Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Stop the Enabling

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  • Jono,

    The Nat Rad coverage this morning caused me to swear at my steering wheel. I cannot imagine any situation that would cause me to hit my son in the face, I just simply cannot. He is only six months old and no doubt will in coming years (if anything like his stubborn and argumentative parents) cause us great trial. But punching him in the face for anything? Inconceivable.

    Whangarei • Since Oct 2008 • 20 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    In court, Mason declared he had entered "angry dad mode" after the younger boy had crashed his bike.

    OK, there's nothing wrong with being angry at your children. But since you're the adult in that relationship it's also your responsibility to chill the hell out. You're not always going to get it 110% right, but another thing adults are supposed to do is own their shit.

    I don't mean to sound like a pompous git, but what's so damn hard about that?

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

  • Ian MacKay,

    Does it seem a bit strange that a reasonable parent should take his four-year old and two-year old biking in the middle of the city? Huh?
    Also strange that Saun Plunkett would keep calling it the Anti-smacking Law instead of the Child Protection Law.
    The proven fact remains that an adult punched his son in the face and is held to account. good. YES to the referendum!

    Bleheim • Since Nov 2006 • 498 posts Report Reply

  • Christopher Dempsey,

    You're not always going to get it 110% right, but another thing adults are supposed to do is own their shit.

    I had to re-read this sentence twice - perhaps an emphasis on own would make the meaning clearer?

    Parnell / Tamaki-Auckland… • Since Sep 2008 • 659 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    You're not always going to get it 110% right, but another thing adults are supposed to do is own their shit.

    Indeed. And it's not always easy. But Mason's lack of insight into what he did is quite troubling. He complained at the time that police weighed up whether it was safe to send his children home with him. It seems it was a reasonable question given his state of mind.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22756 posts Report Reply

  • Sam F,

    It was different story in January last year, of course. Back then, almost every media organisation in the country led with the canard that a man had first been warned by the police, and then charged, for "flicking" his son on the ear. The source for this claim was Mason himself, who was very voluble in his indignation.

    We now know for sure that was not the case. So why on earth is the Herald's story this morning headlined 'Ear-flick' father guilty of assault. Wouldn't 'Father who punched son in the face found guilty of assault' be a more appropriate headline?

    I'd thought at first this was angling for Your Views, but they've actually taken a different tack there.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1609 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    The sooner the Herald goes to tabloid size and removes the physical dissonance with actual content, the better. Lets face it - it's an under-resourced tabloid whose journalists largely interrview Google and kiwiblog, and with with the same sort of editorial policies as other Thatcherite tabloids like the Sun.

    With the Herald, it is all about managing your expectations.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2213 posts Report Reply

  • Gareth Ward,

    Sue Bradford was really good with Paul Henry this morning - calm, rational, reasoned. And to her great credit, she didn't rise to Paul's "it would have happened without your law change" bait and simply said "yes, I imagine it would have been assault regardless". A lot of pollies would have looked to take the kudos of "their" legislation I feel.

    And she kept running the line that the law change and resulting discussion has made people think twice about assaulting a child (with apparent backing from recent surveys) and that is all you could hope for as no law can ever stop assault occurring by itself.

    Auckland, NZ • Since Mar 2007 • 1727 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    Poetry from My Views:

    The media just loves a good headline. Of course a conviction is appropriate, you should be convicted for punching anyone in the face let alone a 4 year old! I have 2 daughters aged 11 & 6 and when my 11 year old heard about the anti smacking law, she thought she could get away with blue murder! I soon put a end to that. If my daughters play up they get 3 warnings after that that get 2 options 1. A smack on the hand with a plastic spatula then they get a cuddle afterwards. Or 2 they are grounded for the day.They always choose the smack on the hand. As the punishment is over and done with. Is this wrong?

    I think we need a "spatula followed by cuddle" amendment to Bradford's law.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    'Ear-flick' father guilty of assault for punching son seems a perfectly reasonable headline.

    'Ear-flick' father guilty of assault not so much.

    Why would you have different headlines on the story when you're reading it as a one-page instead of a two-page story?

    Also, the whole splitting stories over two pages is just to ploy to juke the page impression stats for the advertisers, right?

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3202 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    A smack on the hand with a plastic spatula then they get a cuddle afterwards.

    And so a new generation of BDSM enthusiasts is formed.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    Also, the whole splitting stories over two pages is just to ploy to juke the page impression stats for the advertisers, right?

    I reckon so. Don't quite see how they buy it. But then, does anyone really read banner ads and buy the wonderful things advertised...

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • dave crampton,

    why on earth is the Herald's story this morning headlined 'Ear-flick' father guilty of assault. Wouldn't 'Father who punched son in the face found guilty of assault' be a more appropriate headline?

    well, what Graeme said, but has the NZH done much appropriate lately - let alone accuracy - when any topic that is seen to be about smacking or Rankin - and they *do* want to sell papers.

    BTW Bradford did claim that there is evidence that her law has reduced violence about children? Tui ad, anyone?

    welli • Since Jan 2007 • 144 posts Report Reply

  • Eddie Clark,

    A smack on the hand with a plastic spatula then they get a cuddle afterwards.

    And so a new generation of BDSM enthusiasts is formed.

    Lolsome. Possibly BDSM enthusiasts who also associate baking utensils with BDSM...

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 273 posts Report Reply

  • Brickley Paiste,

    What I found most depressing about the Herald piece this morning -- and what I have most depressing about the whole 'smacking debate' all along -- is that the effect of the law (a repeal of a defence) was explained by way of quote from Sue Bradford herself.

