Alex Burns : Calling All Nations
Several weeks ago I noticed new graffiti on street signs in the Melbourne suburb Northcote from an unknown group: the Saracen Soldiers. A block away from the most prominent graffiti two houses displayed nationalist flags in their front windows. It could have been coincidence or maybe a signalling game to establish psychological turf…
Blogger on the Cast Iron Balcony : So many different things to mourn
So a fifteen year old boy has been killed, and we find he’s been hanging out with a violent neo-nazi group and making Bundy-and-coke his totem…
Besides the fact that someone’s child is dead, there is so much to mourn in this story…
Broken Left Leg : A serious post for a change.
Since the tragic shooting death of 15 year old Tyler Cassidy, many newspapers are highlighting his membership of the racist white youth gang* called the Southern Cross Soldiers.
While it is very difficult to speculate on the role the SCS played in this tragedy, the Mark Dunn story in the Herald Sun does raise some serious issues. The most fascinating quote comes from one of Cassidy’s former friends…
Larvatus Prodeo (Mercurius) : One of our own
I have no answers about the death of Tyler Cassidy, only questions:
* Why are there gangs of boys for whom the most meaningful thing in their lives is the chant “Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, oi! oi! oi!”?
* What can/should police do when confronted with a knife-wielding person threatening to kill them? Remember Ron Levi?
* What could make a 15 year old boy abscond from home, obtain a knife, and start screaming at police?
* Will we get the usual chorus from the usual wingnut suspects about “personal responsibility” for this death? Or does personal responsibility only apply to Aboriginal boys stealing bicycles in Redfern?
A boy is dead. We mourn. We ask why. I have no answers.
Brian Walters poses a few questions:
Dec 13th, 2008 at 1:05 pm
Sometimes police must deal with violent people, and sometimes violence – even lethal violence – is the only option available. It will be a while before we know all the facts in relation to the death of this 15 year old child, whose protection was the responsibility of us all. Some things are clear.
Fatal shootings by the Victoria Police continue to significantly outnumber those in every other State of Australia put together. Nearly 50 citizens have been shot dead by Victoria Police in the past 20 years. We are witness to a major failure in training and culture by those whose task it is to protect us.
Calls for Tasers avoid the issue. A Taser is another piece of technology which avoids the most important policing skill – dealing with people. It is a false alternative to consider Tasers an alternative to firearms. Often they have been used to obtain compliance in circumstances where no lethal force could be justified. And over 100 people in the US have died from police use of Tasers.
It is only a few years since a policeman on highway patrol was shot dead with his own weapon in Launching Place. Carrying guns on routine duty does not make police safer. Many of the guns used in the underworld are police issue. We should follow the UK model of issuing firearms only to specially selected and trained officers for a purpose justifying their use, and not leave handguns as part of the everyday equipment for police.
Shortly after this boy died, and while his body was still warm, police hierarchy were in full spin mode, confidently putting forward the police version of events – even though this appears to be disputed by some witnesses. The ongoing investigation is already compromised as a result. This approach shows an unwillingness on the part of Victoria Police command to acknowledge that they have a serious problem.
If something good is to come from this tragedy, let it be a change in police training, culture, and operation, so as to make the Victorian community safe from police firearms.