March 15 was a turning point in the history of the ancient Roman Empire and also of the modern nation of New Zealand. On that day in 44 B.C., known to ancient Romans as the Ides of March, Julius Caesar was assassinated on the steps of the Senate in Rome.
Two millennia later, on March 15, 2019, New Zealand— the serenely peaceful “land of the long white cloud” as its indigenous Maori people call it—exploded onto the world’s consciousness as the scene of blood-chilling violence.
In a rampage targeting Muslims, a gunman opened fire on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand’s largest city, killing 50 people and wounding another 49 who were at prayer. It was the worst mass shooting in the country’s history.