Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: The next bylaw will ban irony

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  • 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 • 1147 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 • 1147 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford,

    Well, I guess it does depend which gang we're talking about.

    True, the storm troopers where borstal boys from Otara.
    Some of those motor cycle gangs liked the odd jug but. And jail was where they galvanized.

    Since Nov 2006 • 2746 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 • 2396 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    In Timaru and New Plymouth you have the Road Knights and the Magogs respectively -- largely white guys with their roots in the "bikie" era.

    The Magogs have a website, call themselves a "motorcyle club" and are kind of respectable. The Road Knights, not so much.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18893 posts Report Reply

  • andrew llewellyn,

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

    Agreed - my only beef is that I usually miss anything good, because Maori TV programme details do not appear in the MySky guide screen.

    Since Nov 2006 • 2073 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock,

    The Magogs have a website, call themselves a "motorcyle club" and are kind of respectable. The Road Knights, not so much.

    I do need to finess my last comment a little wrt 'all established gangs being criminals'.

    It's not impossible that an independent group like the Magogs could have gone 'respectable' as the core members get older and less inclined towards hell-raising. However, claims like this do need to be examined closely. The HA have been running a sucessful PR campaign along these lines for decades - 'just a club for like-minded guys to get together and ride bikes. All that crime stuff is just nasty slurs from The Man'. Ya RLY.

    If there's ever a serious bikie turf war between the majors down that way (not very likely, but it might happen), they'll either be patched-over by the winner or cease to exist.

    The Road Knights are strongly rumoured to have a lot of connections with some very unpleasant people - the Harris gang in Chch and SI white power groups, for example.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2396 posts Report Reply

  • Hadyn Green,

    The Magogs have a website, call themselves a "motorcyle club" and are kind of respectable.

    Named after the Biblical giants?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2081 posts Report Reply

  • Rogan Polkinghorne,

    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.

    Completely agree, having had some more than limited experience with the breed - you can't choose your family - funny to think that I know of people from other more 'mainstream' groups who occupy much the same territory too...

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

  • BenWilson,

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

    I agree that it's not logical and probably won't work. I'm presuming public safety is the 'argument' behind the ban, rather than just because Whanganui folk don't like the look of it.

    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?

    If there's any point at all, it would be that it would turn 'I don't think that banning patches will "work"' to 'I know that banning patches didn't "work"'. And I'm entirely open to the idea that we could be surprised. There could be a drop in gang related violence in the banned areas. That's not something to ignore (if it happens).

    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.)

    Heh, that's probably wise since if you wouldn't say I wasn't asking for it, then that kind of implies you think I was. I shouldn't have used the negative. So you think it wouldn't be asking for it to wear a gang's patches in Whanganui, despite not only not being in the Black Power, but also not even being the least bit dark? I think in theory you are right, but I would not risk it.

    Mind you, I would not wear a police uniform anywhere. That gang would get real bitter if they saw me in their patches.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8540 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock,

    Named after the Biblical giants?

    Yes, but I'm pretty sure it's 'as viewed through the filter of Irish mythology', in this particular case.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2396 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart,

    Heh, that's probably wise since if you wouldn't say I wasn't asking for it, then that kind of implies you think I was. I shouldn't have used the negative. So you think it wouldn't be asking for it to wear a gang's patches in Whanganui, despite not only not being in the Black Power, but also not even being the least bit dark? I think in theory you are right, but I would not risk it.

    Actually, I missed the negative entirely; I would not say you deserved to have violence committed upon you, even if it was quite predictable that you would, because no-one deserves to be beaten up for what they're wearing. I wouldn't feel as sorry for you as I otherwise might, because it was predictable, but it still wouldn't be deserved.

    However, given that "asking for it" in quotemarks is usually used of situations vis a vis women and sexual assault where the phrase is entirely inappropriate, and we've just had a whole protracted thread on the matter of clothes-wearing and the signals it sends in that context, I wasn't sure it was the best phrasing. TL;DR: I read too much into things.

    Amherst, MA • Since Nov 2006 • 2093 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    I'm presuming public safety is the 'argument' behind the ban, rather than just because Whanganui folk don't like the look of it.

    I was discussing this law, and Gio's excellent crack upthread, with some colleagues today. One of them supported the ban, simply because it would annoy gang members. And I think that is definitely a motivation for people who support this law. Gang members swagger around in their regalia, let's take them down a peg by stripping it off them.

    This law isn't based on any sort of rational policy or consideration of actions and consequences. It's about the realm of the symbolic.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2967 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Lucy, I saw your women "asking for it" angle, although it's a pretty common phrase in other contexts too. It was semi-deliberate, to show that people feeling intimidated from wearing whatever they like is a pretty slack situation. That is not, btw, an argument for the city to just take over and use police to stop all people wearing their gear. It's more to show that there was a problem, that it's not just imaginary. These patches are causing strife, or at least they are being used as excuses for strife. Perhaps the strife will continue, since it is most likely driven by underlying causes. But then again, perhaps there will be a decline.

