Archive for the ‘Under 18’ Category

Location, Location, Location

Would you rent an apartment above a shop called ‘Reptile Ocean Inc’? I wouldn’t. Sadly it appears two boys, 5 and 7, were killed in their sleep by an escaped python from the reptile store beneath their apartment. That must have been a big snake to think it needed to kill two boys… Snakes are not vindictive as far as I know. They kill for food or to defend themselves. I can’t imagine the snake finding two sleeping, harmless, non-threatening boys and killing them because it felt threatened. There appears from the brief report no attempt to eat either and surely, the snake would kill one and then attempt to swallow it, then lie down and digest?

I think there is more to this story than we have been told so far. The photo on the left is of a baby swallowed by a python in Edo, Nigeria. To give you an idea of scale, check out the kid using the snake as a bean bag.

Toddler Drowns In Bucket

Many years ago when I was a boy my father warned me how you could drown in as little as a teaspoon of water. He meant that it doesn’t have to be a river or an ocean for you to die from drowning. That imagery, of someone diving into a teaspoon of water and drowning stuck with me and has helped me stay alert to the danger water can pose. Tragically in Sydney today an 11 month old boy has drowned in a bucket holding just 10cm (4 inches) of water. On the same day another little boy lost his life in a backyard swimming pool. The bucket of water had been used to mop the floor but hadn’t been emptied. In the army we were taught to empty the bucket immediately, then clean the bucket and put it back where it belonged. It seemed anally retentive at the time but it is attention to such details like that can make a life or death difference. Be aware, be alert but accept that accidents, however tragic, do occur. My heart gose out to both families at this sad time.

No Risk, No Reward

If you play with fire you are bound to be burned sooner or later. These three teenagers performing a stunt where they ride their bikes through burning cardboard were doing this for the first time. The organisers have set this stunt up many times before without incident, apparently; but this time it went ‘horribly wrong’. Given the ingredients of fire and teenage kids, how else could it go if it goes wrong other than ‘horribly’?

Should we now call to ban all such events? Stop teenagers doing anything remotely risky? Or perhaps ensure those responsible for the safety and setting up of these things double and triple check them first? Even then, f there is no risk of it all going ‘horribly wrong’, where is the thrill? The danger? The reason for doing it in the first place?

Life is not risk free, even today. Humans have only ever moved forward after taking risks, daring mightily and pushing the envelope. Along the way there are casualties but so long as we learn from our mistakes and keep trying to do better, then their sacrifice was never in vein. If we aren’t prepared to take risks then we can’t expect anything to happen… good or bad and that can’t be good for mankind.

Dad Shoots Daughter’s Laptop Over Facebook Post

There has been a lot of discussion over this video clip posted to YouTube showing the father of a North Carolina teenage girl shooting a laptop. What makes me laugh is how the article makes a point of how he wears a ‘cowboy hat’ and smokes a cigarette. OK, so he wears a broad brimmed hat and he smokes? Does that make him ….what? A bad dad?

Then some comments on You Tube include bleeding hearts whining how he is setting a bad example of how to manage your anger and how the gun is inappropriate etc. If he drove over the laptop would that have sent the wrong message for teen drivers? If he threw it out of a fourth floor window what would that encourage those teens to do? He seemed like a reasonable, intelligent, educated and above all else caring parent.He has made his point and millions of people around the world have seen this. I would say the majority support the message, if not the method. I don’t have a problem with him shooting the laptop. He has a licensed firearm and he is using it safely on private property. He bought and paid for the laptop, it is not something the daughter needs to sustain life (although she might see things differently).

I like to think this has sent a positive message to my 13 year old daughter, and in time, her four sisters who will be following her into teenage over the next decade. What was it that guy Voltaire said? Something about shoot one… to encourage the others…

Just Hang Up

I read with sadness and anger that another teenager had committed suicide due to being bullied. This included ‘cyber bullying‘ and the report made a big deal about how the bullying never stopped. When the girl got home it was there on her social network page. OK, this is where it gets a little hard for me to follow. If the bullying was going on online… why not close the account? Why not change name and password? Why not simply stop going online? Sooner or later the bully would get the hint and lose interest.

