Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: The Policeman at the Dinner Table

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  • Peter Cresswell,

    "Was he trying to miss the point there?"

    No, trying to make a wider point.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 27 posts Report Reply

  • slarty,

    Let us turn to Britain for a sensible solution to knife crime

    gngn after all I just said :)

    Carrying a Knife over 4 inches (about 10cm) was a crime (well, sort of - Graeme can fill you in on the subtleties I'm sure) in Britain when I was a kid in the 70's. What these guys are proposing is banning their sale.

    A number of things spring to mind:

    - Why do kids feel they need to carry a knife? Perhaps because they've been convinced it is a matter of self defence? Llap Goch?

    - How are you going to get the existing squillions of them out of circulation?

    - Are you going to x-ray on the channel ferries to stop all the kids like me who bring them back from school trips (in my day it was flick-knives, illegal to sell in the UK but not the continent)

    - Is there any evidence that any of this approach is actually tackling the underlying issues: perception of safety, engagement with society etc.?

    Or perhaps we are just building mechanisms that further isolate communities from one another (such as when small minds propose general arming of the Police)

    Since Nov 2006 • 290 posts Report Reply

  • Michael Savidge,

    it's high time there was a decent response to this number of murders from the agency whose sole moral justification is the protection of people's lives and liberties.

    And just what would you have them do that would have effectively prevented any of those 51 murders?

    Somewhere near Wellington… • Since Nov 2006 • 324 posts Report Reply

  • A S,

    Accident and emergency doctors today call for the banning of long, sharp kitchen knives, arguing they account for at least half of all stabbings...

    Knives "of less than 5cm [2ins] in length" or with blunt, round ends would meet culinary needs and be far less likely to result in fatalities.

    Get the feeling that the A&E doctors don't actually do a whole lot of, you know, cooking?

    Maybe if they can manage slicing a pumpkin with a rounded 2 inch blade without amputating a digit I'll give it some thought.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2007 • 269 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Cresswell,

    If that's a genuine question, Michael, then why not read <a href="http://pc.blogspot.com/2008/09/murder-it-not-ok.html">my response</a> and find out?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 27 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Cresswell,

    Oops, I'll try that again.

    Why not read my response, and find out.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 27 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    Accident and emergency doctors today call for the banning of long, sharp kitchen knives, arguing they account for at least half of all stabbings...
    Knives "of less than 5cm [2ins] in length" or with blunt, round ends would meet culinary needs and be far less likely to result in fatalities.

    So we'd see a rise in slashings, rather than stabbings? Coz you simply cannot prepare food with a blunt knife. Fine, points may or may not be necessary (I'm insufficiently culinarily-inclined to really comment for certain on that point *har har*), but I do know that you can't slice tomatoes or dice onions worth a damn if the knife's edge more-closely resembles a spoon.

    People will make weapons of whatever's at hand, and it's also a totally trivial exercise to put a point onto a blunt-tipped knife, by way of five minutes with a bench grinder, or a bit more application of a piece of concrete or a sharpening stone.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    ban pumpkins. :)

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Oops, I'll try that again.
    Why not read my response, and find out.

    I read it, Peter. There's a lot of fulminating, the inevitable quoting of Ayn Rand, the equally inevitable victim-play (__please__ don't compare yourself with murder victims, even metaphorically, just because someone finds fault with your argument) and not a single thing that would have prevented the murders in question.

    You're citing an increase in recorded violent crime and steadfastly ignoring what that crime is. In 2007, there were 6252 additional violence offences recorded. 5810 of them were reported incidents of family violence, for which there is far less tolerance than was once the case.

    There's an elephant in the room trying to get your attention.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Michael Savidge,

    Ok, have read it.

    Basically you want a couple of things. One, a stiffening of both our attitude and response to criminal behaviour. Fair call.

    Two, Eugenics. Or, if that fails, the economic genocide of "no-hopers" and their malevolent offspring.

    Not really quite so fair.

    Somewhere near Wellington… • Since Nov 2006 • 324 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Cresswell,

    MICHAEL: Eugenics? Please. Hyperbole never helps an argument. And you being offended by the facts doesn't alter them.

    RUSSELL: There are two separate issues here.

    You say that "not a single thing" I suggest would have prevented the murders in question. Well, the murders I have in mind are those to which I refer: the fifty-one committed so far this year, and all the others like them still to be committed.

    I disagree with you that "not a single thing" I suggest would prevent them. There you are. We disagree.

