Target violence not alcohol

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:

Alcohol violence

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.

This entry was posted in Take Nanny down, Tough on Crime, tough on criminals. Bookmark the permalink.

533 Responses to Target violence not alcohol

  1. Aristogeiton

    JABL
    #1158983, posted on January 20, 2014 at 2:51 am
    You are the accuser you go first.

    How so? As I noted above, you redirected to a discussion of this from an unrelated matter in order I suppose to attack my credibility? As such, you accused me of confabulation. Semper necessitas probandi incumbit ei qui agit.

  2. Aristogeiton

    JABL
    #1158985, posted on January 20, 2014 at 2:53 am
    And just remember people on this site do know who I am. & just might not like people who call me “dipshit”

    Oh, I’m sure you’re a big deal. Your insistence upon your ‘clout’ (you went so far as to threaten to black-ball me from the legal profession earlier) is childish in the extreme. If you are a fully grown adult then all is lost I am afraid.

  3. Aristogeiton

    s/black-ball/blackball/

  4. JABL

    You are unfit to be in our profession fool. That is this the point. You do not understand our standards. Are you simply the child of a judge?

  5. Abu Chowdah

    huh?/what?/what the fu?/hey?

  6. Aristogeiton

    God, it’s eating you up, isn’t it JABL?

  7. JABL

    Oh no it is not sport. But I wait & wait. & fuckers like you fall before me.

  8. Abu Chowdah

    Look out JABL, he’s into rear naked choke holds. Fights like a girl.

  9. If these fellers blueing over exactly what to call it when someone’s been king hit, well, if they’d time their posts closer together it’d be more of a spectator sport.
    Judging by the name calling, JC is in danger of losing the title as the Cat’s most virulent user of profanity.

  10. POLICE POWERS AND RESPONSIBILITIES ACT 2000 – SECT 53
    53 Prevention of particular offences relating to liquor
    (1) Subsection (2) applies if—
    …(blah blah blah)…..and
    (b) the police officer reasonably suspects an opened container of liquor at the place in the person’s possession or under the person’s control relates to, or is contributing to, or is likely to contribute to, the commission of the offence by the person.
    So the relevant Act and Section is as follows:
    POLICE POWERS AND RESPONSIBILITIES ACT 2000 – SECT 53 (1)(b)

    Good research Baldrick, but as Aristog… (he should pick an easier name) says, where’s the breach of the law?
    As I first said:

    There is no offence for carrying grog in public, despite what clueless cops may try to bluff you with.
    You can carry a glass of beer up & down the street all day, the offence is consumption, not carrying. Be very aware of that.

    That last sentence has a meaning. As have those that precede it.

  11. Baldrick

    Steve -

    (2A) Also, if—
    (a) a police officer reasonably suspects a person has committed, is committing or is about to commit an offence against the Liquor Act 1992, section 156(2) at a place; and
    (a) Act 1992, section 156(2) at a place; and
    (b) the police officer reasonably suspects that liquor, whether in opened or unopened containers, in the person’s possession or under the person’s control relates to, or is contributing to, or is likely to contribute to, the commission of an offence at any place by the person or another person;
    the police officer may seize the liquor, including any container of the liquor.

    As I posted previously, consuming alcohol in a public place in Qld can leave a person liable to an infringement notice. The circumstances in which the person was found in possession of the alcohol needs to be taken into consideration but being in possession of a glass of beer in a public place, in Queensland, can leave a person liable to an infringement notice. The Courts could deem and have previously deemed that there had been or was an intention to drink the alcohol, even though it was only being carried.

    As I said, the circumstances for each offence need to be taken into consideration but as the Act states- “a police officer reasonably suspects a person has committed, is committing or is about to commit an offence against the Liquor Act 1992 …” so the police officer only has to reasonably suspect a person is about to commit an offence, of consuming the alcohol, even if it’s only being carried.