I am sorry, it is a tragedy for sure but the biggest tragedy has to be that the girl valued her social network more than her life. She would rather kill herself than go without her Facebook or whichever social network it was. This is ridiculous! Don’t blame the social network or the internet, don’t even blame the bully. If the bully intended her to kill herself, then charge him and take him through the courts. If the bully was just another mental midget, troubled teen with issues, then that is sad but the choice to end it all was hers, nobody else’s.

Which makes me think that some people are predisposed to dealing with stress and pressure that way, rather than fight back, confront the bullies or simply switch off the computer. It is sad, no argument but I think we need to keep things in perspective and not get too wound up, too ‘you poor thing’. We are tending to get softer and softer as we conquer more and more of the every day risks life has for us. We will never totally eradicate all risk and that is a good thing because danger is the best instructor there is.

Teachers Can’t Count

The simple precaution of counting heads before leaving a venue would have prevented a 5 year old boy being left in the toilets of a restaurant while on a school excursion last month. Fortunately the little lad had the presence of mind to find his way to his grandparents home fairly nearby. What if he hadn’t been able to do that? What if he had been injured crossing the several roads and the rail crossing he needed to navigate to get there? No wonder he feels he was not important enough to be missed…

No teacher does this on purpose, but then that is the meaning of the word negligence. Whoever was in charge of the trip neglected to make sure they had all the students with them when they left to head back to school. How? How could this happen? Who was in charge? Are they still in their job?

It is simply not good enough. I accept teachers have considerable responsibility yet to be fair, they do earn a good wicket so they are compensated and if they are not happy they can take their education and experience elsewhere. Children deserve our very best efforts at all times, even the naughty ones. This has not been the case here. It is, in a word, a disgrace.

What Now, Ban The Sale Of Eggs?

A tragic stabbing death of a 44 year old mother in Melbourne after she confronted the three teenagers that threw eggs at her house has rocked her community. Haled as a ‘lovely lady’, apparently this last egging took her over the edge and she got stuck in when her and her husband chased the three that did the deed. One, a 14 year old turned and stabbed her. She died there in the street, in front of her 11 year old daughter and with her husband trying desperately to resuscitate her.

One could say it was not worth getting killed over, why not just clean off the eggs? The holders of this view miss the point. True, it was not worth getting stabbed over, but the criminals should not have egged her house, or broken any of our laws. Yet they do and they hold these laws and the rest of us in utter contempt. We are here to amuse them, to feed and house and entertain them. They are special and deserve everything society can offer, for nothing. They got this attitude from their parents, obviously, mixed in with messages from the authorities at school who are powerless to deal with them. All because some over educated idiot with no kids and a fairyland world in their heads of how it should all be perfect pushed for the rights of the punks, without worrying that maybe they lacked the IQ, the upbringing and the common decency to understand about responsibilities.

 

There is no point parliament jumping up and down and promising tougher laws. The laws are already there and tough enough. If anyone had the will to enforce them. Courts seem reluctant to do this and too eager to accept social workers and psych reports and so on, anything to give an excuse not to hammer the swine. If the criminals are a minority, be they muslim, indigenous or whatever, then all the more reason not to leave oneself open to allegations of racism no matter how unfounded. The police know the offenders nearly everytime but they have to prove it. If the punk is under 14, they also have to prove the criminal knew what they were doing was wrong. Yes, even as they stab a woman in the guts with a knife, if they claim they didn’t realize that was wrong, they stand a good chance of getting off. Sometimes so called advances in psychology have gone too far and we haven’t caught up with methods of instilling decency and discipline in the offspring of society’s dross.

