Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Feckless Solutions

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  • Stephen Judd,

    What about the kids before they go to school? What about the babies?

    The research is mounting up that it's precisely those years, the preschool years, where the most damage is done to your sense of empathy and whatever faculties eventually become your conscience. Not sure how the state would get in there though...

    too many people already abdicating the responsibility of parenthood by dumping wee babies into daycare that they pay very dearly for.

    Dumping? Some people would call that getting precious respite in the adult world before you go insane :)

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2917 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    Ben: 60% of Maori men vs 30% of Pakeha.

    The (Pakeha) guy who did some of the most recent research was vilified by some in the press as a racist, but he was careful to stress that he was the father of Maori boys, that many Pakeha have it too, and that the critical factor is early childhood environment - in other words, it's nurture, not nature that dictates how that inheritance will manifest.

    It's good for society to have plenty of slightly reckless men around if they were brought up well and the risk-taking/aggression channelled into something beneficial like firefighting.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2917 posts Report Reply

  • Ed Muzik,

    I just had a brief look back at the literature on MAO. This is the seminal paper, one of many the Dunedin Multidisciplinary Study's huge papers - Richie Poulton has got a be a contender for a Nobel based on the work from this group. However, since this paper, a number of other studies have tried to replicate this work with varying levels of success - here, here and here are links to some of the abstracts. I'm not at work at the moment, so don't have access to the full journal articles.

    The guy who said the 'warrior gene' thing was Dr Rob Lea. I've had a look through his papers listed in Pubmed, but I can't actually find one that mentions MAO and Maori. From memory, he made the statement at a conference, to the press, rather than via a peer-reviewed manuscript. So maybe he has some unpublished results ... but there is published data about the difference in frequencies between Caucasian and Asian populations - a frequency of about 30% for the low activity gene in Caucasian populations compared to 60% in Asian populations. And since Polynesians are geneticially descended from Asians...

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 28 posts Report Reply

  • Ed Muzik,

    ok, so my 'brief' look actually took a while and Stephen answered your question while I was writing it!

    What's interesting about research like this - and there will only be more of it in the future - is the way that the popular press reports it as 'rascist'. It's not, it's science. Objective science, if done properly, has no views on anything. It's the interpretation - usually by the very same media - that makes it rascist or not.

    But now we're totally off topic. Sorry...

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 28 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford,

    It's good for society to have plenty of slightly reckless men around if they were brought up well and the risk-taking/aggression channelled into something beneficial like firefighting.

    Well said, Stephen Judd.

    Since Nov 2006 • 2482 posts Report Reply

  • rodgerd,

    I'm not sure about that one, but only because there are far too many people already abdicating the responsibility of parenthood by dumping wee babies into daycare that they pay very dearly for

    You are aware that most contemporary research on child development says that children growing up exposed only to their parents and a small circle of their friends children is significantly less developmentally healthy than kids who spend time in creches and preschool, right?

    Obviously not.

    Even if there wasn't research around it, I think it would be obvious to anyone who's spent a non-trivial amount of time looking after kids to grasp that even one kid can easily burn through the energy available to an adult tethered to the hearth.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 512 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    So the gene is twice as likely in Maori as Caucasian. But I'm more interested in the 'strongly linked with aggressive behaviour' claim. How strongly? Numbers....

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8305 posts Report Reply

  • Michael Fitzgerald,

    Ed - Science isn't neutral & alot of it is very much racist, reflecting the bias or (willful) ignorance.

    Since May 2007 • 631 posts Report Reply

  • Neil Graham,

    So I may be wrong but it seems that a lot of people assumed that that the violent sports thing was all about the impact of TV coverage.

    My issue with it wasn't that people get to see players being violent. The problem is that the players are being violent.

    Violence being tollerated in sport is a problem because there are lots of people playing. I hear they do it even when there are no cameras about.

    ...and yeah, fixing this isn't going to make a utopia. but no one thing will. This will help.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 108 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie,

    Once upon a time technology held the solution:

    In 1996 the Australian government and Prime Minister Howard considered tighter control over the broadcasting of violence on television and videos. The communications minister at the time wrote to the television stations "ABC" and "SBS" and asked them to review their codes of conduct. As a result of this the committees of the television stations looked into installing a "v-chip" in TV sets. A "v-chip" would allow viewers of the stations to block selected programs. However Mr Howard also expressed his views that he was opposed to censorship but asked the public to look at what kind of society we are, what are we living in? "He thought parents could not "escape their responsibility" for children watching violent material".

