Thecuriousmail’s Weblog

I WOULD GIVE A MILLION AUSTRALIAN IDLE (sic) WINNERS . . . FOR JUST ONE NICK

Posted in Uncategorized by thecuriousmail on April 24, 2011

The upright-ape has only one direction to move to emerge from this toxic,  internecine world created: reason and compassion — calm reason, the facts will always be the facts;  always examine one’s own motives, always try to put oneself in the other person’s shoes.

When someone tells you something, ask yourself: what are their motives? Are they trying to make money out it? Are they trying to attain or maintain themselves in a position of power? In this time of unremitting greed, deception and exploitation, we need to question and challenge, and support those that do.

In my experience, if the answer to either of the last two questions is yes, honesty has long left the room.

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WOMAN HAS ABORTION SO THAT SHE CAN WATCH THE ROYAL WEDDING

Posted in Uncategorized by thecuriousmail on April 23, 2011

A 32 year old unnamed Sydney woman has admitted to

having an abortion last week so that she could watch the

royal wedding without any interruptions.

The April 29 royal wedding has captured the public

imagination, and criticism of the woman’s late-term abortion

has been subdued.

In a written statement, the Sydney woman said the royal

wedding was the most important thing in her life so far, that

she already has a shopping trolley load of collectibles, and

that she is entitled to do what she can to ensure an uninterupted viewing of the royal wedding on television

(notwithstanding commercials of course).

A spokesman for Buckingham Palace said the royal family were touched by the woman’s devotion.

GENERATION NOWHERE

Posted in Uncategorized by thecuriousmail on April 2, 2011

I’ve learnt that a 19yo who lived at the end of the street died in a car accident last week. I’m not sure what the legal procedures are (coronial inquest or whatever), but the police, from witness reports and their initial investigations, are believed to have already told his parents that he was speeding. I spoke to the boy a couple of times, and found him stupid and obnoxious, so I’m not going to pretend that I care that he has died. Some people who have died recently actually made the world a better place because they lived in it, and it is those kind of people for whom I have regret and sympathy.
He was still on his P plates. About a year  ago, he was convicted of hooning, after he was doing burn-outs in the street, lost control, came close to running over a couple of school children, and put his car thru a letterbox and a fence. His car was confiscated by the police, for a couple of days, and his licence was suspended for 2 or 3 months. He lived at home with his mother and father, and a younger brother. My father left home when I was about 10, but I remember when I was the dead boy’s age and had started work, an old man telling me not to speed around where you live or work  (don’t shit in your own nest) and I have largely followed that advice (because I can see that it makes sense). Someone forgot to tell the dead kid, or he didn’t listen.
The kid never did apologize to the neighbours whose property he destroyed, or make repairs, or apologize to the neighbour whose children he nearly ran down. This would have been the right thing to do. Acknowledge that he had made a mistake by way of an apology to those people, and to repair the damage he caused. If he was reluctant to do that, his father should have made him do it, made him understand that there is a line between acceptable and unacceptable behaviour. He had his licence suspended for 2 or 3 months, but he continued to drive while his licence was suspended. His parents knew that he was continuing to drive, but did nothing. When I was the dead boy’s age, and I lived at home, my mother would have told me ‘tough, you did the dumb thing, you can pay for it, you can push a bicycle, but there’s no way you’re going to drive’ kind of thing. Why did his parents allow him to drive while his licence was suspended? Stupidity killed him, and his parents helped him to die.
I often saw the boy travelling at twice or more the speed limit in a particular residential area near home(140 kmh in a 60kmh zone), and at the time I’d wonder what the boy would say if he had an accident and killed someone. What would he say to the parent of a child he killed? Judging by his previous behaviour, he’d ignore it or blame everyone but himself. I’m not sure exactly where he crashed and died, but I’m sure one of those road-side memorials to stupidity will appear, and some will mourn this ‘tragic’ accident. But tragic? No, I don’t think so. It is the nature of being a boy of that age to take risks, and to exaggerate your own abilities; compound that with his own stupidity–an inability or unwillingness to think things thru– and his parent’s unwillingness to try to teach him anything, and what happened is no real surprise and is not tragic. Tragic would be the child he killed. I’m glad he has died before he could kill someone.

It feels like there is a generation who believe there is never bad consequences to what they do, that they can never be held to account for anything, and their parents have been negligent by reinforcing this attitude. That there are consequences is not something to avoid at all costs; it is liberating, empowering. I remember as a teenager reading  Nietzsche, Kierkegaard, Heidegger, Camus, and others, and thinking this is a revelation, and I embrace it!

But  by now denying that choice has any consequence, or action any effect, fear is what we perpetuate, and lives are death-locked in an absurd enduring  childhood.

