Cops can’t fix our problems while we hide from the truth

Back in the good old days … Tony Mokbel made a fortune out of drugs by supplying our demand. Photo: Jason South

Rudolph Nureyev in Paris. Good dancer but not a police reporter. Photo: Jean Gaumy-Gamma

Former drug lord Tony Mokbel. Photo: Photo: Reuters

Police examine a tow truck that drove into a swimming pool in Lockport, New York. Poice said the driver was juggling two cell phones, texting on one and talking on another, when he slammed into a car and crashed into the pool. Photo: Stephen Wallace

Texting while driving is stupid. Photo: Glen Watson

A car on display at Empire Park Bar Beach warning of the dangers of texting while driving. Photo: Phil Hearne

Here at what critics gleefully describe as the crumbling Fairfax Media Empire we have endured a couple of tough weeks farewelling colleagues as they boarded the gravy train known as the Redundancy Express.

They ranged from the decorated, the determined to the slightly demented but all contributed to the product you are now reading (increasingly on-line for free, you cheap bastards) and will be missed.

Some, such as legendary columnist Lawrence Money, left with a farewell card and cash reserves equivalent to a medium-sized South American dictatorship, while others now embark on the search for a real job.

At such times, over a farewell glass of Midori and milk, it is traditional to wax lyrical about the “Good Old Days”.

It was time when newspapers dominated the media landscape and the day began with the thump of ad-fattened editions hitting the driveway. Back then railway commuters stood for the elderly and read their papers, rather than sprawl over two seats while playing Angry Birds. (Question: Why are they called smartphones when most of the users are so spectacularly dumb?)

The good old days…

On Sunday we had a lamb roast and overcooked vegetables before adjourning to the lounge to watch Jack O’Toole on the World Of Sport woodchop.

We bought Australian cars built by New Australians who spent their weekends with knotted hankies on their heads concreting their backyards and tending to exotic vegetable patches.

I was shocked when I went to school-friend Gianni D’Ortenzio’s house for a dinner of stuffed peppers. That was spooky enough but when his dad gave him a glass of home-made vino I was sure he would end up a demented alcoholic. It turned out to be worse. He became a psychiatrist.

The trouble with Midori and milk mixed with nostalgia is it makes memories quite fuzzy, for the truth is the Good Old Days (GOD) were nothing of the sort.

Paedophile priests were untouchable (unlike their victims), corrupt cops were virtually never caught, every police district was paid off by illegal bookies, evidence was fabricated in courts, and wards of the state were brutalised and sexually exploited.

And the great newspapers did little, content to report the news of the day while rarely scratching below the surface.

Today in this newsroom we have dozens of well-trained and energetic reporters who regularly break big stories. I even know the names of some of them.

Indeed I have been selected to mentor one such serious fellow who has a huge appetite for quick-breaking stories and slow-cooked American ribs. Back in the Good Old Days we trained young police reporters by hitting home-made cricket balls at their heads while they filed copy over the phone. The idea was to prepare them for duty as war correspondents by making sure they could duck and weave without missing a deadline.

The trouble was we smashed all the windows in the pressroom office then had to pay for them to be secretly replaced. Four days later the Russell Street bombing blew them out again.

And it is not just Fairfax that breaks important yarns – News Limited’s Herald Sun has some great reporters and Rupert Murdoch is commercially the greatest newspaper person in the world.

Such statements fly in the face of the modern and pathetic trend of bagging media rivals on ideological grounds. For the record The Age is not filled with bearded hipsters and News Limited doesn’t sacrifice virgins at Friday night drinks. (I’ve been to their office. They don’t have any.)

Rudolph Nureyev in Paris. Good dancer but not a police reporter.

In another selfless act of mentoring I took a Herald Sun police reporter to a boxing gym to toughen him up. He arrived wearing leggings more suited to ballet master Rudolph Nuryev, which proves journalism is a broad church.

While mainstream media is shrinking through economic necessity there appears to be an alarming growth in a group of columnists who march to the beat of a single drum.

