15.03.18 - NZ's darkest day

I didn’t really know what to write when I posted these photos, but I knew I wanted to write something.

These photos were taken early on Sunday morning, less than 48 hours after the horrific tragic mass shooting that happened just down the road from where I work.

Not that I want this to be all about me, because it’s not, but I want to write about my experience during the mass shooting and after because it actually effected me quite a bit.

I went to the Botanic Gardens, where this flower memorial is, again on Monday morning with a few people from work and the amount of flowers and tributes had quadrupled. I will attach those photos further down this post.

Here at work, a lot of us found out about the shooting before it even hit breaking news. One of the part-timers was walking to her car when she heard the shots rattle off. She said it went for longer than a minute, constant shots firing off. She thought maybe it was fireworks or something, but in her gut she knew that it was not right and that something really, really dark was unfolding just down the road from her.

She came rushing back to work to tell us what she had heard, she knew it wasn’t safe out there and ishe was right.

The Newshub team confirmed someone was shooting randomly down Deans Ave (Just around the road from work, near where we park our cars.) But they had very little information, and had no idea the size of the horrific event, nor that it was a despicable hate crime toward those who have made a home in our country.

Within 15 minutes of the part-timer telling us the news, and us finding out that something pretty serious was going on, we were in lock down and it was confirmed that people were dead.

Being in lock down was weird, and it was scary. We had the TV and talkback radio on, listening to updates. We were scared as we were fueled by rumours and facts. There were bombs here, a shooter here, another shooter here. Sirens were all around us. Police cars flew passed with huge rifles on their laps. Ambulances, more than we could count, would zoom past our work - on their way to try and save victims.

It was horrific.

We got to leave work a while later once it was confirmed the lone terrorist had been arrested.

Hearing the facts of what happened, hearing from those who experienced firsthand the wrath of the disgusting terrorist and hearing the heroic stories that came from the attack, didn’t really sink in until the next day. I spent hours on my phone on Saturday night reading every article, every tweet. It really hit me hard.

The next morning, after a sleepless night, I headed to pay my respects at both the Deans Ave cordon and the memorial at the Botanic Gardens. I was by myself and I tried my hardest to fight back tears but I just couldn’t. I still can’t one week later.

Everytime I read an article about victims of the attack, positive or not, I well up. I don’t think that is going to stop either.

I feel so badly for these victims and their families.

I remember how scared and confused I was. I could only imagine their feelings were magnified by at least 10.

And one thing that really sticks out for me and gets me right in the feels, is how positive the Muslim community is. They aren’t angry, and if they are they don’t show it. They are full of out-pouring love. They are so thankful for the support they have been receiving. They

From this, I have learnt the Islam is a beautiful religion. I’ve learnt all sorts of things I never would about Muslims and their customs.