a small stone creates rings in the water. But I also truly believe, kindness, no matter how small, (like you’ve mentioned a smile) is a much bigger stone. I feel the power of an act of kindness begat’s kindness an grows on and on. It makes larger ripples that will eventually overtake the the fear, sadness or hopelessness. Your brilliant, caring PM has immediately put the country on the right track. I love that. The one’s not on the side of love, kindness and peace should take notice.
    I’m so happy the older gentleman came across your path too. What good fortune for you both. I really hope you’re able to connect and have a coffee. I can’t even imagine how difficult it is to be chased from a country, loose your home, most likely have seen neighbours, family, friends die and be in a country where nothing makes sense because you can’t yet speak the language. I despise the smugness of those who are so hateful towards anyone different than they are. They spew ideologies about losing what they ‘imagine’ to own alone. I don’t know where this ugly sense of entitlement comes from. Edmonton isn’t immune to far right thinkers either. I see it as purely egotistical for anyone to assume they alone deserve the privilege of living in safety and comfort, like it’s some kind of supreme birthright. They need a reality check. What cracks me up is all of us come from families that immigrated to Canada in the last century (as my great-grandparents did). This tragedy will change your country forever and most likely good changes will come of it too. I love you all xK

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    • Thank you so much for leaving another wonderful response Kelly – it is always great to read what you have to say and you add in these so important little bits too – like the fact that we are immigrants and the haters generally belong in that category too. Fear is an ugly and powerful driver and so much in the media and social media platforms is aimed at driving more and more of that into being. Unless you can think for yourself and question what you habitually live in and the way your mind works – and put that together with how you feel – there is no hope for change or betterment for those people. I foresee a future when humankind evolves into two separate groups, those who live in the light and those who don’t. Thanks again for coming by xoxo

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  5. I learned so much from the exchange between you and Geoff and as a result have even more admiration for your PM, Jacinda. Navigating the political game while managing a significant change to the gun laws is quite remarkable.

    This post says so much about the NZ response to this horrific crime and about you and your commitment to creating light circles. I’ve not heard of this practice before, although my neighbour meditates and like you she is a scientist. She 100% believes that meditation is energy work and that meditation can shift one’s energy. Imagine what we could accomplish for the good of the world if we all meditated with a singleness of purpose.

    Always appreciate when you wade in deep, Pauline.

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    • Thanks for that Susanne! I often hesitate to ‘wade in deep’ though it is my natural state of being – I’m not sure people want to hear about alternatives. Your neighbour is correct 🙂 There’s tons of work being done that is proving our minds are far more powerful than we are taught to believe – Buddhists have always known – cutting edge science is simply ‘proving’ what they already know to be reality. I prove it to myself daily when I spin my light circles into the world. Sometimes though, when I hurt, I forget or simply can’t be bothered and then I also see what not walking with intention puts into the world. If you are interested, Joe Dispenza, whom I have mentioned before on this blog, is a leader in the field of neuroscience and worth checking out. He makes the science accessible through his books and changes lives through his workshops. He was instrumental in me truly understanding how I could take hold of and change my habitual thinking/feeling processes more than ten years ago and I’ve been a fan ever since.

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  7. In the world we’re living these days hate is so easily breeding more hate. We so need people like your lovely wise prime minister, who I was really struck by when listening to her talk about the tragedy. The immediate actions taken as opposed to talk, talk, talk, is a torch to lead the way for other countries to follow. Your country is showing us the way, Pauline. And we can all make a tiny difference like you finding your refugee or others like him, and to see life from their perspective so we can counter hate with love. All those drops in the ocean can make a significant difference. A wonderful post, and wishing you well with your painting :>)

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    • Thank you Lynne. I am so glad we have Jacinda to speak for us, she is inspiring. Sometimes it feels like drops in the ocean seen against the global backdrop and it’s good of you to remind me that the drops all add up – really appreciated today.

