“In the Bonds of Love We Meet”??? or Fair Go Part 2 by Trevor Plumbly

justice scalesLike most major cities, Auckland is a bit of a cultural and ethnic melting pot, made more so in recent years by immigrants from Asia, Africa, UK and greater Europe, all arriving in the hopes of finding a better or safer existence. At the risk of being accused of stereotyping, I honestly feel that those who arrive from Asian countries are usually prepared to work longer and harder than a lot of others, including ‘native’ New Zealanders; in short, most seem to regard hard work as an access road rather than a daily grind and education as a gift to their children. Unfortunately, nothing attracts racism like someone of a different cultural background or skin colour succeeding in what self-appointed locals refer to as ‘our country’. As a volunteer for Victim Support, I’ve had contact with victims of aggravated robbery; sad to say that the majority are Asian and involved in serving the public in some form outside ordinarily accepted trading hours, thus providing an easy target for criminal attacks.

Waffle Rules OK!

Arun Kumar wasn’t a Fijian/Indian, he was a middle-aged New Zealander and a father of two children. A few days ago as he was opening his convenience store in West Auckland, he was attacked and stabbed to death. Currently, one 13 year old has been charged with his murder while another 12 year old is accused of aggravated robbery. There’s no indication that the attack was racially motivated; it’s more likely that, like most neighbourhood stores, it was a family concern operated in a friendly and accessible manner with little or no emphasis on security protection for staff. When the outrage died down, and it didn’t take long, up popped the army of apologists. It’s an interesting facet of human nature that outrage has such a short shelf life while those that seek to academically excuse criminality seem inexhaustible. Don’t get me wrong! I’m not of the ‘off with their heads’ school of thought, I just want some clarity and action from those in authority rather than the truckloads of mitigating theories rolled out when these sorts of events occur. As an example of that sort of lunacy, one police spokesman referred to the murder as an ‘aberration’. What sort of message does that send to victims and their families? ‘Don’t worry about it, it’s quite rare’? Maybe it’s only the police that believe that youth crime isn’t increasing in numbers and severity?

‘They’re Good Kids’

Really? Not if they’re walking round stabbing innocent people they’re not! They’re mindless little thugs and deserve to be treated as such. The usual chorus is, ‘It was their upbringing, the abuse and lack of parental guidance.’ Lots of people went through that (me included) and most of us are still scarred in one way or another, but most (again including me), don’t expect that to serve as a free pass to commit crime. The problem as I see it is, that in the guise of tolerance and the hope of reformation, we’ve lost the ability to deal with junior wrongdoers. How on earth can you expect young offenders to understand the consequences of criminal actions when there’s an entire industry out there with seemingly bottomless pockets anxious to assure them that it’s not really their fault. Restorative justice schemes are fine within their limitations but we need to start much earlier than that by making sure that our young children become fully aware that watering down anti-social behaviour is no longer fashionable or acceptable. Let’s give ‘punish the wrongdoer’ another chance.

P.S. Thanks to those who made kind comments about Godzone Country? (Yeah Right!) which has the alternative title of Fair Go Part 1.


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