Archive for the ‘Avenues of Harm’ Category

Overkill In Taser Death Or…

The tragic death of Brazilian Roberto Laudision Curti this year at the hands of police suggests the officers acted well beyond the guidlelines and were responsible for the student’s death. In fact the Coroner went further to say the police acted thuggishly and like wild ‘Lord of the Flies’ schoolboys with a pack mentality.  I have no doubt they did get caught up in the heat of the moment. Perhaps they had copped hours of abuse earlier in the shift from other yobs?

While I would never condone excessive force it must be remembered the police didn’t take the LSD for Curti that set him off. They didn’t steal two packets of biscuits from the convenience store or report it as an armed robbery. While I agree Curti was of little if any risk to the public or himself, he knowingly and willingly took LSD, a prohibited drug. He broke the law on purpose, to give himself a ‘high’. He is responsble for putting himself in a position of vulnerability and high risk. Whenever you are under the influence of a drug, be it alcohol or even legal medication, you need to be aware the risk of something happening of an adverse nature is increased.

Curti should not have taken LSD and if he had not then he would not have been paranoid and stolen biscuits and ran around frightening people. He is responsible for his actions even though the officers involved are responsible for theirs and their actions led to his death. While no doubt he was loved and lovely, he died a drug crazed thief and no amount of trying to transfer responsibility to the police will change that. Curti is not entirely blameless but he has, no question, paid far too high a price for his choices.

Car Boot Sale Carnage

This morning the wife and I were at the Blacktown Drive-In car boot sale markets. We were two stalls away when a car suddenly accelerated from where it was parked, tore across the crowd milling around the stall and drove through the stall and into a parked van. At first we thought there was a woman trapped underneath but fortunately it was only a shoe from the items on sale, spread on the ground in front of the van.

The driver was in shock and so too the man he had hit and the little boy, bleeding from a cut to his temple. It was a close run thing that could have ended in a tragic fatality or two. I administered first aid to the boy, sitting in his father’s arms and determined he was not concussed or otherwise seriously injured. I was more concerned for his father who kept saying how it happened so fast and he was only able to pull one of his two boys to safety. He was distraught that he couldn’t stop the car from hitting his other son. I empathised with him completely, I have five children and would have been in a worse situation. He didn’t have time to decide which lad to save, it was all instinctive reaction, yet no doubt he will suffer over this incident and feel he failed his son and his family in some way.

With all the casualties being monitored by someone and the young stall holder doing an admirable job in keeping the roadway clear I moved off to a where I was able to direct the first police officers arriving on foot to the scene, then the first ambulance. Both arrived within five to ten minutes which is pretty good considering we were at the farthest boundary of the drive-in. I could hear sirens from other emergency vehicles and moved up to the exit gate where I was able to intercept the fire rescue truck and send them straight down the exit road to the scene, saving them having to wend their way through the crowded car park from the entry gate.

By now there were several police units, four ambulances and three fire rescue teams on the scene and as I didn’t actually witness the crash, I had just heard it and the screams of those who did witness the accident, I felt there was nothing to gain by adding to the crowd and we left. In hindsight I could perhaps have taken a more active role, marshalling the crowd, organising a triage for the injured and segregating witnesses and those involved from the rubber neckers… but I didn’t. I chose not to ‘take control’ of the scene for several reasons, one of which is that I wanted to observe what happened next rather than make it happen.

I didn’t think anyone was in immediate peril or had sufficient life threatening injuries that weren’t being given appropriate immediate assistance. The writer in me took over and I wanted to document the event in my head, yet when I saw the 8 year old boy bleeding and cradled in his father’s arms with his family crowding around and nobody seeming to know what to do next I just instinctively stepped in to help and away it went from there. The old Military Police training kicked in and I couldn’t help myself.

Should I have done more from the beginning? What duty do we have to involve ourselves in such incidents? Is it right to think well there are plenty of other people around and as I was not directly involved, why me? It wasn’t my car, my stall, my family or anyone I knew from a bar of soap. But what if it had been my family? Different story then. Very different story. I am only glad my kids were safe at home and my wife was beside me at the time.

The Cruellest Cut

10 year old girl taken to a barber shop in Egypt for female genital mutilation. Photo CNN

Some years ago I wrote a short story titled ‘The Cruellest Cut’ in response to learning about the despicable practise of female genital mutilation, also known as female circumcision. In the news today is a report how two young girls, aged around 6, have suffered this outrage here in Sydney. As the report says, this is not about religion, rather it is a cultural thing. The cultures where it is prevalent are misogynistic, medieval and have no place in modern-day Australian society. Period. I would have thought it was the purview of the low IQ, low socio-economic elements of various African and Middle Eastern societies but I am wrong. Even educated, upscale members of these communities support this mutilation.