 

Bottom line, these punks should not have egged the woman’s house. They are the criminal swine and their parents need to accept part of the blame also. Even if the woman ‘over reacted’ it will never excuse murder. I would not be surprised if some do-gooder called for a ban on the sale of eggs to minors. So next time they throw tomatoes and before we know it, the Fruit and Dairy (Restricted Sale) Act 2012 as Ammended will be law!

Stiletto Heels 2 – Eyes 0

In the UK a 17 year old ‘ladette’ on a binge drinking session pushed a 34 year old woman to the floor and stamped on her face twice with her stiletto heel. She caused the woman’s optic nerve to snap, leaving her blinded for life in one eye and suffering anxiety and panic attacks. The attacker, jailed for 33 months, will have her baby behind bars in a month or so’s time.

This is yet another example of how vicious and dangerous the female of the species, particularly the 15 to 25 group, can be. Do not underestimate the danger of these vicious sluts. The large amounts of alcohol consumed by young people in the UK and elsewhere is a serious social problem, but not a new one. In the mid 18th century the alcoholism among the poor in London was a major factor in shaping the policy of transportation which led to the founding of the colony at Port Jackson (Sydney).

Here in Sydney we have a similar problem but not to the extent it is in England. The message is clear: Stay away from the places that serve alcohol until dawn unless you wish to risk becoming involved in violence and potentially lethal arguments over nothing. It reminds me of the ephibephobia (fear of youth) that was engendered by Anthony Burgess’s novel, ‘A Clockwork Orange’. (1963) While Kubrick’s movie a decade or so later missed out on the final chapter where the protagonist realised the error of his ways and renounced violence, it was nonetheless a damning indictment of how young adults and teens can become lethal savages.

William Golding’s ‘Lord of the Flies’ was another literary example of how we humans can resort to very primal beasts if the circumstances allow the breakdown of the thin facade of civilized behaviour we normally present. Why we think girls are any less savage than boys I don’t know. It is wishful thinking that may have held some veracity at one time, but women have always been the crueller of the species.

While a man will often feel some compassion for his opponent once he has neutralized the risk he presents, not so the woman. The native North Americans would hand the prisoners over to the women for torture as they were far better at keeping them in agony for as long as possible. No pity and a quick death from them, they wrought their revenge and I can understand this. After all, the women were the ones that suffered the most when the men fought, especially if their men lost. Payback is a very base human instinct.

But they had a reason behind their cruelty. Not so these vicious, spiteful spoilt bitches or their equally waste of space boyfriends. Is it a generational thing? Do we blame the parents? Is it the fault of society and consumerism and instant gratification at light speed thanks to technology outpacing cultural change? What do you think?

My Girls Are No Chick(en)s!

An 8 year old girl, playing in her front yard in Cabramatta was dragged into the street by a passing man. She managed to flee after kicking him in the shins. Good for you Miss! It shows that sometimes a kid can inflict sufficient damage to affect her release. Sadly, too often their attempts fail and sadder still when they offer no resistance whatsoever.

My two eldest girls have been told they can’t hit a schoolyard bully back after they are assaulted, self defence is not an excuse apparently. I have yet to take this up with the school but I have printed off a declaration for them to keep in their school bags. My instruction to my girls is to try and ignore the bully, then walk away and if that doesn’t work and they hit first, then hit back harder. I have taught them how and where to hit, palm heel strike under the chin or on the nose.

The declaration states “I was assaulted and I was in fear of my life. I acted in self defence. Contact my father…” and my name and numbers. Below that I have reproduced the NSW Crimes Act 1900 Sect 60E Assaults At Schools; Sect 61 Common Assault…; Sect 418 Self Defence When Available and Sect419 Self Defence Onus of Proof.

My children are citizens, deserving of the full protection of the law. ‘Any person’ includes 12 year old bullies from dysfunctional homes as much as any hardened criminal. I realise they are not considered criminally responsible under the law but my daughters have the right to protect themselves if assaulted and the law of the land outweighs the Education Department’s desire to keep their liabilty and premiums manageable.

