Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: The next bylaw will ban irony

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  • Craig Ranapia,

    Did I miss something here? Russell, did you just say that the Bill of Rights should only apply to good guys?

    I think RB was saying precisely the opposite -- the protection of the law applies to everyone, even those he doesn't much like. Which sounds just about right to me.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    Somehow the gang patch bill wasn't written with neo-Nazis or the 14K in mind.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5443 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    I think RB was saying precisely the opposite -- the protection of the law applies to everyone, even those he doesn't much like. Which sounds just about right to me.

    Yes, that was what I meant.

    That, and noting the fact that this bylaw has offered an opportunity to someone I probably wouldn't much like to bring an authentic grievance to court.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    On one hand I think that banning patches won't work for Whanganui. On the other, I'm not really sure. It's kind of handy that this kind of law can be trialled on a local basis - nothing can show more clearly that it's not working than actually trying it. And who knows? Maybe, after all the outrage and bluster, the gangsters will actually just not bother wearing their patches in town, and the town could be a bit safer.

    The human rights issue is problematic, though. Banning certain clothing on account of a 'probability that people associating with this organization will cause trouble' seems like a slippery slope. On the other hand, I'm damned sure if I walked around Whanganui 2 weeks ago wearing Black Power regalia, I'd get in big trouble, and it wouldn't be from the police. There's something pretty fucked about that, too. Would anyone say that I wasn't 'asking for it' if I did?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    the gangsters will actually just not bother wearing their patches in town, and the town could be a bit safer

    There's some logic missing there. I doubt public safety will be improved at all.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report Reply

  • Lara,

    I don't think that banning patches will "work" for Whanganui in so far as making it any safer for the public (possibly less safe with a move to colours). Sure, you can argue that the ban may lead to less intimidation of the public, but presumably people will be equally intimidated by gatherings of people wearing colours. So what was the point?

    Christchurch • Since Jul 2009 • 82 posts Report Reply

  • Rogan Polkinghorne,

    Human Rights/Enforcement issues aside, the thing I don't get about the whole Gang Ban(g) situation in Whanganui is this - banning people wearing patches doesn't stop people from being 'gang members', and isn't it better to be able to clearly/easily identify 'the enemy' rather than having to squint or look twice?

    'The Enemy' will still be out there, it'll just be harder to pick who they are?

    A-town • Since Nov 2006 • 105 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart,

    Would anyone say that I wasn't 'asking for it' if I did?

    I wouldn't (but I wouldn't go drawing any comparisons using that particular phrase, either, as the situation is somewhat different.)

    That, and noting the fact that this bylaw has offered an opportunity to someone I probably wouldn't much like to bring an authentic grievance to court.

    That's what the law is for, I guess. The sad thing is that I guarantee if he gets off using the Bill of Rights, the usual suspects will immediately declaim that there's something wrong with the Bill of Rights, rather than the other way around.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2105 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Bell,

    What will be the unintended consequence of this law... what will gangsters need to do to get their confiscated patch back? Do this to Laws' house?

    Wellington, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 175 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Bell,

    Apropos Greg O'Connor, from this news summary (http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/stories/2009/09/02/1245c714b0a8)

    A new study by the United Nations urges New Zealand to do more to stop drug trafficking in the region.

    The report Palermo in the Pacific, says governments around the Pacific Rim are making little headway against the organised crime syndicates behind the trade.

    Author Andreas Schloenhardt says New Zealand is both a transit point and a destination for illicit drugs.

    He says New Zealand's laws are failing because they don't deal with the root problem of how lucrative the drug trade has become.

    He says new measures are needed to reduce the demand for drugs.

    The Police Association says the police don't have the power to attack drug traffickers.

    WTF! Does the Police Assn not understand New Zealand's drug law, plus the work of its own members internationally (and with NZ Customs) on drug trafficking?!

    Wellington, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 175 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock,

    Gangs in New Zealand are an unstudied mystery.

    Actually, not.

    Start with Bill Payne's 'Staunch'. Move on to 'The girls in the gang' by Greg Newbold and Glennis Dennehy. Have a chat to this guy. Finish up with 'True Red' by Tuhoe 'Bruno' Isaac.

    That's just the NZ-specific stuff.

    For gangs which are the NZ branch of the multinational franchise, there's:

    Arthur Veno's: The Brotherhoods; Inside the Outlaw Motorcycle Clubs.

    Ross Coulthart's: Dead Man Running (the Bandidos Motorcycle Gang).

    Julian Sher and William Marsden: Angels of Death : Inside the Biker Gangs' Crime Empire".

    Come back when you need some more :)

    Almost certainly these gangs would contain some good strategic minds.They are outside the law in that they have made their own laws more important. And some of these gangs must be making some good dosh and others must just squeak along. How are they operating?

    Drugs.

    In the west, bike gangs are the main players in manufacture and distribution of methamphetamine/P. That's their speciality.

    In the US, for example, the four main players (Hells Angels, Bandidos, Outlaws, Pagans), basically divvied up the US and Canada between them and eliminated any other group that threatened their turf.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2728 posts Report Reply

  • Caillan Crowe-McAuliffe,

    For anyone who's interested in Chinese current events, I highly recommend this blog written by Roland Soong (sometimes NSFW). In particular, he collated almost all the coverage of the Urumqi mass incident, including coverage of the triggering brawl in Southern China.