Not here! Not in this country! You are not welcome in our society, we have no place for such ridiculous practices or those who seek such abuse. How can they say they love their children if they are so adamant that removing the clitoris of a pre-pubescent girl is for her own good? What other bizarre ideas and practices do they support? I’m sorry but this is one cultural anomaly I can never respect nor condone to occur in our country. I would never presume to travel to their country and try and change such a practise despite my objection to it. I believe people have the right to behave as they wish within their own orders and I object to anyone coming to my country and imposing their beliefs and laws on us which is fair, surely? So take your evil ways and bugger off, mate! If that is your ‘thing’, go back to where you came from and stay there.

Hug Your Kids

A toddler in the UK fell onto a pencil and had it lodged in her brain through the eye socket. Fortunately the eye was not damaged and the pencil was removed in a four hour operation. Forget running with scissors, this is a pencil! I know the pen is mightier than the sword but I think in this case, the child is very lucky to not be dead or permanently disabled. The child’s mother is a nursery nurse and knew enough to not try and remove the pencil. I can only begin to imagine her distress and the distress of the child. Keeping the kid from grabbing at the pencil would have been a job and a half. I have five girls, including one who is 2 and I know how we felt when she caught her toe in the treadmill and lost some skin.

I have also been dead and brought back to life by the skill of a surgical team made up of dedicated professionals like the one that saved this little girl’s life. Those people don’t accept almost, nearly or close enough. They go for 100% each and every time they scrub up. If anyone deserves to make $75 million dollars a year like Tom Cruise allegedly did in 2011, it is people like these and not actors and artists,no matter how talented. Definitely not politicians and certainly not people who inherit their wealth through the exploitation of the resources and mineral wealth that belongs to the nation.

Let’s keep things in perspective, people. Next time you watch some asinine un-reality show, think of the people who are really talented, really dedicated and really making a difference to the quality of all our lives. We can’t all be surgeons and theatre nurses, ambulance officers and even hospital catering and cleaners as all play a vital part. But we can be aware that losing weight, fixing up old houses, dancing singing, cooking and behaving badly on camera are not the pinnacles of human achievement.

Go home, hug your kids, hope they never need brain surgery and try and keep them away from the glass toilet in the lounge room. Remember, just because they call it ‘free-to-air’ doesn’t mean it is worth airing.

Electricity Makes Life Easier

An 80 year old woman in South Carolina was tasered by police when they tried to calm her down. She was naked and quoting passages from the Bible, grounds for excessive force in my book. (kidding) I always give the cop on the spot the benefit of the doubt but in this case I have trouble accepting it was necessary to risk using umpteen million volts on an octogenarian lady swinging a metal topped cane. There were several officers present and it wasn’t like she had a gun. I know how lethal a walking stick can be, I teach the use of one in self defence but that also means I know the limitations of the weapon. Surely she could have been disarmed and wrestled to the ground? Even capsicum spray would be less risky than the Taser.

Many opponents of the stun gun have cited numerous incidences where much younger and seemingly stronger offenders have died after being tasered. Of course they should obey the instructions of the police but if they are mentally disturbed as no doubt this woman was then they wont listen to reason no matter who gives the orders. I accept the Taser is a good substitute for firearms in many situations and it fills the gap between batons, pepper sprays and bullets. But too many may resort to it simply to simplify the situation. What do you think? Should they have zapped the old bible bashing biddy in her birthday suit?

Thirty Cents

In the UK a young woman was refused a bus ride home from a night out because she was 20p, about thirty cents, short. The bus driver refused to let her ride for less than the full fare and no one on the bus offered to help her out. This was the last bus of the night, just a few weeks before Christmas. As she walked along the road towards a meeting point arranged with her mother via cellphone, she was dragged into a park and raped and beaten by a 19 year old piece of scum called Joseph Moran. When the woman was found by police at 4am they were able to arrest Moran shortly after. The photo clearly shows he didn’t have things all his own way and the brave young woman fought back as best she could. She did not go gently into that good night!

Moran is behind bars and hopefully getting the kind of attention he deserves from some of the other inmates. The woman has not been named but if she ever reads this blog, I hope she takes some comfort in the fact that her bravery and courage to fight back and to pursue her attacker through the courts until some kind of justice has been achieved has not gone unnoticed across the world. Well done young lady.

