Both Sides Of The Gun

It was 4am on Saturday21st April. The busy streets of Kings Cross in Sydney were full of the usual crowds out for a good night.

What happened next would be the talk of Sydney for the next week.

I won’t go into all the details, as I’m sure most of you know them already.

The short story is a carload of teenagers in a stolen car were driving down Bayswater Rd, the main street of Kings Cross, however, not only were they driving down the street, but also down the crowded footpath, hitting pedestrians. The end result of this chaos was that the police opened fire on the vehicle, seriously wounding the driver and front seat passenger, almost killing the driver in fact, then dragging the other passengers from the vehicle and arresting them, using what video footage shows to be rather excessive force. Adding to the controversy, the almost fatally wounded driver was 14 years old, and indigenous.

Bullet holes in the stolen cars windscreen

There has been a lot of talk of blame since, which is’ I suppose expected considering the circumstances. However, it is expected that those in positions of authority would not point the finger of blame, police and politicians would wait until investigations were undertaken before laying blame upon someone.

Enter NSW Premier, Barry O’Farrell.

Understandably concerned that gun crime, and deaths by firearms have dramatically increased since the Coalition Government in NSW came into power in March 2011, Barry wanted to cover some ass….

As an interesting sidenote to this, the new Qld Premier, Campbell Newman said yesterday that now there is a Coalition govt in Qld there will be no soft approach, and indicating that bikie gangs should be worried. Quite the opposite it seems…. The Robina Shopping Centre shooting in Qld, and the drastic escalation in gun crime in NSW seem to show that the Coalition are not up to the task in either state, and that those who commit these crimes are relishing the new Coalition governments.

Barry O'Farrell explains the direction gun crime heads under a Coalition Govt

Anyway, Barry O’Farrell, keen to defuse the situation and calm things down, politely told the public on national TV, “I as a parent, know where my 14 year old is. Before we seek to blame police, we’ve got to look at ourselves.”

Here is a link to the ABC’s 7 30 report on the saga, including Barry’s words of wisdom.

I have never seen a Premier lay the blame for the crime of a child at the feet of parents before, and for bloody good reason too.

For Barry O’Farrell to compare his 14 year old to these kids is just downright insulting. To then point the finger of blame at the parents, based on that insulting comparison is an absolute disgrace.

I am sure that Barry’s 14 year old living in Sydney’s leafy North Shore has so much in common with the 14 year old indigenous boy from Mt Druitt. Their living environments must be so similar….

I am also sure, that Barry’s child would have a similar group of friends as well. After all, it is remarkable how occasionally attending a public school in one of Sydney’s poorest suburbs will result in a child having a similar circle of friends to that of a child attending a posh private school in Sydney’s North Shore. Not only would their friends have been remarkably similar, but I’m more than sure that Barry’s child would also face the same peer group pressures daily.

Of course financially there would be a lot in common between the O’Farrell household, and the likely housing commission home of the 14 year old shot by police. I am sure Barry O’Farrell’s receives a similar amount of pocket money, or allowance each week. I’m sure that the 14 year old driving the car faced a tough decision between stealing a car for a joyride, and going to a cafe and then to the movies with his friends.

Does Barry O’Farrell live in the same world as the rest of us? I wonder….

I do not know the details of the 14 year old driver’s family. I don’t believe his name has even been released yet. I do however know a little about the area where this boy was from, and also a little about the struggles many of the families in the area face.

Barry, I am sure many of the parents in the area would love to know where their 14 year old child is 24hrs a day, but it is safe to say this is often difficult.

Many of these children come from broken homes and live with a single parent. This single parent, often a victim of domestic violence struggles to feed the family either on welfare payments or often working a graveyard shift in a dead end job.

Forced to leave their children alone, unable to afford a babysitter, they head off to work all night in a service station so you can put fuel in your luxury car at 1am on your way to pick your child up from their friend’s house. Maybe they work in an all night bottle shop so you won’t run out of wine at your dinner party…

Maybe they just clean your office Barry, scrubbing your toilet while you get a good nights sleep on silk sheets.

Maybe the people living out in Sydney’s Western Suburbs should contact their Minister and register a complaint. It must be comforting for those on struggle street to know that there is a Government Minister who understands them, cares about their concerns, and is not going to judge them.

The only problem is, the Minister For Western Sydney is none other than Barry O’Farrell himself.