  12. boy on a bike

    Last year, the NSW government re-introduced drunk tanks. The cops can scoop up people who are very pissed and are being a problem, drop them off and they are locked up for 4-8 hours until they dry out enough to be on their way.

    There was a shedload of resistance to this happening. The idea was actually formulated about 6 months before the state election and it was a long fight to get them opened. But in the end, the drunk tanks (or sobering centres) did actually open up. Not sure how much business they are doing.

    Problem is, the idiots that have been bashing people have not been totally shitfaced on booze, so they have not been picked up.

    The use of these centres could be extended to people who are half out of their minds on drugs, clearly agitated and perhaps looking for trouble. The biggest problem is that it relies on an experienced cop to eyeball someone like that on the street and read their body language/behaviour and make the call that they need to go into the slammer for a short period until they calm down and get the shit out of their system. I imagine the usual suspects will go ape shit at such a proposal – especially when coked up lawyers start finding their way inside.

  13. rickw

    “target actual criminality – as opposed to alcohol – is because they are lazy and gutless”

    The targetting of “things” rather than individual behaviour really got going in 1996. The logic we see today around alcohol bans is almost identical.

    Politicians must also realise that Police will do the “easiest and safest duty” they can identify, they are indeed lazy and gutless:

    They will gladly do my firearm storage inspection on a night when there had been end to end trouble in Fawkner and Broadmeadows. “Phew, 0% chance of getting shot by a registered firearm owner!”

    If there are rafts of beaurocratic regulations that require enforcement and compliance checks on Average Joes, Police will be doing that with vigour, rather than engaging in the relatively dangerous activity of confronting real criminal behaviour.

  14. Aristogeiton

    JABL
    #1159004, posted on January 20, 2014 at 3:14 am
    Oh no it is not sport. But I wait & wait. & fuckers like you fall before me.

    You sound like a preening teenage narcissist.

  15. Demosthenes

    The biggest problem is that it relies on an experienced cop to eyeball someone like that on the street and read their body language/behaviour and make the call that they need to go into the slammer for a short period until they calm down and get the shit out of their system.

    A balance must be sought. Police (and judges) need room for discretion, otherwise there will be injustice. Give them too much, and we get injustice of another kind. They need resources and powers sufficient to prevent crime and catch criminals, but such powers are inherently authoritarian and must be guarded jealously. The legal system exists to uphold our rights, but can threaten those rights all too easily.

    These are not easy questions, so let’s not be too harsh with each other when we disagree.

  16. srr

    It reads like Ari has wandered off the Pickering Post Reservation.

    We could have a bit of fun playing, “Name Ari’s Many, Multiple I.D.’s”, but as any regard is better than no regard for certain destructive personality types, I shut up now….and simply smile, knowingly…

  17. Andrew of Randwick

    The NSW Cabinet meets today to agree to some plan to counteract “alcohol fueled violence” – they must respond to the media campaigns.
    .
    The solution will most likely be more of the same: the liberties of the majority will be curtailed in some way rather than holding the individuals concerned to greater responsibility for their actions.
    .
    Let’s hope I am wrong.

  18. srr

    The chatter on 2GB this morning, was that the entrenched, unsackable, ‘Public’ Servants, won’t let anyone the public elects, do what the public elect them to do.

    Now if the debate would finally turn down that dark and dirty ally, and stay until all the garbage, stench and vermin are cleaned out, we would find ourselves living in Australia again, instead of some filthy UN owned outpost.

  19. Grigory M

    rafiki #1158376 January 19, 2014 at 5:29 pm

    I understand (I think) that the basic libertarian position is that the state’s role is to enforce contracts (including property rights), and to protect the citizenry from force and fear. But that does not take resolution of this issue very far.

    If it’s accepted that the level of public violence (and I am not discounting violence in private) has reached a point where ‘something has to be done’, then I am in sympathy with Brett. The non-violent public might need to suffer some relatively minor irritations until the problem is under control.

