This must be David Penberthy’s finest moment:
It appears to be mandatory to describe the random, mindless violence we have seen in pubs and on footpaths around the nation as “alcohol-fuelled” violence. I hate this term. A more appropriate term would be scumbag-fuelled violence, as the focus on alcohol lets the scumbags off the hook.
There are tens of thousands of Australians who frequently engage in what those abstemious folks in the health lobby describe as “dangerous” drinking. They do so without sending anyone to hospital, or to an early grave. I am one of them. So is almost everyone I know. For me, “dangerous” drinking brings with it the risk of winding up in a karaoke bar and singing a woeful version of Air Supply’s All Out Of Love or having a savage argument with my mate Darien about the result of the 1978 SANFL grand final. This is the kind of thing which happens to the overwhelming majority of Australians when they drink to what the experts call “dangerous” levels. They end up having a dangerously good time, where the only real danger is that somebody might die laughing.
The reason why the authorities are loathe to target actual criminality – as opposed to alcohol – is because they are lazy and gutless. Better to target the majority with nuisance regulation and wring your hands when violent events occur than to actually arrest violent criminals and throw them in gaol for a long, long time.* Better to crap on about over-crowding in prisons than to build new ones. Better to throw people who are no physical risk to the community in gaol and maximise those KPIs than to do the hard yards than protect the community. Better to annoy law-abiding citizens than take on the left-legal establishment that is well-resourced and articulate in its (misguided) views.
Why not pass laws that stipulate that any person who assaults an individual that results in death is guilty of the crime of murder and will spend at least 20 years in gaol? Further state that any judge who is unhappy about enforcing that law can resign.
Instead what we’re getting is nonsense like this:
As Andrew of Randwick (who sent me the picture above) says:
On first reading, you think “Oh good they are keeping control of the drunken louts and hooligans” by proposing these zones – which they promise the police will enforce. Thus I, along with my wife and young daughter, can be assured of a trouble free picnic down at the beach.
But on deeper consideration, one thinks about:
1) So because there are 0.1% of the population that can’t handle their alcohol, the other 99.9% have to go without. So it is no beer, or a glass of wine, with our picnic. On Australia Day.
2) Will the 0.1% drink anyway? Yes, based on last year’s evidence. Down at Bronte Beach late evening on Australia day there was a group of ten or so drinking away (well passed inebriation) and leaving all their intact and broken glass bottles for someone else to pick up. No police in sight. Perhaps the police had been so busy in the day checking thousands of innocent picnickers that there was no overtime left in the budget.
So is it right that the vast majority of the population (99.9%) are deprived on their liberties just to try and stop a handful from abusing their rights? Why don’t the police just target the handful to begin with and enforce the laws on public drunkenness and misbehaviour – and leave the rest of us alone?
A legitimate function of the state is to suppress lawless violence – right now our politicians seem to be too interested in other things than performing their primary functions.
Quite rightly some will argue that the criminal justice system cannot correct all that faults of our society. Indeed – it cannot. But is can do some heavy lifting – something that it doesn’t do at all at present.