    Has anyone else been particularly impressed by Maori TV, not just in the way it handled this incident, but in general? They've been screening some very good films, too.

    Dunedin • Since Jun 2008 • 4 posts Report Reply

  • st ephen,

    ...presumably people will be equally intimidated by gatherings of people wearing colours.

    Apparently people are intimidated by teenagers in malls wearing hoodies. Or by teenagers full stop.

    I remember moving to a North Island town where I lived and worked near the local Mob house. It was plenty intimidating the first time I had them queuing up behind me in the dairy. But I figured that nobody who (a) queues, and (b) buys iceblocks for their kids on a hot day can be all bad, so I started acknowledging them with the universal "eyebrow flash" greeting when our paths crossed. Quite empowering for a skinny white kid, although of course that was in the mellower pre-P days...

    dunedin • Since Jul 2008 • 254 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock,

    On the origins of New Zealand gang culture. It was more a product of institutionalization than drinking crates of piss, wasn't it?

    Can you elaborate a bit?

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2728 posts Report Reply

  • Dave Waugh,

    Has anyone else been particularly impressed by Maori TV, not just in the way it handled this incident, but in general? They've been screening some very good films, too.

    Yes, as a regular occurrence Maori TV has a far better schedule of films and documentaries than TV1,2,3.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 98 posts Report Reply

  • Michael Stevens,

    Has anyone else been particularly impressed by Maori TV, not just in the way it handled this incident, but in general? They've been screening some very good films, too.

    Yes, as a regular occurrence Maori TV has a far better schedule of films and documentaries than TV1,2,3.

    I agree, it has usually been excellent. I don't think the call here was though.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 230 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    banning people wearing patches doesn't stop people from being 'gang members', and isn't it better to be able to clearly/easily identify 'the enemy' rather than having to squint or look twice?

    I take your point as far as it goes, but another is that if you think its the couture that's intimidating, then someone really needs to step away from the airfreight L'Uomo Vogue until reality returns. From my limited experience of the breed, it was the casual brutality, glorification of criminality and abuse of women, and utter disdain for the property and human dignity of 'outsiders' that churned my stomach.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock,

    New Zealand gangs, formed within prison walls, for the most. And, the drug most causal to imprisonment was alcohol (crates and jugs).

    Well, I guess it does depend which gang we're talking about. I think you're right about the provenance of NZ's own 'street' gangs (Mongrel Mob, Black Power).

    However, the NZ Hells Angels have the dubious distinction of being the first chapter formed outside the US (back in around 1969-ish), when they (and the US mother chapter(s)) were far more oriented towards the street thug/hooligan end of the scale than the highly organised, large-scale franchise operations they are today.

    NZ's other home grown 'bike' gangs (Magogs, Highway 61, Road Knights, etc) were more or less copying the (US) Hells Angels.

    Over time, all these groups have evolved and 'purified' from pure street thuggery into nastier and more organised enterprises.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2728 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    From my limited experience of the breed, it was the casual brutality, glorification of criminality and abuse of women, and utter disdain for the property and human dignity of 'outsiders' that churned my stomach.

    Nicely put.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock,

    I remember moving to a North Island town where I lived and worked near the local Mob house. It was plenty intimidating the first time I had them queuing up behind me in the dairy. But I figured that nobody who (a) queues, and (b) buys iceblocks for their kids on a hot day can be all bad, so I started acknowledging them with the universal "eyebrow flash" greeting when our paths crossed

    Well, gang members are people, too. They're just not the sort of people that you and me want to associate with. Craig more or less nails it:

    casual brutality, glorification of criminality, abuse of women, and utter disdain for the property and human dignity of 'outsiders'

    As individuals, you might find them to be ok in casual encounters like the one you describe. But as a group, they need to be treated with extreme wariness.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2728 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock,

    edit button pls.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2728 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Arrgh shit!!

    George, I meant to delete Rich's note after cleaning up his formatting error -- and I deleted yours instead!

    Sorry. Could you have another go?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report Reply

  • Just thinking,

    "From my limited experience of the breed, it was the casual brutality, glorification of criminality and abuse of women, and utter disdain for the property and human dignity of 'outsiders' that churned my stomach."

    Sounds like first years from all boy schools to me.

    Open a T-shirt printshop in Whanganui and you'll be made.

    Putaringamotu • Since Apr 2009 • 1158 posts Report Reply

  • Just thinking,

    My default position is listening to Dave Haslett. I had the pleasure to share an undergrad class at Uni with him. He's an interesting guy.

    Putaringamotu • Since Apr 2009 • 1158 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock,

    There are also the 'ethnic' gangs, such as the King Cobras, which formed primarily as vigilante self-defence groups (see also LA Bloods).

    However they originally formed, the common factor between then and now for all the established gangs seems to be the gradual slide into organised crime as the more ruthless members realised they could get more power and money through crime than through some sort of 'brotherhood'. The less criminally-inclined members have mostly been squeezed out or 'retired'.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2728 posts Report Reply

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