As for those on the bus who refused to help… It is a sd reflection of our modern society. I offered to chip in a few cents to help a man who was trying to buy a loaf of bread, allegedly for his kids because they hadn’t eaten and he was waiting for his unemployment money to come through. Yet when I offered to buy the loaf he went off at me and stormed out of the shop. I guess his kids went hungry. Would I offer to help someone like him again? Of course I would. None of us know if Life is about to deal us a hand that we find difficult to play.  Today at ALDI there was a little 2 year old girl running around looking for her parents. She wasn’t crying yet so I figured they weren’t far. I called out “Anyone lost a little Indian girl?” as she was obviously of Indian/Pakistani heritage. Her father was coming down the aisle and probably had seen her right as I called out. He gave me a withering look but so what? I have had my kids run off on me and I know how frantic you can become just seconds after they disappear. I will never let myself become involved in a James Bulger type situation for fear of speaking up and having people stare at me.

Earlier I had been in a carpark visiting a friend who was running a sausage sizzle to raise moeny for a literary magazine he is publishing. A young woman who had parked her car diagonally in the bay was reversing, straight into a large, white station wagon stopped by traffic behind her. She came within inches and was clearly not stopping when I yelled out ‘STOP!”. She and everything else in the carpark stopped, then she took fifteen attempts to reverse this tiny car out of the bay and drive off. It was scary to watch as she was not displaying L plates or even P plates, but was supposedly a licensed and experienced driver. Should I have yelled out? I think so. Although she is probably insured and it wasn’t my car she was about to hit, the fact remains it would have caused expense and complications for the owner of the whit car. why should he or she suffer because of this irresponsible and incompetent driver if my intervention might avoid a collision (which it did)?

Of course we have all heard too many accounts of Good Samaritans stepping in and getting beaten up or killed, but like a sailor going to sea, you pick your weather. Exercise some common sense and good judgment and think about what you are about to do. But don’t hesitate if the situation demands action right now. Remember James Bulger, may he rest in peace. If someone had done a little more, perhaps, just perhaps…

Faceless Victims of Crime

Rudy Eugene and his victim, Ronald Poppo

The other day in Florida, USA, a man was seen eating the face of another man. All of this took place on a bridge and a passing witness flagged down a police car. The officer ordered the man to stop eating the victim’s face but when he continued to ‘chow down’, as the Americans say, the officer shot him. When the offender then attacked the officer, another four or five rounds did the trick.

The offender was a black male with a history of violence, crime and drug use. No doubt someone along the way expected him to go off at some stage but not by cannibalism. It appears he was on a new, very psychotropic (I guess that’s the term) version of a methamphetamine or similar drug. Some will say well what do you expect, he’s black. The inference is that his offence is racially rooted yet the real cause is not genetic but social, surely? If it were because he was an African-American then how come a Nordic man has cut off the lips of his wife and eaten them specifically so they couldn’t be sewn back on? Not some drug crazed minority victim of a social system that pins down the less fortunate but a respected member of the faculty of one of Sweden’s top institutes of learning. So can we say it is because he is white? No, nor would we even think to apply that explanation. Yet many of us, if only deep in our sub-conscious, are all too willing to claim race as a reason when it comes to ‘minorities’. They may be minorities in our Anglo dominated countries for now, but one day it may be those of European heritage who are the minority. What then?

If we don’t play fair now while we have the whip hand, so to speak and conjuring up all sorts of colonial era imagery, how can we expect a fair go for ourselves and our kids and grand kids when ‘they’ are the most of us? It is similar to how we treat Muslim youth in our country. If we don’t try to accept them as Australians then they will not feel Aussie and so they will find it easier to disassociate themselves with the society in which they grew up and live and behave as the 7/7 Bombers did in the UK and commit the most heinous crimes against their own people. They may be loud, aggressive and speak with a funny accent, but perhaps that is an attempt to establish some kind of identity when they are not considered one thing or the other by the society their family came from or the one they now live in? Home grown terrorists, regardless of the cause or reason for the terror are more of a threat than being invaded by a foreign power or even being the target of a terrorist attack from abroad.

It isn’t easy to put our prejudices aside, especially those based on ethnicity. They are deeply rooted in our survival mechanisms because ever since the beginning of mankind, people from other tribes and places, especially those that looked different to you so you knew they weren’t ‘your people’, were potential threats to your very existence. Today we should be a little more sophisticated and rational, yet many of us aren’t. Put it down to ignorance, poor education, bad parenting and of course, the government, but the fact remains we all have our preferences and our prejudices about everything. The least we can do is identify and accept them, then perhaps we can work out which ones will be justified and keep us alive, and which ones will end up adding to the problem and not being a part of the solution.