  20. Derp

    As I said, the circumstances for each offence need to be taken into consideration but as the Act states- “a police officer reasonably suspects a person has committed, is committing or is about to commit an offence against the Liquor Act 1992 …” so the police officer only has to reasonably suspect a person is about to commit an offence, of consuming the alcohol, even if it’s only being carried.

    As anyone who has seen the Qld police in action can attest, that’s prolly enough to settle the matter.
    Playing the backroom lawyer with a Qld copper on this will lead to a night of tears.
    I’m taking Baldrick’s advice on this one.

  21. coz

    Has steroid abuse got a mention yet?

  22. As anyone who has seen the Qld police in action can attest, that’s prolly enough to settle the matter.
    Playing the backroom lawyer with a Qld copper on this will lead to a night of tears.
    I’m taking Baldrick’s advice on this one.

    Depends on the circumstances, and how often you happen to have opened alcohol in public.
    Several times each day I’m in public with opened alcohol. From time to time some greenhorn constable will raise the subject, a brief discussion ensues, the forget the matter (for as long as they’re stationed in town anway) The nicer ones are okay, the dumb & aggressive ones don’t much like me after the chat, and every time they see me with opened grog in public they glare at me malevolently with clenched teeth.
    But they take great care to not ticket me for it.
    There are at least two other people in town who routinely carry opened alcohol in public. One works in the pub, & is stopped & questioned a lot more often then am I (for unlike I, he is at least drunk when carrying, and also more closely resembles a derelict than do I.) Despite the many stops & questions, he’s never been ticketed.
    There is a reason for this.

  23. C.L.

    Everyone – including most here – have been duped.

    “Alcohol-fuelled violence” has been used by Roxonian prohibitionists who want to increase taxes on alcohol, ban advertising, impose packaging rules and harrass vulgar Australian everyman.

    As I said yesterday, there is no more night violence on our streets than there was two or ten years ago.

  24. As I said yesterday, there is no more night violence on our streets than there was two or ten years ago.

    Agreed. It wasn’t punished then either. Now there are news media reports everywhere, giving the problem more attention than before.

    About time. The problem has been around all that time. I’ve been on the receiving end of more than ten years of legislative houding, beating me & my industry into submission over the bad manners of street youth.
    Naturally attacking pubs has done nothing to cure the problem. But it has caused a blowout in “security” employment (as the police have abrogated their responsibility to keep peace – and as dickhead legislators and regulators have used “get more security guards” as an answer to trouble near pubs) and there has been a regulatory crackdown on bar staff which would not be tolerated were it to be done to the wider public (there’d be an immediate change of govt at election).

    I’ve put up with endless public meetings, and endless impromptu non-public ones, all on the same theme: Some dull witted Inspector or Senior Sgt braying on about how pubs ought to watch themselves.

    In sheer exasperation, I got to the point five or six years ago, of shirtfronting the Head of the Department that handles liquor licencing. I located him in public and had a none-too polite go at him (it didn’t start out that way) over the sheer dickheadsmanship of his department’s targetting of publicans and pub staff. All done in the name of getting us to “fix” “our” problem. (Sort of like that real smart barrister guy Brett was claiming for half the thread above)
    I won my point, quite easily, as he had no answers, but nothing changed, he wasn’t interested, because the (ALP) govt wasn’t interested.

    The ALP, for those who’ve not noticed, isn’t exactly “intellect central”.

    There is some hope with a change of governments, state and federal.
    I hope so, there isn’t much give left in pubs. We are already regulated into submission. There isn’t anything we can do to correct public manners, not on our own.

    Stiff judicial penalties are what is needed.

    This will only happen when judges, magistrates, and politicians (or their families) start becoming victims of this violence. Then there’ll finally be some common sense.
    There’s nothing like half a dozen savage kicks in the balls – as happened to a Magistrate in my town, hehe – to refocus the bench from dishing out “understanding” of perpetrators, to dishing out “punishment”.

