Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Tragedy into Crisis?

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  • Idiot Savant,

    Sydney radio gave huge airplay to a study late last year that suggested moderate drinking, 3 - 5 standard drinks per night for men, on no more than 5 days a week, was within healthy limits.

    I presume that's the liquor industry's definition of "moderate".

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1711 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    I know a few people who do *choose* to live in South Auckland. Parts of it are quite nice - in fact, come out of Manukau Mall, take a left and within 5 minutes you'll be passing some rather expensive looking houses.

    I wouldn't choose to live in Whanganui - the mayor's a racist bigot, for one thing.

    On the subject of alcohol sale restrictions, has anyone got evidence that they has any effect at all on alcohol related problems? I reckon if the number and hours of bottle shops in poor areas were restricted, all that would do would increase drunk driving as people headed for the "posh" areas to buy more booze. And isn't it a little bit racist/classist to allow Mt Eden to have wall to wall wine merchants and a 24-hour Foodtown, whilst relegating Otahuhu to a modern equivalent of the six-o-clock swill.

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

  • Shep Cheyenne,

    With the exception of dishonesty offences the Cops resolution rates are impressive.

    I note it's resolved, not convictions they measure though.

    Since Oct 2007 • 927 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    "the most recent international crime victimisation survey gave New Zealand a stellar rating for victim support. Best in the world, in fact."

    I've been wondering about the tendency for New Zealanders to complain about things that are, in fact, rather good. I'm starting to wonder if it isn't actually causal. That is, those things are rather good BECAUSE people whinge about them all the time.

    The logical corollary would be things where we are absolutely dire by international standards that nobody complains about, but I can't think of an example off the top of my head.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • Shep Cheyenne,

    "I think National is proposing something similar, but the numbers don't come anywhere near adding up."

    That's where we get away from jails and have the criminals work it off, either in their old jobs, if at all possible, or in other tasks as directed.

    Since Oct 2007 • 927 posts Report Reply

  • Shep Cheyenne,

    Stephen - Free water for industry & general use would be one.

    Since Oct 2007 • 927 posts Report Reply

  • andrew llewellyn,

    The logical corollary would be things where we are absolutely dire by international standards that nobody complains about

    Commercial radio?

    Since Nov 2006 • 2075 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    And isn't it a little bit racist/classist to allow Mt Eden to have wall to wall wine merchants and a 24-hour Foodtown, whilst relegating Otahuhu to a modern equivalent of the six-o-clock swill.

    Well, it certainly explain the quality (or lack thereof) of good chunks of the commentariat. :)

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

  • Caleb D'Anvers,

    The logical corollary would be things where we are absolutely dire by international standards that nobody complains about, but I can't think of an example off the top of my head.

    Housing quality? Journalistic standards? Cricket?

    London SE16 • Since Mar 2008 • 482 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    The thought being that the victims are not further victimised by the failure of the criminal to pay compensation.

    Shep: Don't mean a personal dis here, but every time I hear phrases like "revictimisation of the victims of crime" I don't have a clue what the frak they're talking about. If you really want to get all Oprah here, I guess I'm a 'victim' of the drunken shit who killed my foster sister. But there's no kind of monetary 'compensation' for the death of a human being, and to be blunt I think there's something degraded and degrading about pretending there is.

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

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Housing quality? Journalistic standards? Cricket?

    We complain about all of those things right here.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • dc_red,

    Isn't that the Kiwi way of thinking? We're all entitled to compensation, especially if it's from a big, easy target like the gummint. They're responsible for ensuring I continue to have a comfortable easy life, regardless of what is happening overseas to petrol and food prices, interest rates etc, and for paying me heaps if anything goes wrong.

    A wise person on PAS, on a thread many moons ago, observed that in the economic sphere, the NZ mentality is often to "privatize the profits, and socialize the losses." And to present both outcomes as god-given rights too, I expect.

    Oil Patch, Alberta • Since Nov 2006 • 706 posts Report Reply

  • rodgerd,

    We complain about all of those things right here.

    This is arguments. Complaints is down the hall.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 512 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Williams,

    __Sydney radio gave huge airplay to a study late last year that suggested moderate drinking, 3 - 5 standard drinks per night for men, on no more than 5 days a week, was within healthy limits.__

    I presume that's the liquor industry's definition of "moderate".

    I actually don't recall but I felt better for it...

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2273 posts Report Reply

  • rodgerd,

    AFAIC, a good start would be actually enforcing the licensing laws we already have on the books.

    Well, the police try, but apparently the courts disagree with them when they suggest that, e.g. serving spirits by the tray could constitute a breach of the licence by promoting irresponsible drinking.

    Similarly HANZ are ready to heap abuse on any attempts at enforcement. And, as Russell has noted in the past, are happy to offer ample backing to at least one MP who likes to pitch himself as a key coalition partner for would-be governments.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 512 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Williams,

    The influence of the hotels lobby here is scary. Late last year an independent member of the NSW Parliament and Lord Mayor of Sydney, Clover Moore, pushed through changes to the licencing laws to reduce the cost of a liquor licence. Her stated goal was to enable smaller venues to develop by reducing the costs of licencing - the logic is that the higher the costs, the more likely booze-barns dominate. The backlash was significant - partly because it was also linked to campaign finance reform and guess where some of the largest donations came from?

    It's certainly true that the lane-way culture of Melbourne, where licences are much cheaper particularly for venues with live music, is far better than Sydney's penchant for huge, obscenely-themed glitzy wanker-bars or older pubs (many of which are very pleasant I might add). RSL's and clubs generally are also much more common in Sydney than anywhere I lived in NZ...

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2273 posts Report Reply

  • A S,

    Perhaps the problem the police face is that people expect them to, well, police things. The police are quite vocal about telling people not to take matters into their own hands and to call the police to deal with it.

