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Sunday
Mar312019

Time to Reflect!

I have avoided any comment, or involvement with the events of Friday 15 March. What else is there really to say – so many commentators clearly consider that they have something to add that makes sense whereas I have nothing to add that makes any sense.

But I can’t escape that easily, having already made reference to the 'underbelly' of right-wing racist groups and individuals who have quietly enjoyed succor and even association within our midst. These people are but a symptom of what is a deep-seated and hidden  malady. When it was obvious, we have often ignored, or walked around it, and diminished its importance, or even poisonous effect.

Now we are faced with a painful analysis on both a national basis that will inevitably bring about a confrontation between authority, and those who will defend their gun rights to the last, and within our own personal sphere – a challenge that may be even more painful.

It behooves everyone – particularly those who seek to record events and opinions to just hold-horses, and reflect on the immediate, and long-term effects of free-form musings, no matter however well intentioned.

I was reminded of this this week when I read another Pattrick Smellie Stuff article drawing attention to “Facebook’s Intolerable Insult To New Zealand After Mosque Shootings.” It is not so much the apparent willful refusal of Facebook, (and others) to accept responsibility, that no-one can deny, but his opportunistic shot across the bows of the Anti-1080 movement as part of the pro-gun lobby .

It is not as if those of us who are determinedly pro-1080 have any desire to see the no doubt well-intentioned contrary views promoted, but to deliberately conflate them with what occurred on 15 March is self-defeating, and wrong. 1080, fluoride, mangroves – they are all issues that inspire passion, and are worthy of reasoned debate – not vilification, and the kind of ‘guilt by association’ that Pattrick Smellie has indulged in while attempting to corral all the groups that he suggests now warrant surveillance.

Here is the quote from his article:

"Yet even as Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was making her first comments on gun reform last Saturday morning, people travelling to the Womad music festival in New Plymouth were confronted by a bridge in the city festooned not only with anti-1080 signs, but also with placards carrying web addresses for the alt-right QAnon movement.

This is the far-right rumour mill that peddles a claim that Hillary Clinton was part of a global paedophile ring, that philanthropist George Soros, who is Jewish, is part of a plot with Barack Obama to stage a coup against United States President Donald Trump, and that North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un is a CIA plant.

In QAnon’s world, special counsel Robert Mueller is secretly investigating all this on Trump’s behalf. The Rothschilds are in on it too, according to this common-or-garden variety anti-Semitic nincompoopery.

QAnon, which has had no presence in New Zealand but has traction as a pro-Trump vehicle in the US, dismisses attacks such as last Friday’s as “false-flag” incidents organised by the Clinton/Soros/Obama cabal."

For this experienced journalist to draw these conclusions from a “reported” sighting of the signs is irresponsible, and unprofessional. Without photographic evidence proving their existence, and their supposed linkage, the report is meaningless, and his conclusions likewise. The story should have been spiked by any responsible editor.

I don’t carry any brief for what I have referred to in the past as anti-1080 ‘nutters,’ and In particular, I regard their Nelson lawyer – Sue Grey’s promoting of their dubious claims in social media live streams as a legitimate means to liberate thousands of multiplied posts as deplorable, and dangerous. (RNZ Morning Report interview) But that does not warrant the blanket of suspicion being thrown by Pattrick Smellie in this article, and elsewhere over the entire movement that has many committed followers with honestly held, and utterly non-violent beliefs.  

Everyone just needs to ‘cool it,’ and approach the forthcoming Royal Commission with an element of common sense, and justice if the beating heart of this democracy is to be preserved. .

 

 

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Reader Comments (1)

Hi Bill, Well said. I was offended by Pattrick Smellie's vilification of a whole social movement, and as you say, he provided no evidence for his claims that the white supremacist signs indicated a "declaration " by the anti-1080 movement of its adoption of the pro-trump racist conspiracy cult. Stuff afforded me the opportunity to write a response, provided I did not discuss the pros & cons of 1080, and other guidelines, which I was careful to follow. Yet they changed the emphasis of my article and broke their own guidelines when they attached the headline to my article " Lets talk about 1080". My title was "Dogwhistle Journalism and Fanning the Flames of Fear". I agree with you that Smellie's story "should have been spiked by any responsible editor". It wasn't just the "guilt by association" , it was putting out the idea that people opposed to 1080 aerial poisoning would have to be surveilled to "prevent another Christchurch style massacre." That smearing was just repugnant only 6 days after the terrorist atrocity.My reponse article here: https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/opinion-analysis/111597596/we-are-challenging-the-use-of-1080-and-we-are-a-broad-church

I am getting sick of all the negative propaganda directed against NZ citizens who have different and well-researched views about conservation and the dependence on poisons. There is a conference coming up this weekend with some highly qualified presenters: "Shifting from Poisons to Ecology". Check out the programme here: www.floraandfaunaaotearoa.co.nz

April 1, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterStephanie McKee

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