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  8. Pauline, I am so sorry that this horrific violence has torn through your beautiful world. I am glad that you have a leader you can look up to to get you through such a tragic and senseless time. Sending love from Arizona. XOXO

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  9. We here in Johannesburg were shocked and silent when the news broke. I can not express enough sincere thoughts to say how we think of those people and what has happened. It was a horrible event that has saddened many of us. It is not something that is overcome and forgotten, it is painful, and will hurt a long time. Take care, and all the best. Will be thinking of you. Hugs. xx

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  10. Pauline, this is a magnificent post. It is written from your heart. I can feel the emotion; and what strength is emanating from your country. You are showing the world how it can be done. That everyone is coming together is admirable, and something we can all emulate. It’s so sad it had to come to this, but if a greater good can come from it then those lives were not robbed in vain.
    I love the plan that you and your barista are hatching. That is a good thing too, and maybe the start of an open street culture that fosters inclusion everywhere. We can only hope. We have little free libraries popping up everywhere. Why not little free neighbourhood hubs too, where everyone is welcome. Pauline, you and your country are showing the way. Let’s all follow your lead.

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    • Oh yes Norah, wouldn’t that be wonderful! It’s not like there isn’t enough empty shop spaces around these days…… And I do hope everyone looks here and sees how things can be done and follows. There are rumours Jacinda will be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize and in recent hours some petition or other has been started up and already has over over 20 000 signatures. I do hope she is acknowledged in that way, the whole country would feel we really have made a difference!

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      • Oh, yes, Pauline, wouldn’t that be wonderful. And how marvellous that she is a woman. She demonstrates that strength and clear decision-making can go hand-in-hand with compassion. She’s got my vote! You show us, New Zealand!

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  12. This must’ve been such a difficult post to write but you did an amazing job, of communicating the heartbreak but also the hope that can come from tragedy. People *are* good, mostly, and you’ve seen lots of examples and you are a perfect example yourself! I wish we could clone your Jacinda–the world (the US!) needs more like her. And I hope you find the coffee-loving refugee and help him find his place in your world . . .

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    • Thank you Kerry – it wasn’t easy to sit down and share my feelings in this way, but I’m glad I did. I feel like my blog which has been determinedly light hearted for many years has suddenly become quite sombre and serious. The up-swelling of compassion and determination in this country, which Jacinda represents so very well, needed to be shared I thought. There is hope, we can make the world a better place, we can be heard and make a difference. We can shine light into dark places……

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  13. My heart hurts for everyone. There really are no words to make this feel better.
    It’s taken me awhile to get here and read most of the comments too. I knew what I would find here from you and your readers. It’s the rampant insanity of the world that’s so distressing. Why are there so many so unwilling to accept differences in people. If we were all that way we’d all be eating the same bland food, day after day instead of pizza, Chinese, Thai or any of the other fascinating flavors of the world. Your PM handled this perfectly. I’m extra delighted that there is no mention of his name to give him notoriety. I hate that they give these nuts so much press. The victims deserve all the attention, not to crazy person. I’m sorry you are all dealing with this and feel like our orange man has given the world permission to be narcissistic racists. I’m meditating on more peace in the world. People coming together to bring this to an end. I know we can make it happen. I hope you find your man and he turns out to be a nice new friend. Siddy is a good icebreaker.

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    • Hi there Marlene. Thanks for diving in. I wasn’t sure I could write this post and even when it was finished I wasn’t sure I could publish it. But I think I need to stand up and be counted on this one – it hurts too much to be silent. My heart still breaks for our refugee people and Muslim people in general. In this country they were supposed to be safe. Many have been assaulted for years by racist remarks and the ugly people who dwell everywhere in this world of ours. And the first and most obvious light that has come out of the massacre is that some of us will not let the attacked endure this behaviour alone again. It appears there are more of us here than there are of the uglies and it appears that when we shine the uglies have to creep away – this is a lesson that is good to learn for it empowers us. I have been walking and creating circles of light as I walk, I have always enjoyed seeing the responses of random passers-by when I am doing my work, and right now I notice there is even more eyes drawn to us as we toddle along. No-one knows what I am doing, for there is nothing the eye can see. Only the energy field changes and attracts attention. I would love for more people to walk and spin light circles as they go. I imagine a world spun about with white circles created by love and what that might mean for all people.

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      • “Only the energy field changes and attracts attention.” Tell me more about this walking in circles. I think I could do it here as well if I fully understand how you are doing it.. I’m doing meditation morning and night now for healing of the planet and maybe even myself. You have inspired another great idea. You can always email to explain. I’d do whatever it takes to bring a sense of harmony and unity into the world.

