Friday, January 13, 2012

A Shot in the Dark

Shootings are scary things, and they are all the scarier when they appear to be at random.

Sydney journos have whipped themselves into a frenzy over the recent spate of shootings in Sydney, mostly confined to the city's West and South-West.

We have had front pages, large colour spreads and the usual proliferation of online articles.
From this ABC report
From this Daily Terror report
These stories are scary - there can be no denying that.

What's all the more unnerving are suggestions that innocent parties are being targeted.

Having said that, any suggestion that the residents of a home shot are entirely innocent should be taken with a grain of salt.

The residents are hardly likely to say to the police "Well, yeah, there is that guy I owe $100 000 for that bulk purchase of ecstasy I made, so yeah, maybe that was who it was."

Same goes for speculation that the shooters got the wrong house.  Some crims are stupid, no doubt, but few are as bumbling as we've seen in many movies, and crims aren't generally in the business of shooting up homes for fun.

That's not to say I'm certain that every victim is actually a drug dealer - there is no way I could know that. It's also not to say the public's fears are entirely unfounded. I'm just suggesting that if you're not involved in crime, the chance of having your house shot up is pretty miniscule.

The fact that the people being shot at are not so pure is reflected in the unwillingness of many victims to give statements to police.

From this 9News story
Which bring us to this fairly idiotic tweet from Labor:
What, exactly, does Labor suggest that O'Farrell has done to bring about this rise in shootings?  Has he relaxed gun laws?  Has he released bikies from prison?

Of course not.  If ever there was a case of an opposition trying to blame a government for something that is beyond their control, this is it.

Labor knows that they can't say "You should have X or Y before now" because whatever it is that they want to allege the Coalition should have done, Labor didn't do it either.  So better to just criticise and try to make a fuss.

Having said that, the government is in fact doing something, or at least thinking about it.
From this 9News story
Whilst I can't criticise the government for considering such a change, I certainly hope that they don't start moving down this path.

People who have been arrested have a right to silence. Except in very particular circumstances, that right is pretty universal.  You don't have to talk to police if you don't want to.

The fact that these victims don't want to talk to police is almost certainly because they have something to hide. They shouldn't be forced to give a statement to police about it.

If police want to investigate the victims on the assumption that "If bikies are shooting up their place, they must have something to hide" then they are free to do so.  But to force people to give a statement would seem to be a step too far.

In any event - if your husband is a drug dealer, your place is shot up and police then force you to give a statement, are you going to tell police all you know?  Of course not - you'll lie, which means the police will at best get nothing useful,. but at worst will get set off on wild goose chases.

The last thing I want to write about is this press release from Nathan Rees, Shadow Police Minister.
So, Rees knows that that the High Court struck down the bikie laws brought in by Labor, but thinks that O'Farrell should "replace" them?  How?  With what?  And how will that help?

He also wants O'Farrell to "outlaw bikie gangs."  How, exactly, does he propose that be done?  What kind of law would permit that?  If Rees offering a serious alternative, or is he just criticising with no reasonable alternative?

There's no doubt that it is an opposition's just to criticise, highlight flaws and (in a perfect world) try and push a government towards better solutions.

But Labor's approach here is to simply try and blame the Coalition for something outside their control, and then suggest that Something Must Be Done without offering any sensible basis for doing so.

I'll leave the final word to @PrestonTowers.

1 comment:

  1. Good post Mr Tiedt. There is also another form of spin just getting started which is worth noting...

    "NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell has revealed he approached Prime Minister Julia Gillard last year for help dealing with gun crime.

    But Mr O'Farrell claims she ignored him after he asked for tough new national anti-gang laws."

    He's implying it's somehow Gillard's fault