    But more important to my mind is not the concrete details of crime prevention, of which neither you nor I are experts, but the primary issue I'm trying to raise: that the focus of the law must change. That the status quo is not working. That it's time to say "Enough!"

    We may differ on the concrete details, but I'm surprised you appear to dismiss without argument this second point - the need to say "Enough!" And I'm disappointed you and your readers appear to think the status quo is good enough.

    It's not.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 27 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    We may differ on the concrete details, but I'm surprised you appear to dismiss without argument this second point - the need to say "Enough!" And I'm disappointed you and your readers appear to think the status quo is good enough.

    It's not.

    No, it's not, but fulminating won't change it. And, again, you seem determined to ignore the implications of the statistics you actually quote.

    You're citing an increase in recorded violent crime and steadfastly ignoring what that crime is.

    In 2007, there were 6252 additional violence offences recorded. 5810 of them were reported incidents of family violence, for which there is far less tolerance than was once the case.

    There's an elephant in the room trying to get your attention.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    Peter, you say "the focus of the law must change". Fine. What needs to change that would have prevented this latest tragedy? If you want to demand a change, you need to at least have an idea of what needs to happen to effect that change. Moving from a focus on victimisers to victims is all well and good, but what's that supposed to do when an offender has no history with the police? How would that stop the apartment-building slayings?

    Are you proposing, as Russell has termed it, a "policeman at the dinner table"? Because that's pretty much what it would take, and even then there's no certainty. How would you prevent the double-homicide in Karaka, where a car was used as a weapon? No police history with that offender either.

    Oh, and is that 51 murders, or 51 homicides? Because homicide includes manslaughter, and 51 actual murders by this point in the year would extrapolate to a never-before-seen year-on-year increase of about 50%. Our long-term murder rate (as opposed to year-on-year variation, which can be positive one year and negative the next) is declining, since the absolute number stays static while the population is increasing. But you already knew that, right?

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Michael Savidge,

    Eugenics? Please. Hyperbole never helps an argument. And you being offended by the facts doesn't alter them.

    Well it can help make a unimaginative argument more amusing. But point taken.

    What does offend me is your seeming unwillingness to engage with the elephants. It's not enough to say enough is enough (and may get you tainted by a very grubby brush). Such, ahem, hyperbole is unlikely to alter the circumstances that precipitate much criminal offending. Which IMHO likely stems from systemic disadvantage as anything else. I say, like the soft-cocked lefty I am, that we try and start there. Would you consider dipping your hand in your own pocket if it meant a reduction in crime down the road? Please answer sharpish as I am holding my breath here.

    Your solution seems to require less empathy and understanding of what drives people to crime and more concentrated outrage (I believe villification was your preferred term) at the inevitable results of a somewhat fucked-up society.

    Can't really see rampant Randism helping much either.

    Somewhere near Wellington… • Since Nov 2006 • 324 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Cresswell,

    Russell, you also say: "__You're citing an increase in recorded violent crime and steadfastly ignoring what that crime is. In 2007, there were 6252 additional violence offences recorded. 5810 of them were reported incidents of family violence. There's an elephant in the room trying to get your attention.__"

    Well, in 2007 there were 52,883 recorded violent offences in total, of which reported incidents of family violence were 11%.

    So my point is: there are other elephants in this jungle as well? 52,883 of them, to be precise, including 51 homicides so far this year. Violent crime that's been trending up since 1999. That's the wider picture I was talking about above.

    How about that elephant, hmmm?

    BTW, it's true that Austin Hemmings was killed when he interceded without foreknowledge in a domestic dispute, but he wasn't part of that dispute; he was killed by someone who appeared to have no compunction about taking a stranger's life.

    That's the bigger issue I'm trying to address -- people who have no compunction about taking a stranger's life, and how the various ways the agencies of law deal with them appears not to be discouraging them, but the reverse.

    I'm asking what the last straw is for people. If fifty-one people murdered this year isn't enough, then what is?

    If asking that question is in your eyes the the equivalent of "your average tantrum," then so much the worse for your judgement, I say.

    You might be content to rest on your "it's only domestic violence" defence, and claim the government is already doing all that it can so don't worry, but here's the thing: like the attack on New York's Central Park jogger all those years ago, which provoked outrage that eventually helped lead to a change in focus for NY law enforcement, the killing of Mr Hemmings has made people angry, and they want to see something change.