    After these issues came to light television stations were replacing their already programmed movies that contained violent scenes for lighthearted comedies. All of this "talk" came one week after the "Port Arthur Massacre". The television stations did not wish to discuss the actual decisions but Channel 9 released a statement, "we were sensitive to what happened at the weekend (Port Arthur)". But no, it was not an acknowledgment of any link between screen and actual violence".

    Just one week later normal television schedules were resumed, "what might be offensive one week is acceptable the next"

    http://ehlt.flinders.edu.au/education/DLiT/2003/Group1/movies.htm


    The V-chip came to pass - but no-one remembers what it's for:

    There is a button on the remote which is V CHIP which when pressed asks for a password. I asked the tech about it but he said he didn't know.
    http://phorums.com.au/archive/index.php/t-65457.html

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 3326 posts Report Reply

  • Neil Morrison,

    Ed - Science isn't neutral & alot of it is very much racist, reflecting the bias or (willful) ignorance.

    You'll have to come up wtih specific examples of this rather than a generalised skepticism about genes influencing behaviour. The evidence that Ed presents is reputable. I can't see how you can claim "a lot" of science is racist.

    It's interesting that we can talk about "ethnicity" but not "race".

    One other factor is the younger demographic of Maori. More younger men means more violence.

    Since Nov 2006 • 932 posts Report Reply

  • Robyn Gallagher,

    On the subject of child abuse, is anyone planning on doing the "three minutes of silence" thing at 12.12 today (as suggested by Family First NZ, For the Sake of Our Children Trust, and the Sensible Sentencing Trust)?

    The general consensus amongst Herald readers seems to be that it won't really achieve much, and, um, shouldn't we we speaking out rather than shutting up?

    Raglan • Since Nov 2006 • 1843 posts Report Reply

  • ron,

    David Round, former President of the NZPA, had a good article in the Press earlier this week. Here's an excerpt:

    "Suggested solutions are either ineffectual or draconian. To question all women entering hospital about possible abuse will offend many decent women, and fail to detect those who lie and the many who simply will not go to hospitals. To encourage the dobbing-in of suspected abusers, or even to make that compulsory under threat of criminal penalties, will inevitably result in many false allegations. Some of those will be malicious; many will be sincere but mistaken. The parent of any child with a playground bruise or scratch will go in fear of being accused of a dreadful crime. In an hysterical atmosphere great injustices can be done, as Peter Ellis's unhappy fate attests.

    Should we take "at risk" children away from their parents? Until abuse has actually occurred it would be hard to break up families just because it might. Official powers to enter any home and seize children will soon be misused. Where would we put the children? The supply of foster parents is dwindling. What would conditions be like in enormous state-run orphanages? The number of staff needed for such operations – and the cost – would be prohibitive."

    auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 77 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    So, any noticeable action at 12:12? I was making coffee and missed it (not that I think it would have made a blind bit of difference anyway). No reduction in street noise in this chunk of the Welly CBD, anyway.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2917 posts Report Reply

  • merc,

    Silence for violence. Brilliant.

    Since Dec 2006 • 2471 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Just a quick note to say that David and I have interviewed Mikaere Curtis about the action the whanau is taking over the Nia Glassie tragedy. I think his openness is a testament to the way the family is approaching this task.

    The interview will air on Public Address Radio, after the 5pm news on Radio Live on Saturday, and I'll get it on the podcast immediately thereafter.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18512 posts Report Reply

  • Daniel Barnes,

    Christine Rankin: against child abuse, apparently.

    Auckland NZ • Since Aug 2007 • 20 posts Report Reply

  • Josh Addison,

    Christine Rankin: against child abuse, apparently.

    But in favour of motorway pile-ups?

