Well that's one less horrible and deadly thing to have in our faces.
The decision of the Christchurch gunman – he can be safely named, it's just that I can't be bothered – to change his plea of not guilty to guilty of the March 15 mosque killings has saved everyone having to put up with the black little farce of his appearance in a High Court trial. How was he ever going to deny it? What stupid tactic had he intended?
The presumption of innocence is a blessed thing in a civilised society and worth protecting at any costs. Justice Simon Moore noted that at the end of his magnificent speech at the sentencing of the wretch who was found guilty last month of the murder of Grace Millane.
But this was different. This was a mass slaughter in broad daylight and there could be no defence, no mitigating circumstance.
Strange that he chose Thursday of all days to make his announcement. Day one of the nationwide lockdown, New Zealand barricaded indoors, a moment in history that will always be remembered. The gunman's decision will hardly even count as a footnote. He was always an insignificant sonofab***h, a supreme waste of space.
But it was weird and unsettling to be reminded of one of the darkest days in New Zealand history – very well, the very darkest, for a lot of people – just as we began the first day of our fight against the greatest threat to life on these islands.
The plague strikes terror into every house. The gunman was a terrorist who killed 51 people and traumatised many more. The plague has the potential to kill and traumatise even greater numbers. Neither act of terror is a matter of statistics and it's not as though the plague somehow reduces the impact or awfulness of the gunman's rampage.
I would have gone to the trial. It's the sort of thing I write about, along with reviewing The Bachelorette. I would have relished the opportunity to witness a piece of history but really I wasn't looking forward to it.
I would have loved to have been alive to report on the Nuremberg trials, to see the apparatus of the Nazi regime patiently and beautifully dismantled in a court of law; but the Christchurch gunman, even though he had various links with various sympathisers and seething bands of idiots, was going to be the only one in the dock and he wasn't, in himself, a fascinating individual.
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A brief note on this story and its author. I write these remarks as a journalist and as someone who was born here and has lived here all my life. That's all I bring to the table. None of this makes me especially qualified to comment.
Those who survived March 15, their family, the first responders, the Islamic community – these are the people whose lives were directly affected by the news of the gunman's change of plea, and they are the voices who we most need to hear. I write this merely as a kind of aside.
But most of us only remotely experienced the terror of March 15, and we all have something to say about what goes on in the place where we all live.
And now we're all directly and intimately experiencing the terror of the plague. We just have to do the right thing – something about staying at home, right? – and wait it out.
Wait for the 28 days to be ticked off, and see if we're allowed outside, and return to whatever work and services are left for us to earn our keep. Wait for the plague to lose its strength. Wait for release. Wait for autumn to turn into winter.
The gunman's trial had been set down for June; at least we don't have to wait for that, and to hear whatever bulls**t he had to say in court. One terror at a time. One day at a time.
The future is looking a little bit brighter than it was when we woke up on Thursday morning.