There is a problem revealing itself in the countries of the so called west which is becoming a bit of a Catch 22 for them. Technological progress is increasing the power of the individual. This is being shown in a myriad of ways but two of the most visible are in gun control and control of the Internet.
Both of these are playing out in New Zealand at the moment in the aftermath of the Christchurch Shootings.
I won’t go into the details of the Christchurch Shootings themselves as I am sure everybody knows about them but what has happened is that one person has managed to kill 50 people using illegally modified weapons that were bought legally. Think about that. One person with the help of technology and a little know how now has the power to kill 50 people.
That is insane and the government of New Zealand automatically did the only thing they thought they could which is promise greater gun control. I don’t know if that will work. It might sound like a good idea but then the New Zealand government thought it was a good idea to allow the intelligence services almost free reign in spying in order to protect people from terrorism and that obviously hasn’t worked either. The shooter was on no list according to Police.
The other thing the shooter did was live stream his video on Facebook. New Zealand started censoring sites as soon as they could, 4chan, 8chan, Mega, Kiwi Farms, etc… and yet again it didn’t work. Facebook says they stopped the video one and a half million times yet the video is still out there and relatively easy to get.
This will no doubt lead to increased clampdowns and censorship of the Internet in New Zealand so that it will never happen again. But it will. And the only answer the governments of the west have is to further clamp down on their citizens. And the greater they clamp down the more upset people become with the new rules. The more technology progresses the greater the power of the individual to break those rules.
To illustrate the power that technology gave to this individual compare it to 9/11. Roughly 3000 people died on 9/11 and in 2001 there were roughly 300,000,000 people in the U.S. New Zealand has a population of about 5,000,000 and lost 50 people. This means, in terms of population, the incident caused by 1 individual in New Zealand caused the same amount of deaths as 19 hijackers in 2001.
To make it worse, in 2001 most people watched on television from an observers point of view. This time people watched from a participants point of view.
I don’t know what the New Zealand government should do. I think, however, that the increasing restrictions placed on currently law abiding citizens will force more and more of them into becoming non law abiding citizens and won’t stop the tragedies. It is possible that in the future the only way to retain the basic freedoms in democracies will be to accept loss of life in order to keep them. That is horrific. We don’t seem to be able to protect our own people without loosing who we are.