I am not sure which award Barry O’Farrell is trying to win with his comments, Father Of The Year, or Asshole Of The Year…. Either way, the state, and certainly the people in the Western Suburbs deserve better.

Luckily the week finished with some words of wisdom from Labors’ deputy leader Linda Burney. Her interview on 7 30 showed that it is possible to discuss this issue sensibly and realistically, without all the spin and finger pointing.

I hope the Minister was taking note.

14 comments on “Both Sides Of The Gun

  1. I hope the Minister was taking note.

    I’m sure he isn’t wixxy. He’s out and about diverting attention from his government.

    It’s easy to make judgements without knowing the details. And it’s not like 14yo boys and girls don’t lie to their parents about where they’re going on Saturday night or sneak out unbeknown to said parents.

    Nor is it unknown for teenagers these days to have friends whom their parents have never met or have met and disapprove. Either way, unless your child is in your sight every minute of every day, you have no idea what they’re up to.

    My first reaction, to be honest, was to think, “You little bugger!” And sadly that’s quite likely what happened. He was being a little bugger. I hope he lives to be a big bugger with a lot more sense than testosterone.

    When we first came to the SE, their had been a recent tragedy in one of the towns. A girl had snuck out of her bedroom window to go to a dance in a neighboring town, despite being forbidden to go.

    On the way home, the car she was traveling in struck the back of a truck. There were no survivors

    When the police arrived at the truant girl’s house with the news that their daughter had died, the parents refused to believe it. Then they went into her room.

    They were good parents, but just the same their daughter died because they didn’t know she’d snuck out to go to a dance.

    They both took to the drink.

  2. That is a tragic story Jane

    I think it is all too easy to point the finger at the parents, I was a little bugger when I was a kid but it certainly was no fault of my parents.

    I think Barry, is all about diversion, he has been from the moment he got in govt.

    Thanks for the feedback Jane 🙂

  3. Wixxy, it is completely unknown how children will act and react. I took my son out of school and home schooled him for one and a half years, because I was in fear of his life. There was every chance that he would have committed suicide if I hadn’t.

    When son was 17yrs old I received a frantic phone call from the aunt of one of his friends trying to locate this boy. This friend also age 17yrs was later found in a bush reserve, he had hanged himself. He was wearing his father’s wedding ring. This friend had failed his TAFE course and didn’t want to admit it to his family.

    My son, as above was 17yrs old, he arranged the funeral on behalf of the family as the family were too distraught to do so.

  4. Ive always thought that when pollies start talking law and order and taking a tougher line on crime its a sign that they have no policies on anything else. So they smoke screen everyone with law and order issues.

  5. LOVO, one of the topics which I feel very strongly about. When the politicians start bleating about “being too soft on”, or “should come down hard on”..they are talking cr*p.

    For example, in the Netherlands criminals are placed in 5 Star hotels..full security, but provided with all the benefits and especially access to education. In a number states of the US they have the death penalty.

    The Netherlands comes in at around 40th for murders and the USA comes in at around 6th.

    There is no proof at all that punishment acts as a deterrent, but rather it is the likelihood of being caught. **thank you to my criminal law lecturer David Heilpern.

  6. My former home, Port Augusta, has a large Indigenous population.

    Each day when driving over the bridge in Summer I found delight in watching the young Aboriginal boys swinging and jumping off the jetty. The smiles on their faces were contagious.

    A new motel has been built next to the jetty and Aboriginal kids have now been banned from the area.

    I cannot see what harm they are doing.

    Most white kids had an air-conditioned home to sit in all day. Some had swimming pools. Those little Aboriginal kids had the jetty and the sea. Banning them was a disgrace.

    Obviously the town council didn’t want the white tourists staying in the motel to be offended seeing these little kids at play.

    Yep, it’s 2012. This crap still goes on.

  7. Roswell, we can start with the Mayor of Port Augusta, but last time I spoke ill of her at the Café I came under some sustained attack from some of her supporters. And there’s me thinking that rednecks wouldn’t be interested in this place.

  8. Jane, she’s trying to do what PJK said of Howard. Will have to be carried out in a pine box.

    The last time I saw her it looked like she doesn’t have long to wait.

  9. I don’t know Wixxy, but I think that the side of the gun that you fail to consider here is the police side, they could not be expected to just stand back and do nothing as pedestrians were being mown down.

  10. Iain, I think that’d be a post on its own and I doubt you’d get an argument from Wixxy on that.

    BTW, why did your parents call you Iain with two iis? My iPad doesn’t like it. 😉

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