If they won’t stand up for themselves at school when assaulted, why would they defend themselves against a child molestor? While I understand the message needing to be sent regarding schoolyard violence is one of zero tolerance, countermanding the rights of the citizen to defend themselves is not the answer.

It is not my fault if the bully comes from a broken home, has substance abusing care givers and no proper adult role models. My children are not there as some kind of therapy for the poor child. Charity begins at home and I believe in making sure first you are not a part of the problem, then seeing if you can help with the solution.

Sadly these bullies believe there is nothing adults can do to them so they flaunt this, abuse and assault even adults and then threaten them with the law if they take action. The ‘parents’ are little better educated than their primary school offspring and prone to resorting to foul language and physical violence themselves when confronted, it is all they know. All they understand is ‘might is right’. They neither respect civilized behaviour nor do they practise it. Hence the only appropriate response is to retaliate in a way they do understand, sadly that all too often means physically.

That said, if I ever find any of my kids  bullying and starting fights they will know the meaning of the word punishment. They know their parents will not stand for them sinking to the level of the kids they complain about. As for fighting, I believe when it is the most appropriate response then you fight like a savage, get it over with and win. Otherwise just curl into a ball and let them do as they wish… and that  is not our way, never has been, never will be.

The Fairer Sex

Photo Courtesy Guillaume HERBAUT

A gang of six young females attacked two men and two women after the four refused their demands for money and cigarettes in Ipswich, QLD the other day. As the assault began a van with another two females arrived with the two women joining in before they all drove away leaving the victims injured and missing at least one wallet. It does not pay to underestimate the female of the species, especially when she is ‘mob handed’, ie: in a gang or group.

I guessed upon reading the first few lines that the women would be indigenous, we have a similar problem where I live with gangs of female Koori’s begging for cigarettes and money down at the local shops. If you refuse they have been known to turn on you. They can inflict very serious injury yet it is difficult for many of us to react with sufficient force in the first instance to dissuade them from escalating from verbal taunts to actual violence. Yet by the time you realise it is really happening it is often too late.

Of course it is not all one sided.  In Albury-Wodonga in 2008 there were a series of attacks on Koori teens by white teen gangs, purely based on ethnicity or race. Aboriginal community elders called for calm and restraint from their young people and the point was well made that we all bleed red blood. So, was the Ipswich attack racially motivated or simply a criminal act? It is all too easy to play the race card when there is a visual identifier in place, such as physical appearance that clearly identifies those involved as being of one ethnic group or another.

While the Albury attacks most likely were racially motivated, the Ipswich ones I would presume were only partially fuelled by skin colour. It is easier to hate those who are visually different to oneself, the greater the differences the easier it becomes. Being so visually different has been a survival aid since time began. If that other human did not look like you and your clan then there was a good chance they were from somewhere else and quite likely a threat. All very well 40,000 years ago but times have changed.

Times have changed for our indigenous citizens too, albeit not always for the best. However the status quo is what it is and we can’t turn back the clock to 1769 and send Cook off somewhere else. What we can do is listen to the words of Wiradjuri elder Nancy Rooke, “We’ve got to live in this world, we’ve all got to get on.” That goes both ways.

There is NO EXCUSE for assaulting other people. Race is not reason, nor is religion or orientation or any other ‘difference’. However, this is not a fair and just world and I suspect while there are human beings inhabiting it, it never will be fair or just to any great degree. So be aware other people may not like you or who they think you are. In the Cronulla riots of 2005 an Indian man, a Sikh complete with turban, was set upon by the ignorant crowd of thugs because they mistook him for a Muslim. In his mind he is not a Muslim and so was not at risk but he failed to take into account the fact that thugs are pretty thick to begin with, hence they run in packs and are easily riled.

I do quite a lot with the indigenous community in my area but I still give gangs of young ones a wide berth because I know they have the capability if not the intent to harm and they might think I am just another ‘white bum’. Being proactive and aware does not mean you are stereotyping or racially profiling, just prudent. But keep it to yourself or you run the risk of an assault of a different kind.

Recent Posts