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        • It’s quantum physics Marlene, just consciously working with the energy field around us, enlivening it and spreading it outwards, up and down in a big bubble as far as your pictorial imagination can take it. I call it ‘light spinning’ and have been experimenting with it for several years now, the scientist in me wants to see the evidence that it works. It does. I began to use it to keep my home safe, my neighbourhood calm, to protect my local park from vandalism. From there it spread wider as I walked to include wherever I went in my giant circle of light. When I’m walking and light spinning is when I notice the smiles and waves of passing motorists, the heart shapes that are made for the happy pup that trots beside me, the way people are attracted to us without knowing why. I watch how the sad lift their heads, the elderly perk up, the lonely seek us out for a smile and a chat. It is all the light. It takes practise and understanding of what you are doing, but is worth the effort and I would personally love for everyone in the world to start doing it – just to see what happens.

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  14. Pauline, we can always count on you to give words to our feelings. Thank you for that. I love your honesty and your ability to help me understand the chaos. Loved the story of your coffee man, and your wanting to engage in that tradition. It sounds like a great one! Go with that – it seems incredibly important.

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    • Yes, thanks for cheering me on with that Jodie – I woke up this morning and felt really strongly that was the way for us to go and I feel a great surge of excitement every time I think of it. You are right it is incredibly important. We can DO something real and tangible….. Happy Dance 🙂 ❤

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  15. Thank you for writing your grief and your hope and your inspired thoughts, so that we can share them with you. I was holding it together till I examined your drawing and it made me cry. I am not good at explaning my reaction to art, but it touched me through my walls. Thank you.

    Hearing this story on the news, and in particular the comments from Jacinda, I am filled with remorse for what the US has lost. We, too, had such a dramatic response to our first mass attacks by our own citizens. It shocked the whole nation. Today it’s so common that it barely comes up in discussion anymore. How I hope with all the hope I have that this remains a single horrible shocking event that is never repeated in New Zealand. How I hope that your country can be a beacon for the rest of the world, as the proper way to respond to terrorism.

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    • Crystal it is lovely to see you come by again and join in with your thoughts, I am grateful for them. It is true the US has led the way in how to act out of hatred if you are a damaged individual – the shooter here is clearly just a copycat of what has been done before in your country. No originality in his tiny brain for sure. But the response is strong and there is resolve and I love your hope and join with it – maybe this little island nation can light the way for the rest of the world. We did it with the vote for women, we did it with our anti-nuclear stance, we did it against apartheid, maybe we can do it with gun removal and embracing refugees and eradicating racism. It might sound vaguely obnoxious or airy-fairy but really, I wouldn’t be surprised if we can. Thank you so much for sharing your response to the drawing – I’m slowly working on it and feel quite inspired to carry on with such a warm response.

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  16. Beautifully written Pauline. I so hope you find that man again, so he may play checkers with Jared.
    And your Jacinda. Oh, for leader like her! She comes across so well. Strength and humility. She will rally her country, no doubt about it.

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    • Hi Jenny, lovely to see you here – how are you? I’ve been out this morning and couldn’t find him – but that’s okay, I’ve had an idea…… Jacinda is the perfect person to be our PM right now. She embodies all the feminine principles of inclusivity and compassion and social awareness that our world stands in so much need of – with good sense and an ability to stay unruffled. We are well aware of how fortunate we are. Even people who didn’t vote for her and who don’t agree with her political manifesto necessarily are saying they are glad she is our leader. I think that is quite something!

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  17. A lovely example to us all to stand up. Well done you and Jared and hope you find Mr Coffee Man.
    Separately I looked at the proposed gun law changes Ms Arden has promulgated and I must say, if I’ve understood them right, I’m disappointed in them and her. Why have hand guns not been banned? As a result of the awful tragedy at Dunblane school in the 1990s and frankly too late given it followed the Hungerford massacre in 1987 we in the UK (though unbelievably not Northern Ireland) banned most weaponery including handguns (prettty much leaving shotguns and rifles as the only legal guns which are used for sport of pest control and I must say I wonder at some of this still) so the only people who can be licensed to carry handguns are police or in the forces. You can’t even be an internationally recognised pistol expert shooting in the Olympics and keep your gun in theUK. Any British athlete will keep their handguns in Holland. So gun clubs cannot hold them. Which to me makes sense. They are designed to kill people. Period. Ok firing them accuratley is a high skill but if someone here wants to find out if they have what it takes they go abroad. As with her predecessors your PM could have already banned the weapons this terrorist held legally. She didn’t. Probably didn’t give it a thought. Neither did her predecessors. And she’s reacted commendably fast but is anyone asking why she’s not gone the whole hog? Why only now? Anything that can happen in one western liberal democracy can happen elsewhere. Most London bridges now have crash protection to stop weaponised vehicles being created. Another case of after the event protection given what happens in France and Germany before it happened here. If I was in NZ I’d be asking a few searching questions of my political class. PS. Right now I’d be happy to swap PMs natch.