    ALL THIS LAW DID WAS REMOVE A DEFENCE. That was the name of the law. Read the bloody title. I think that is secure enough that it can be stated as fact, without quoting anyone. The law isn't about using violence or not using violence. It's about how or whether we excuse or justify it.

    I sent umpteen letters to the editor saying "look, if we repealed self-defence as an absolute defence to murder, would it be the "anti-murder" law?" No. Murder would still be illegal. You just couldn't excuse intentional killing in the same way anymore.

    Is this complicated? Am I on crazy pills? How did King Canute cope?

    Since Mar 2009 • 164 posts Report Reply

  • Eddie Clark,

    Dave:

    BTW Bradford did claim that there is evidence that her law has reduced violence about children? Tui ad, anyone?

    Tui billboard if it happened, but it didn't, sorry. She quite clearly said to Paul Henry that her law change was about addressing the culture in New Zealand that its ok to raise your children with hitting being an acceptable form of correction. Obviously this is going to be a long term culture shift, which takes time.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 273 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    A smack on the hand with a plastic spatula then they get a cuddle afterwards.

    And so a new generation of BDSM enthusiasts is formed.

    Lolsome. Possibly BDSM enthusiasts who also associate baking utensils with BDSM...

    Sorry, guys, I don't find it funny. Perhaps because of the number of times any BDSMer will be told they MUST have been abused as a child.

    That's not how it works. And it gets kind of old.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4650 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    I was out for a jog last night when some middle aged idiot in an SUV missed me by about 2mm - I literally felt his wing mirror brush my nose - coming out of a gas station at high speed. When I yelled he was an "fucking idiot" he didn't apologise. He stopped in the middle of New North Road, got out, and literally twisted his body with the effort as he screamed abuse at me. He worked himself into such a paroxysm that he started to advance on me. I am sure if it wasn't for the fact that as he got closer he discerned I was younger and bigger than him he would have assaulted me.

    New Zealanders are in such deep denial about how we are an incredibly violent and passive-aggressive society, and that is nowhere as obvious as in our attitude towards our children.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2213 posts Report Reply

  • larryq,

    Mike Hosking had a most amazing rant this morning. Having interviewed his colleague in Chch, where there was much talk about the punch and how reasonable the judge had been, Hoskings then went on to read his pre-prepared statement about how stupid the anti-smacking law was. It's like he didn't even consider his own interview.

    I agree wholeheartedly with your blog Russell. It's interesting that David Farrar has said nothing about the conviction yet. He's generally quick to comment when the argument's going Family First way, a client of his company. I guess he'll come out with a different slant than hard news?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 24 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    And so a new generation of BDSM enthusiasts is formed.

    I feel compelled to recall the Dimitry Martin sketch entitled "BDSM couple whose safe word is BILL PULLMAN". You can probably all write the rest in your heads.

    But yes, my point was in fact that spatula followed by cuddle is far more damaging than spatula alone.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • JackElder,

    Does it seem a bit strange that a reasonable parent should take his four-year old and two-year old biking in the middle of the city?

    No. No, it doesn't.

    Wellington • Since Mar 2008 • 708 posts Report Reply

  • Tess Rooney,

    Does it seem a bit strange that a reasonable parent should take his four-year old and two-year old biking in the middle of the city?

    I completely agree with this observation. There would be no way to control both children by one parent and given the amount of traffic it's just madness to do something like that.

    Four and two years olds do not always listen, let alone preschoolers on bikes zooming off at warp speed. It shows a true lack of judgement to take them into the city.

    Since May 2009 • 267 posts Report Reply

  • Eddie Clark,

    Emma:

    Apologies. I wasn't intending to say childhood abuse = BDSM preference, and if that's the way it came across I apologise.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 273 posts Report Reply

  • dave crampton,

    Tui billboard if it happened, but it didn't, sorry. She quite clearly said to Paul Henry

    I didn't mean that in the context of what she may or may not have said to Paul Henry today. It's been her constant line for some time. So, Tui billboard. It did happen.

    welli • Since Jan 2007 • 144 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    Eddie:

    Tui billboard if it happened, but it didn't, sorry. She quite clearly said to Paul Henry that her law change was about addressing the culture in New Zealand

    That's what she said today . I had understood Dave to be suggesting that at other times Bradford had said the amendment to section 59 was about reducing violence against children.

    Brickley:

    ALL THIS LAW DID WAS REMOVE A DEFENCE. That was the name of the law. Read the bloody title. I think that is secure enough that it can be stated as fact, without quoting anyone. The law isn't about using violence or not using violence. It's about how or whether we excuse or justify it.

    I sent umpteen letters to the editor saying "look, if we repealed self-defence as an absolute defence to murder, would it be the "anti-murder" law?" No. Murder would still be illegal. You just couldn't excuse intentional killing in the same way anymore.

    The title was the Crimes (Substituted Section 59) Amendment Act. The original name of the bill - the Crimes (Abolition of Force as a Justification for Child Discipline) Amendment Bill - wasn't really much better for the argument, either (people weren't using force as a justification for child discipline, but child discipline as a justification for force).

    Before the amendment passed, we had a law that said assault is a crime, but (implicitly) if that assault is a parental smack, then it is not a crime.

    It is currently the case that we have a law that says that assault (and murder/manslaughter etc.) are crimes, but if that assault/murder is in self defence then it is not a crime.

    If there was a proposed law to repeal the defence of self-defence, I imagine people would call it the anti-self defence bill. Because the law would be making self-defence (something then legal) into something illegal - just as when we passed a law making parental smacking (something then legal), into something illegal.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3202 posts Report Reply

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