    That is fair enough and could be seen as a reasonable constraint on the citizenry, when there is a law enforcement agency there to do that, but at some point, surely that turns into a police obligation to deal with things quickly and efficiently?

    Ideally that would be in a way where the victim of the crime is not left to bleed to death while the cavalry sort themselves out some distance away. I'd argue that if the police continually tell people not to do the job of the police, at least the police should try to make a reasonable effort of doing it.....

    The man who shot Mr Singh looks very much like a cold blooded killer, and hopefully he will spend a very long time behind bars, along with his buddies. But in no way is leaving someone to bleed, when they could have been

    a) gotten out, or
    b) given first aid to try to stabilise a wound,

    a reasonable action on the part of the police. In this instance, the police failed Mr Singh, and in fact they screwed up, pure and simple.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2007 • 269 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    AS:

    As good keyboard commando, what action do you suggest the police should have taken?

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2210 posts Report Reply

  • A S,

    I dunno. How about, not leave some poor bastard to bleed to death?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2007 • 269 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    Like I said - A keyboard commando.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2210 posts Report Reply

  • A S,

    Like I said, at some point there is an obligation on the police to safe-guard the public. If that makes me a loony, so be it.

    As for the keyboard commando thing, let me pose you this, why should anyone have faith in a police force who apparently will show up to investigate your murder, but won't necessarily guarantee that they will do anything much to stop you dying? It doesn't sound like much to be thankful for to me.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2007 • 269 posts Report Reply

  • Shep Cheyenne,

    Craig - Point taken cash doesn't replace lives. I also see a benifit for the criminal in paying penance for their wrong doing, not just 'doing time'. With a few exceptions I'm against prisons.

    Since Oct 2007 • 927 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    As for the keyboard commando thing, let me pose you this, why should anyone have faith in a police force who apparently will show up to investigate your murder, but won't necessarily guarantee that they will do anything much to stop you dying? It doesn't sound like much to be thankful for to me.

    I'm just not that inclined to make sweeping statements about the police on the basis of this one case where we don't yet really know what happened. Was is policy? Cock-up? Communication failure?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22747 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    A slightly different perspective on this one, coming from experience in the Fire Service. Emergency services personnel have it drummed into them again, and again, and again, ad nauseum, that they're zero use to anyone if they get themselves seriously injured or killed. Anyone who's done even a basic first aid course has heard the same thing - your safety is paramount, don't get yourself into trouble by rushing in without evaluating the situation and minimising risks to yourself. I first heard that message when I was 11 and in St John Ambulance cadets, and have lost count of the number of times I've heard it since.

    The Police had it right. They waited until they had the tools to go in and be as safe as possible in the circumstances. If you've been sent to a scene where shots have been fired, are you going to be just champing at the bit to go rushing in without a ballistic vest and a firearm? I, personally, wouldn't be. I'd want a gun in my hand, and more people with guns very nearby. My life matters to me, even if all the "keyboard commandos" (love that turn of phrase, Tom) don't give a flying fornication about my safety.

    On one first aid course, run by a Station Officer from out around Maramarua/Mangatangi, the instructor recounted a car crash his brigade had been to. Car vs pole, lines down, person trapped. On arrival, they discovered that the lines were indeed down. Right across the car, in which the unresponsive-to-voice driver was clearly visible. They were also possibly live. Did they go in all gung-ho, using the various equipment available to jerry-rig a way of getting the lines clear? No, they waited. For an hour. Until the power authority confirmed that power to that sector had been shut down. Then they went in, confirmed that the person was dead, and waited for Serious Crash to do their thing. Turns out the victim died of a heart attack, which was probably why they crashed in the first place, but the rescuers didn't know that. All they knew was that their lives and safety were a higher priority. It sucks, but it's a consequence of the officers-in-charge wanting to return to the station with the same number of people with which they left.

    I emailed Kerre and thanked her for her column. We need more commentators to recognise that putting on the blue uniform doesn't negate one's right to expect to go home at the end of their shift. It was all the more pleasing to see it in the Herald, which has been displaying a distinctly anti-police slant for rather a long time now.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Nick D'Angelo,

    The fact that the police may be wonderful people doing a difficult job is neither here nor there. The issue is that they are useless. They need to either shit or get off the pot.

    I second that.

    As (a) good keyboard commando, what action do you suggest the police should have taken?

    Get in there and assist Mr Singh who was bleeding to death. If Singh was a Cop do you really think they would have waited 30 minutes?
    Pending any inquiry, it seems to me that they arsed around following 'protocol' because ... because ... what?
    Did they think the family were lying when they said the robbers/gunman had fled? Did they think the gunman had staged the robbery as a pretext to lure the cops so he could kill them? According to 'protocol' that's exactly what they had to believe until they were certain the crime scene was clear.
    And meanwhile a man lay bleeding to death. Honestly, I do expect more from our Police. I expect them to show common sense and be able to assess a situation quickly.
    The obvious lesson from this is that if you ever find yourself confronted with an armed offender don't for gawds sake tell the Police he has a gun. Because you'll be on your own until they feel it's 'safe' to intervene. Tell them he had a knife and they'll come busting in. Tell them he's got a gun and they'll form a perimeter.

    Asian victims

    This has been going on for years and the media won't talk about it. 2 years ago I intervened in a driveby bag snatching in Manukau that was exactly the same as the one that has just left a woman dead. I really thought it would make the news (the incident, not my minor role) but it didn't. I guessed the cops didn't want the incident reported for fear of copycat activity.

    Too late for that now, as it's happening every week. And yes, they pick on the Chinese because they think they will submit or not report it.

    Simon Laan • Since May 2008 • 162 posts Report Reply

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