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    • This is such a thought provoking response Geoff – thanks so much for sharing your knowledge. I know why she hasn’t gone ‘the whole hog’ right now – and there are lots of us watching closely to ensure the hog is taken down completely and in good time. Jacinda heads a coalition government, she is bedfellows with a most unlikely partner and, for action to be taken, must always carry him along with her on major decisions. He’s a self aggrandizing professional right-wing politician (imo only you understand) and she does a superb job of keeping him in line and amenable to her left leaning intentions. It also had to be legislation that the opposition would not stand opposed to. The Police Commissioner has also made it clear that while you can still apply for an E class license you probably shouldn’t bother as none will be given out. This is while further amendments to the gun laws that will have opposition go on. A friend of mine, a courier, who listens to Talk Back radio while working, has told me this morning that there is a whole new ethos on that platform that has really surprised him. Disruptors and hate spreaders are being ‘taken down’ quickly and efficiently by other callers. Compassion, resolve and personal awakenings seem to be the order of the day. People are talking about being aware of how they habitually act, speak and think – this has also come up in some of my conversations. It seems like as a nation many of us are self monitoring – maybe for the first time. People are asking what can I do to help this situation, to ensure it never happens again. 15000 guns have already been voluntarily handed in and unlicensed. Some are fudging the paperwork but the police seem to have a good handle on who and where. One of the advantages of living in a population of less than 5 million is it’s pretty hard to hide especially if you are already known. I love that the UK has made their guns another country’s problem. Will that situation still hold in a couple of weeks? We have a slight difficulty with sending things off-shore – it’s an expensive three hour plane flight to the nearest country who might not be that amenable to us using them as our weapons storage system. I am in total agreement with you though, why we need any guns at all is completely beyond me. I don’t see it as a right at all and think those who do are really wilfully ignorant, obtuse and thick headed. Our police don’t carry guns, we have the ‘Armed Defenders Squad’ which is mobilised when necessary – and I don’t think they had time to put on their jackets before this last event came to a screaming halt. Now I have to run off and have a skype catch up with some friends – thanks Geoff, I’m going to read your comment again later and make notes 🙂

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      • Thank you Pauline and of course my pontificating is immediately undermined by reports today that semi automatic pellet guns designed to look like AK 47s can be bought here on line and in dealerships and adapted to fire up to ten rounds. The Home Office is ‘looking’ at them but with all the energy sapped by Brexit they might just as well wear them as earrings for all the notice that will be taken. Thanks also for the political insights re the current coalition. Baby steps then as another commentator said. Not sure the ‘making guns another’s problem’ is entirely fair mind. Those guns can’t be bought or used here. The fact the Dutch are more liberal and allow acquisition and storage is a Dutch issue. But still there are loopholes and both of us need to harry our respective governments to do better. So despite minor differences it looks like we’re on the same page and saddened this even has to be a discussion point?

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        • One of the darker sides of on-line shopping I guess would be the ability to get your hands on anything that isn’t legally available. I did put my tongue firmly in my right cheek with the sideswipe about guns and making them another country’s problem – sorry, couldn’t resist that one. See, I’m not always as kind as my dear friends here think I am 🙂 I’ve got this whole thing going on that it’s really not the guns that are the problem – it’s the entire culture of ignorance and conservatism and hard-line religionists. It’s the whole ‘I’m right and you’re wrong’ stance of organised religions. It’s the education system and the way we raise or don’t raise children. It’s especially so that those who ought not be raising children are still doing so and making more bent and unhappy people to populate the world. It’s the medical system that insists on pharmaceutical therapy instead of emotional therapy, education, understanding and release from having been raised damaged. It’s cultural hardliners, nationalism, patriotism, cultural indoctrination, lack of travel. An education system that no longer educates. Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera!! But until we fix all those issues, we have to make sure those people who are the results of those aforementioned issues can’t act out their personal self hatred on society randomly. Here ends today’s rant xo

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    • Good points and questions, for sure. But from where I stand (New Jersey, USA) this is an inspirational response by Pauline’s “Jacinda.”