    Onehunga, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 297 posts Report Reply

  • kerry w,

    As a single mother for ten years, I'd like to comment.
    I rarely took my children (now teenagers) to GPs after the age of five, unless they were very sick. Why? If they'd broken an arm, had any kind of injury i was given "the evils" - they ASSUME becoz you are a single mother that you abuse your children. Asking nosy questions is not new at all. It is frightening.

    Although my sons' father chooses to ignore them (& note, he was accused by another son from previous marriage of abuse), that is construed as "my fault" - my younger son is mildly autistic, (withdrawn, antisocial, anti-school, depressive). I have asked for help for years - been all the way to Minister of health, Minister of Education, been to Mental Health & Special Ed. They all say there is nothing wrong with him & even if there was, it would be my fault (as I am single parent, likely abuser, made it too hard for poor daddy....whatever).
    And guess what? Daddy is a high school teacher.

    Some SPs quit having boyfriends because they all think solo mums are free bed & breakfast joints and we should be "grateful" they want to be in our lives. So, if you care about yr kids, you stay single and lonely.

    The DPB no longer covers anything more than absolute basics. You cannot live on it alone.

    There has actually been research that shows if single parents are supported by their families/friends/communities their children often show BETTER outcomes than trad. nuclear families. Everybody's too busy judging & condemning to help, though.

    Abused babies are missing one vital thing - their parent(s) are not bonded to them. If you are strongly bonded to your children you protect them at all costs. You invest time and love in them.

    The abusers have great big holes inside them where they themselves have never been filled to the brim with love. They can't share, they are possessive & territorial, they are terminally self-oriented. NZ men do not want to face up to this.

    Since Nov 2006 • 9 posts Report Reply

  • ron,

    The abusers have great big holes inside them where they themselves have never been filled to the brim with love. They can't share, they are possessive & territorial, they are terminally self-oriented. NZ men do not want to face up to this.

    With respect, the issue doesn't concern just men. That is the problem with asking women invasive questions when they go to hospital - many acts of abuse will be overlooked because they will have been committed by women.

    auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 77 posts Report Reply

  • Michael Fitzgerald,

    Mikaere & his families response to this tradgedy is an inspiration and hope that the future will hold better days to come for them and our society as a whole.

    Kerry good point
    "There has actually been research that shows if single parents are supported by their families/friends/communities their children often show BETTER outcomes than trad. nuclear families."

    Words fail me -
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/4157460a11.html

    Since May 2007 • 631 posts Report Reply

  • andrew llewellyn,

    That's Auckland's next mayor in that lineup isn't it?

    Since Nov 2006 • 2073 posts Report Reply

  • Lyndon Hood,

    (as suggested by Family First NZ, For the Sake of Our Children Trust, and the Sensible Sentencing Trust)?

    I really would have considered it if the suggestion had come from someone else. With late support from David Lane of the Society for the Promotion of Community Standards, the guy organising the smacking referendum petition and the Vision Network.

    Though, as a family member of mine apparently remarked, at least they'll shut up for three minutes.

    Actually Scoop also had releases from Barnados, the prison fellowship and Nelson Cathedral supporting the idea, which helps make the event more about everyone's reaction than the organiser's agenda.

    Which agenda, I'll add, appears this one time to actually have elements of usefulness to it.

    And yes, I would have thought it might be better for everyone to stop what they were doing and talk to each other.

    Actually, we did get one pr opposing the action, sugesting people make some noise instead.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1094 posts Report Reply

  • Lyndon Hood,

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/4157460a11.html

    Such sentences had worked to discourage drink-driving, and they would work to cut rates of child abuse too, Mr McVicar said.

    Did we not recently have some bad news about drink driving stats?

    Actually I'd been thinking that if you wanted an prime example of crime where the perpetrators are almost guaranteed not to have evaluated the risks of getting caught and going to jail first, bashing kids would be pretty high on the list.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1094 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    I really would have considered it if the suggestion had come from someone else. With late support from David Lane of the Society for the Promotion of Community Standards, the guy organising the smacking referendum petition and the Vision Network.

    You know what really, really fucks me off?

    Nearly all of those people supported or offered a platform to the "Timaru lady" and her disastrous, dysfunctional, violent ideas about parenting.

    If that case came up this week, do you think they'd be rushing to her side?

    Like hell.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18512 posts Report Reply

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