    In many ways it's like the laws against offensive language. They are, to some extent, worth having, because offensive language is very often a precursor to violence, and is certainly used to intimidate people and whip up anger. If it gives the police an ability to immediately defuse a silly situation from going sillier, on account of something which is basically pretty silly in itself, then they are sometimes helping matters quite a lot. They can take the person using the language away, give them time to cool down, then arse about trying to prosecute something so inconsequential, or just let the person off with a warning. Assuredly it can't prevent the person from going straight back to the scene, but it might help.

    So my feeling is kind of "lets wait and see" on this one. Just as laws against offensive language haven't stop wild arguments turning into brutal and/or lethal fights, I doubt the patch ban will do much. Not enough for the human rights angle to be ignored.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8540 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart,

    It's more to show that there was a problem, that it's not just imaginary.

    Thing is, though: what women wear has bugger-all to do with their chances of being assaulted. If the analogy holds, what gang members wear will have very little effect on violent crime. If it does have an effect, then it's a bad analogy.

    Amherst, MA • Since Nov 2006 • 2093 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    The Road Knights are strongly rumoured to have a lot of connections with some very unpleasant people - the Harris gang in Chch and SI white power groups, for example.

    Yeah, they're very much in the mould of the unpleasant Canterbury white-trash gang. Every neighbourhood had a least a little one of those when when I grew up in Christchurch. In the year I spent in Timaru, I heard a few things about the Road Knights. Not nice.

    Whereas, I feel bound to say, the Magogs spared me a beating one night when I arguably deserved one in New Plymouth ...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18893 posts Report Reply

  • Jeremy Eade,

    Thanks for the references Rich Lock. The mystery of gangs is how the fuck do you stop them forming or how do you reform them.

    auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 1112 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie,

    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.

    Just to endorse that, from my own brief but v. unpleasant experience - when things turn a little sticky with the law/neighbours, the staunch & swaggering 'bros' quickly duck behind the shield of their women & children.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 3510 posts Report Reply

  • Carlos,

    Here in Denmark, one of the conservative parties tried to drum up some support by floating a law banning burkhas, which unlike the patches ban, is punishing the perceived victims. Polls immediately showed 65% support, but the idea has quietly fizzled as people wrestled with the practical issues of a ban.
    Sadly in both countries the issue of having legislative dress codes being a slippery human rights slope doesn't loom large.

    The authorities here are having some success however fighting the gangs in what they call Operation Al Capone, where they're nailing them again and again on tax and other violations secondary to their apparently dodgy business models.

    CPH.DK • Since Mar 2009 • 27 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18893 posts Report Reply

  • Thomas Watts,

    Gawd.

    I see your 'Gawd' and raise you a 'Yeesh'.

    There appears to be very little distinction between Laws the talkback host and Laws the mayor...

    At least in Auckland we have a nice mayor.

    Auckland • Since Feb 2008 • 7 posts Report Reply

  • Alec Morgan,

    The most troublesome gang in Whanganui is surely the one led by Mayor Laws, namely the council (excepting those members not agreeing wth the insignia ban). If this bylaw is resisted, all sorts of Police resources may be tied up.
    It is no barrel of fun having close contact with most patched gangs but the mincing Mr Law’s petty authoritarianism should not be supported just because the targets are unpopular. Dare I say it, but who will be next?

    ...also no ones mentioned the “Filthy Few”, a highly descriptive old fashioned gang moniker.

    Tokerau Beach • Since Nov 2006 • 104 posts Report Reply

  • ScottY,

    I suspect Laws actually enjoys offending people, and thrives on the publicity. His is an ego out of control.

    This unfortunately gives the voters of Wanganui the impression he gets things done. Which is why they keep voting the clown back in.

    Yorke of The Atatu • Since Feb 2009 • 790 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    At least in Auckland we have a nice mayor.

    Oh for the irony tag.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16677 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart,

    I suspect Lhaws actually enjoys offending people, and thrives on the publicity. His is an ego out of control.

    One would hope being, as Russell put it so descriptively, a flaming cock to twelve-year-olds - with a big dash of thinly-veiled racism to boot - might get him some actual consequences.

    (I actually suspect he believed his own bollocks about the teacher putting them up to it and was responding to the teacher, which is still totally unacceptable as well as idiotic, but might explain the extent of the dickishness towards schoolkids. Or, you know. He's just that much of a dick.)

    Amherst, MA • Since Nov 2006 • 2093 posts Report Reply

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