  25. Walter Plinge

    No. I maintain that holding publicans responsible as accessories for selling alcohol to inebriated people who then commit serious crimes will hopefully make publicans follow the law and restrict the availability of alcohol to the people about whom this discussion commenced, violent drunks. It is already part of the law in any event. It just needs a DPP to pick the right case and do it.

    A moment’s thought shows this would be unenforceable.

    To be even-handed what about locking up the directors of Coles and Woolworths? They are complicit in selling alcohol to people who, while they are not drunk and violent at the point of purchase, certainly will be shortly afterwards.

  26. Pyrmonter

    Walter – the legislation referred to much earlier makes it clear that, in NSW, if Coles and Woolworths sell to someone intoxicated, they offend.

  27. Leo G

    ‘One-shot’ Short’n is bragging the public will accept he can take out Tony Abbott in one if only the government will fund “one punch can kill” advertisements.

  28. Andrew of Randwick

    STILL NO NEWS – NSW cabinet bunkers down on alcohol issue

    AFTER weeks of intense scrutiny, the NSW government is set to unveil its latest plan for cracking down on alcohol-fuelled violence.
    .
    Premier Barry O’Farrell was with cabinet on Monday afternoon considering a number of proposals to try to stem the flow of booze and violence on the state’s streets.
    .
    Speaking to reporters on Monday morning Mr O’Farrell was tight-lipped about details of the proposals under consideration, but he predicted the public would be “delighted” by the new policies when they are announced on Tuesday.
    .
    “I’m confident the package being taken to cabinet this afternoon addresses community concerns and will make a difference,” he said.
    .
    Risk-based licensing, recommended by former Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing commissioner Michael Foggo following a review of the Liquor Act last year and reportedly given in-principle cabinet approval 16 months ago, was widely tipped to be one policy up for consideration on Monday.
    ……………
    The reforms to be announced on Tuesday – which the premier has previously said may include alcohol licensing regulation, boosted police resources, penalties targeting those who commit crimes while under the influence of drugs and alcohol and efforts to change the drinking culture in NSW – will be the third tranche of laws since 2011 aimed at curbing alcohol-related assaults.

  29. .

    This is fucking insane. I cannot say anymore. Either we’re insane or we live in a fascist shithole.

    We are not a free people. Every single dead ADF member is disrespected by this braindead crap.

  30. Leo G

    Get blotto, go loco, face Foggo? Socko motto no?

  31. Leo G

    Oh! Dodo forgot act yobbo.

  32. Andrew of Randwick

    One-punch laws: Barry O’Farrell announces
    .

    The New South Wales Government has announced a raft of measures to combat alcohol violence, including Sydney CBD lockouts, a freeze on new licences and the closure of bottle shops statewide at 10pm.
    .
    Premier Barry O’Farrell is outlining the changes in Sydney under what he has describes as “one-punch laws”.
    .
    He confirmed a mandatory minimum sentence of eight years for fatal one-punch assaults if they are fuelled by drugs or alcohol.
    The Premier also announced that sentences for serious assaults involving alcohol will be increased by two years.
    .
    There will also be a 1:30am lockout of licensed premises across new expanded CBD precinct and drinks will stop being served at 3:00am.
    The changes affect an expanded CBD precinct which spans from Kings Cross to Darling Harbour.
    No new liquor are to be approved in the zone and “periodic” risk-based licensing will be introduced for some venues.

    The Premier says he expects some opposition to the measures.
    “The new measures are tough and I make no apologies for that,” he said.
    “These new measures will, in some quarters, be opposed in total or, in part, by some.
    “What has been happening on Sydney’s CBD streets and in other parts of the state demands strong action and this Government is committed to delivering that strong action.”
    .
    The Government has faced immense pressure to crack down on alcohol fuelled violence since the fatal assault of teenager Daniel Christie in Kings Cross on New Years eve.

    So if I kill you whilst fuelled by alcohol or drugs that is worse than if I do it whilst sober?
    Sentencing in the past would have counted those matters as diminished capacity to make rational decisions.
    Lawyers picnic anyone?

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