When it comes to law and order they claim crime is out of control because an evil collective of left-wing media types known as Anarchists, Bolsheviks and Communists (ABC) bully governments to be soft on crime and to pander to minorities at the expense of the majority.

The flaw here is they wildly over-estimate the influence of the press and by extension their own for the first truth in media is it is powerful through disclosure and ineffective through opinion.

This piece is the same. Some will agree and some will disagree but it will not alter anything. (I once considered running for prime minister under the slogan, “I’m here to help people, not to like them.” It didn’t take off.)

The reality is the soft on crime theory is nonsense as law enforcement has more peacetime power than at any time since Federation.

In the past three decades we have seen massive jumps in phone tapping, electronic surveillance, accessible CCTV vision, financial checks, online analysis, secret coercive hearings and DNA sampling.

There is truth in sentencing, tougher parole, new terrorist laws, more police, more courts, more jails and more prisoners. And guess what? The crime rate is going up.

The first myth is there is a war on crime as if criminals are an invading army. In fact most non-violent crime flourishes because that is exactly what we want.

Narcotic seizures have gone through the roof but we are awash in the stuff because we love drugs. We pay more for illicit substances than just about any other nation and we are happy to buy pills made by idiots with tatts on their arms, cavities in their mouths and the hygiene habits of feral goats.

The chop chop tobacco industry has exploded as thousands of smokers gleefully defraud the federal government of legitimate tax revenue.

People’s homes are burgled because other people are prepared to buy cheap jewellery and electronic goods they must suspect are stolen.

The engine room of most crime is profit and most profit-related crime is there because crooks are simply filling a demand. They are really the dark side of us.

Tony Mokbel made a fortune out of drugs by supplying our demand.

These critics who decry big government and the so-called Nanny State actually crave a Stern Daddy model where the naughty are sent to bed without their pudding.

They want more police, tougher laws, more jails and less judicial discretion even though this is a proven failure. More prison time means more recidivism and more crime. It is a mathematical certainty.

They say lock up your daughters and lock up your luxury cars because African youths from the Apex gang may come down the chimney and steal both.

And they say police won’t talk of the ethnic peril because of pressure to remain politically correct. No, they don’t highlight it for they know it is counter-productive as every headline acts as a recruitment poster for Apex.

Which brings us to the next myth – that Australians are good-hearted larrikins with a strong independent streak and a healthy disregard for authority.

When my father came to this country he noticed a sign in the Flinders Street subway that said “No Spitting”. As he had no intention of indulging in such an act he wondered why there was a need for such a direction in the first place.

The facts are we are over-governed and seem to want the police to save us from our own stupidity.

In a democracy police cannot impose social order and yet increasingly we want cops to be our guardians, teachers, enforcers and social workers.

We are at risk of becoming a nation of overweight, overwrought and overbearing whingers.

There would be more than enough police if they were assigned to deal with serious crime rather than the seriously stupid.

Do we really need a police blitz to stop motorists texting while trying to control a potentially lethal piece of machinery? Is there anyone with a brain bigger than a sea cucumber’s who doesn’t see the dangers? Is there anyone who thinks putting invitations on Facebook for a Saturday night party will not end up with drunken rock apes with real rocks trashing the joint?

We now need more than 1000 protective services officers to staff railway stations, as we are incapable of being civil to each other on public transport.

When police are able to chase serious crime the clear-up rate is impressive. In homicide the solution rate is well over 90 per cent and the murder rate remains one of the lowest in the world.

Community well-being relies on a sense of public safety, which requires police to protect us from being victims of violence and yet the crime department and other specialist units remain chronically understaffed as police run around dealing with the indulgent and illogical.

What we really need is more detectives and fewer directives.

Police say they are swamped with ice-related crimes, which is another self-inflicted wound as the addicted start as voluntary, occasional users.

How about we stop being so scared and take ownership of our problems. Police are there to help us in times of need not herd us as if we are a flock of panicky sheep.

To bastardise President John F. Kennedy: Ask not what police can do about crime, ask what you can do to prevent it.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on 苏州美甲美睫培训学校.

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