    Public reactions have to start somewhere, and they don't always match the proximate cause of that to which they're reacting. The straw that finally breaks the camel's back isn't always from the same crop as all the straws the that have for so long been weighing the camel down.

    Consider for example the truckers' protest recently that shut down the country's main streets -- all that anger wasn't just over the rise in road user charges; it was directed at a government that is perceived as being bossy, nannying and not listening. The overnight raise in the road user charge was simply the last straw; the proximate cause for which people said "Enough!" and got out there in support of the truckers.

    What I felt when I heard the news of this murder was the same: "Enough!" and I felt sure my readers would feel the same.

    I've had enough of New Zealanders being killed, and all the excuses that say "nothing can be done," "it's all too difficult," and now (apparently) "it's only domestic violence so don't worry."

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 27 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Cresswell,

    Matthew, you ask, "What needs to change that would have prevented this latest tragedy?"

    Well, read my response. You don't expect to be spoon-fed, do you? ;^)

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 27 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Cresswell,

    Michael, do you even have any idea of what so called "rampant Randism" would look like?

    And might I point out that the chief victims of your "systemic disadvantage" were the the children of parents who were paid to have them, and who then went on to kill them.

    How about that "systemic failure," huh?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 27 posts Report Reply

  • Michael Savidge,

    PC,

    Indeed I do have a fairly cogent understanding of Rand's philosophy. But I try not to imagine such apocalyptic scenarios so soon after lunch ;)

    BTw, are you, or anyone you respect getting some of that Working for Families gravy? Anybody giving it back in disgust?

    And John Key's Mum was "paid" to have him. And lots of other people too. Not all of them turned to murdering strangers or their own kin. So what's your point?

    Somewhere near Wellington… • Since Nov 2006 • 324 posts Report Reply

  • Michael Savidge,

    Actually, I'm not sure if Key's Mum was a DPB recipient. But she had state help nonetheless.

    Somewhere near Wellington… • Since Nov 2006 • 324 posts Report Reply

  • Shep Cheyenne,

    Related but off topic - Ying and Yang - why I love and hate Christchurch.

    Currently there is a man-hunt going on in Christchurch for a clean cut part-maori with a semi-automatic pistol carrying a black bag who has just robbed a bank in Cathedral Square and while the cops were dealing with that robbed Westpac Riccarton.

    The silver lining here is that due to his speed of movement the cops think he was either on the bus or on a bicycle.

    Since Oct 2007 • 927 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    Apropos of blunt tips on knives, supposedly Louis XIV passed a law to make table knives round tipped precisely to prevent dinner-table stabbings, which is why you haven't been able to stab your peas in polite company since the 17th century.

    Apropos the "then we'd see slashings" answer, well actually it's much harder to slash fatally than to stab fatally, as every mediaeval weapons nerd knows.

    Apropos PC's argument, or what I can understand of it, I agree that the war on drugs is a huge waste of resources, and we probably would see the drug-related murders disappear from our annual count of 50 or so when it stops. I don't see what effect redeploying the newly-freed police would have on the majority of the murders that are left.

    As for the welfarism argument, if Peter is going to imagine the benefits of the poor not being "paid to breed", I'm going to imagine the violence of the desperate and starving which will counter it. My imaginarary facts are as good as his, I tell you.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • Michael Savidge,

    ...imaginarary

    I like it. Unintentionally more insulting than you intended!

    Somewhere near Wellington… • Since Nov 2006 • 324 posts Report Reply

  • B Jones,

    One of the nice things about being paid to have kids is that the state doesn't do domestic violence, whereas there's a proportion of private citizen breadwinners who do. Mothers of young children need to have support from someone, and I'd far rather they had the choice of a somewhat distant and neglectful state over an all too present violent partner.

    In any case, the vast majority of people on the DPB are paid to support kids that they already have, not to have new ones.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 976 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    Since we're solving the world's problems here, may I just say,

    Enough! of the Global credit crisis.
    Enough! of shitty mainstream media.
    Enough! of war.

    Ah, that feels better. I'm off for a coffee.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Cresswell,

    Michael, do you even have any idea of what so called "rampant Randism" would look like?

    And might I point out that the chief victims of your "systemic disadvantage" were the the children of parents who were paid to have them, and who then went on to kill them.

    How about that "systemic failure," huh?

    And speaking of elephants in the room, how about the one addressed in this press release, currently number on reading at Scoop: 'Welfare and Violence - The Elephant In The Room'

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 27 posts Report Reply

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