      We would be happy for a tiny gun law. Baby steps. Looking for perfection right off is just too much to ever hope for. I am awed by this common sense response to an unforgivable crime.

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    • I still get a thrill of excitement about the thought of a coffee street culture. Oddly this area where I live and which I have never liked is exactly the right area to do it in ……… Please don’t weep for us, send us light, it’s all we need.

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  18. Thank you for this post. It is wonderful to see how New Zealand and her people are coming together and working for a greater good. Unfortunately the US is far behind such enlightenment. New Zealand gives me hope for what could be and should be. Your country and its people are true leaders in the world gone mad.

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    • One of the advantages I guess of being so far from anywhere else is that we are pretty much left alone. Most people don’t even know where we are for heavens sake. And there was recently a tongue in cheek campaign to get New Zealand on the world map when it was discovered that the country was actually absent from maps being sold in the UK and America and in some maps on display in official places – I forget where now. Jacinda joined Rhys Darby in an ‘advertisement’ that got a bit of YouTube air time. We thought it was funny – now I’m not so sure. I wonder though how many folks might hear about recent events and go looking at a map to find where this ‘NZ’ is and not be able to track us down. Vanished like the island on ‘Lost’ 🙂

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  19. A beautiful post of sadness, hope, and strength, Pauline. We each have it within us to make a positive difference, even if it’s only by reaching out to one person in friendship. New Zealand is so far ahead of the US, but I have hope that we will get there too. Blessings to you, to all those who are suffering, and to those you will build a kinder future. ❤

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  20. I teach grade 7 (ages 12,13). Monday morning when we returned after the March Break I called the students together for circle time. Circle time is a tool we use for checking in, solving problems, assessing learning. This time it was an open topic, you could talk about whatever you liked. Amid all the kinds of things you’d hear from children this age (I had a sleep over, I went skating with friends, I plan to hand in my assignments on time this term) this one boy said that something terrible had happened in New Zealand and he reported what he knew. We had a minute of silence right then for the victims.

    That dissonance is jarring to me. That children’s conversation should be punctuated by this ugly thing. But I write to tell you that this is in the thoughts of the people in Room 20.

    Something that will stay with me from your post is “we had just driven a racist from his comfortable seat”.

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    • Jackie thank you for sharing this. I understand your feelings about the dissonance too. I was a teacher and hated to see and hear when the ugliness of the world crept into childhood. Puberty however is the age when it is important to acknowledge the world is not always beautiful but we are not powerless in the face of that. It sounds to me like you handled it really perfectly. Please tell your students from me we here are grateful for any kind thoughts they send us and especially those for our immigrant people who have been so cruelly targeted. Teaching about other cultures was always part of my programme and while I know the old ‘social studies’ has been expunged from the curriculum in favour of technology and other corporate driven subjects it really is time to bring it back.

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      • True, about puberty being an age when they begin to care deeply about what happens in the world around them. They can’t hide from the realities, neither can I shield them, not in the digital era anyway. A big focus for us is empathy, tolerance, respect for differences. I’ll let them know that their thoughts about this tragedy matter.

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    • Jackie, I agree that it is sad that children are forced to think about such an ugly thing, but it does remind me of how much love and tolerance I have noticed in children and young adults – far more advanced than when I was a child. You remind me that our future is very bright when these young people get the chance to run the world.

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  21. I am so sorry that you had to write this splendid post, Pauline. I thought of you even before the Dunedin connection appeared on our TV. Jacinda Ardern stands very tall among world leaders.
    I do hope you find your man. Any idea where he bought his coffee? Your drawing is excellent