Unrequited Love

A man who stabbed his girlfriend 26 times has been jailed for at least 11 years today. Read the article at the link then read on. Basically there are people out there who are mentally unstable. How else can you explain this kind of behaviour?  I was young once and I had loves and lost a few and never once did I think stabbing her 26 times then stabbing myself would sort things out.

Mental illness is the only rational explanation, otherwise we have to acknowledge that some people aren’t as good as others. By good I mean balanced, stable, smart, thinking whatever. I am so glad this nutter is Anglo-Celtic or whatever. A white, non-muslim, male heterosexual. If he were anything else the loonies on one side would scream, see, told you they were all bad while the loonies on the other side would be screaming about how its not his fault because he is a minority and so on.

Bad has no colour bar, it cares not your orientation or religious beliefs. Bad is bad. Period. It is easier to hold views that say he is bad because all (insert personal bias) are bad and it is not so comfortable or easy to accept that this is not the case in reality. That not all (insert personal bias) are bad nor are all (your own ‘type’) good.

The lesson to be earned is that we need to teach our children survival skills. Skills such as the ability to pick up on body language signs that signal the potential to cause harm. Word signals that should ring alarm bells. Just as we don’t teach them how to really handle money and what life is really about, we need to teach them to disregard the gonads and go with the hairs on the back of the neck.

We also need to acknowledge that the brain is susceptible to malfunction just as any other organ is (although technically the brain is not an organ).  let’s try and stop judging people as being less than ourselves for having mental health issues and feel some compassion for them and their loved ones. At the same time, let’s not excuse their behaviour. They may not be responsible but if only for the sake of their victim’s closure they should be punished for their actions, or else let us change completely how we as a society think about crime, punishment, health and society. Hmmm, maybe that is the answer after all.

 

 

Sick, Sad, Depraved. It’s Not Just Charity That Begins At Home

Read this, then shake your head in wonder. How can anyone treat anyone like this, let alone a sibling? Some might say that these people are African and Africans are still pretty savage and primitive and in many ways there is still a lot of primitive and savage behaviour found in Africa… but that isn’t the answer. This is a human thing. All of our ancestors believed in witchcraft and similar supernatural concepts. Many in our so called civilized western world still do. There are many people who do cruel things to people, even their own children and they don’t try to blame witchcraft, so let’s not point the finger, or the bone, at any race. Like I said, this is a human thing.

Run a search using words like ‘boy+tortured+parents’ and see how many articles there are. Just this past week I read two reports of parents torturing their little children. Why? The only reason I can think of is that they are psychotic, brought about by substance abuse or circumstance. By circumstance I mean they were brought up that way and know no different. The cycle of poverty, low IQ, lack of education and abuse creates a class of human who can still create life, they just have no idea how to nurture it.

How we treat each other is a major issue for us all, at grass roots level. It is not confined to any social class but it is more prevalent in low socioeconomic classes. It is not confined to any one race but it is more prevalent in some than others, but not because that race is genetically inferior, so don’t go down that path. That race is that way because of other factors, not genetics. Given a fair run anyone from any race can achieve anything. The reality is that for many, there is no fair run. Even for those where society attempts to level the playing field, too often they or someone influential near them sabotages any chance they have of making worthwhile change.

Like I always say; if you can’t be a part of the solution, don’t be a part of the problem. How do you treat other people? Start with your loved ones, then move to your friends and work outwards to neighbours and colleagues and then consider strangers and people of other classes and races. Do you give them all a fair go or lump them all into the same pile because of the actions of some? If we are going to change the way we as a society think and interact, then we need to start with the person we have the most influence and control over. Ourselves.

 

Filipino Escapes Kidnappers

A Filipino guide has escaped from Muslim kidnappers in the southern Philippines by diving overboard. The guide was with a Swiss and a Dutchman, taken hostage by Muslim criminals off Tawi Tawi. The daring escape was successful, but just as easily could have ended up with the escaper being killed. It is a proven tenet of escape and evasion that the sooner you can escape after capture the better your chances. Once you and your captors settle into a routine of sorts it gets harder to get away, not to mention you will be further from help and in the middle of their chosen territory. While the escaper feels guilty he left the other two behind, the reality is his life, as a Filipino, is worth less than the two foreigners and most likely he would be killed to show the kidnappers mean business.

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