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  22. I was just reading, this morning, an account by a woman who used to be a moderator for Facebook. She says that her view of people has changed beyond measure after having to read the hateful things written online. She can’t do the job any more as it has affected her so badly and she now finds it difficult to trust people as these comments are written by people who we probably encounter in our everyday lives and appear ‘normal’. I can well believe it as, after my daughter sent me a clip of, what appeared to be a road rage incident involving a knife in London close to where she was living at the time, I foolishly read the comments beneath which were filled with hatred and vicious racist views and they upset me more than the incident itself. Who are these people? These racist/homophobic/misogynistic rants are being shared freely online and must encourage those who want to express their hatred in more than just words. What’s to be done?
    I was pleased to read your post as it was a welcome reminder that the vast majority of people are not like that and want to help prevent such an outrage happening again.
    xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • One of the reasons I left Facebook was the unchecked rantings of the trolls – I can’t be doing with that kind of ugliness in my life. I don’t read any comments except on blogs I follow now – they are all written by sane and good people 🙂 The uglies leave such an unpleasant feeling don’t they – it’s a reality that they hurt deeply, far more than all the kind and caring comments build us up. It’s time for us vast majority to stand up and take charge. xo

      Liked by 3 people

  23. What a beautiful post, straight from the heart. I think the way New Zealand has responded to such an awful act of terrorism is so dignified and compassionate and the recognition that guns are not more important than people. It reminds me of the aftermath of the Dunblane school shooting here in Scotland, the need for action to reduce the risk of it ever happening again. I hope you find your coffee mate soon, it’s a lovely response to focus on love instead of hate 💗

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you for coming by and commenting again. I remember the Dunblane event, it seems like a long time ago now – so glad to hear you guys took action too. I’m going to do some door knocking to see if I can find my man again.

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  24. Very much enjoyed reading this heartfelt post and of your kindness to the elderly man with the coffee mug. It was on the news of Asian countries where elderly would take the long ride on subways to get to a park and spend all day there. Just to be around others and people watch, rather than stay at home. This post made me think of that news story.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That is so sad isn’t it – I know there are some lonely elderly here too. I feel sad too for the people who are immigrants and refugees. The language barrier can be so immense, the culture is different, even the weather is different. I think often of what it must be like for them – especially the older ones. Sometimes all we can do is offer a smile and a friendly face. Thank you for sharing your thoughts here today.

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  25. My heartfelt condolences for all your country has experienced. It has made me and my family here in Denver, Colorado sad as well. But the response of Jacinda and the New Zealand people have brought hope and a courage to face this tragedy without the rhetoric and division we have in the US. Well done, New Zealand; your light shines in the darkness. I am so sorry though. It is a great tragedy.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hello and thank you for your kind words, thank you for caring, thank you for coming and sharing your thoughts. We have had tragedies here before, but nothing like this – this is the world coming in on us. You are correct, it is a great tragedy. I am glad to hear that our light is shining though, I am so pleased that we can do this. As a nation we can’t accept, we won’t be passive. We can stand in silent vigil with our lights and hold our ground. And we do. I shall visit you soon.

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  26. What a beautiful easy you have written, Pauline. I am in deep admiration for your country’s leadership and action and hope that it will stand as an example. Maybe you’re right that this is the beginning of the fight back. I do hope so. Your drawing is really lovely as well. I look forward to seeing it in its various stages toward completion–and take heart in the fact that something horrible can be transformed through creativity into art.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Well, thank you Lisa, you made me feel pleased with myself 🙂 I like to think that we will all stand up and be counted – that bringing light to the fore will drive back the darkness. There’s this great story of Mother Teresa (apocryphal or not) who, on being asked to join in with an anti-war march, declined but went on to say that when they held a march for peace she would gladly be there. She clearly understood the law of attraction and like her I think we need to be more aware of how we use language, how we form our thoughts and even what we choose to think about and what we choose to talk about. I saw it work in Jared’s rotisserie really clearly. I too hope I can do something worthwhile with that drawing – eeek, no pressure 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  27. You are a light in this dark moment. Thank you for being you. The light will overcome the dark. It will take a while here (and everywhere), but I believe it to be so. I love the story about “Ciddy.” That made me smile. 🙂
    Still holding everyone in my heart.

    Liked by 2 people

  28. A heartfelt post, Pauline. I had no idea that the terrorist had once moved about your neighborhood. I love the tribute of inclusiveness in your artwork in progress. There’s a sadness and longing in their faces.

    I hope that the gentleman with the coffee cup has found company with whom to share his morning coffee. I experienced a similar sense of loss when I moved here from Brazil to the USA, where my neighbors rarely, if ever, gather outdoors with their kids and chat with each other.

    Liked by 1 person

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