CRIME AND PUNISHMENT IN THE SUNSHINE STATE

Posted in Uncategorized by thecuriousmail on April 2, 2011

http://www.goldcoast.com.au/article/2011/02/19/292971_crime-and-court-news.html

A teenager was assaulted by another teenager on the Gold Coast (without provocation, one teenager came up behind the other and king-hit him). The teenager who was assaulted is now permanently brain-damaged, in a wheelchair, cannot speak, cannot feed or dress himself, and will require around the clock assistance for the rest of his life. The teenager who assaulted him was effectively given a 2 year prison sentence (The non-parole period. I think the sentence was 6 years). The judge said the teenager who committed the assault didn’t intend the consequences (although I remember the case of a bank robber who used a replica pistol that could not fire any bullets (so the robber’s intention was never to shoot anyone), but the judge said at sentencing that didn’t matter (the robber must be treated as if he could have shot someone, so maybe they make it up as they go along).

I would say two things about this: It is difficult, if not impossible, to know completely another person’s real intentions (even oneself about one’s own intentions), and when did the consequences of an action become so unimportant in determining punishment? The original assault was plainly cowardly, to hit someone from behind, and bizarre, with some kind of imagined justification in the perpetrator’s mind, and to talk about the teenager’s lack of intention to do the damage he did in fact do, as some kind of reason to sentence him to only 2 years in prison, is laughable. It is reasonable that the person committing the assault should understand that one possible consequence would be what actually did occur.

If I’m on a bridge over a pedestrian walkway, but can’t physically see if there are any pedestrians on the walkway below, and I throw a brick off the bridge and hit and kill someone on the pedestrian walkway, it seems my defence would be that I didn’t mean to kill anyone. But what happened was a real and foreseeable consequence, and to speak of what may or may not have been my intention, is not the most important point here. Two years imprisonment for permanently disabling a person is ridiculous, and is anyone arguing that such a sentence is likely to dissuade the offender (or anyone else) from acting in a similar manner in the future?? Not that I’ve heard. And certainly not by itself.

 I am NOT talking about an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. Any sentence however should reflect the consequences of an action, but there should be an opportunity for a person to demonstrate a change of attitude. Whatever the original sentence of imprisonment (say 10 years, certainly more than the ridiculous 2 years), give the person an alternative of say 2 years imprisonment and 10 years working full-time in a nursing home, or with brain-damaged people. If they don’t complete that satisfactorily, then send them to prison for the 10 years. No doubt the now permanently disabled teenager and his family are very bitter, and this is understandable, but give the offender an opportunity to rehabilitate, and give the community some prospect that judicial decisions are being made with some regard to common-sense and community expectations.

 http://www.thechronicle.com.au/story/2010/05/04/killer-back-on-our-streets-triple-murder-convicted/

 A Toowoomba teenager has been released after 5 years in juvenile detention, convicted for involvement in 3 murders, 1 rape, and torture. His original sentence was 10 years (!), but as is apparently customary for a juvenile offender, he was released after half his sentence was served. So now the teenager at 21 is back in the community. To be disgusted by his crimes would not be surprisingly; I find it difficult to believe myself. I understand the offender was 16 yo at the time, I understand the offences were incredibly violent, and this unnamed individual is now living in the community.

I believe the original sentence should have been longer (say 25 years), and the offender should have served a longer minimum (say 10 years), and at that point he should be given a choice: finish your sentence as is, or as the offence occurred as a 16 yo, offer an agreement of parole where if he is ever convicted of a violent offence again, he goes to prison for the rest of his life, and have him work in the community for a period of time in a position that benefits the community. Give him the chance to act responsibly and rehabilitate. Can you imagine moving into a house, and unbeknown to you, you have just moved in beside him, he who was not so much just released from prison, as ejected into the community. He kills again and it is someone in your household. How would you feel?

The judge says they are not responsible for it (but they released him from prison), and the government says they are not responsible either (but they make the laws), And to you: bad luck, you were just in the wrong place at the wrong time, no fault of your own. Whoopee! Er, not good enough. Looks like the offenders are not the only ones denying any responsibility for their actions. I think the judge and the government are morally and legally culpable, and they should be held to account.

There is some discussion that (with what is perceived by the community as too) lenient sentences (and the sentences are ridiculously low compared to the consequences of the behaviour), are a result of pressure from the government on the judiciary, because the Queensland government is broke, and can’t afford to build any new prisons. In Queensland there has been almost a decade of near record prosperity, but apparently we became so broke that we have had to sell public-owned income-generating assets. As the Queensland government has demonstrated incompetency and corruption, there is likely at least some truth in the charge of government pressure.

 Particularly in regards to crimes of unprovoked violence, I think this is why the community has concerns about some judicial decisions. I remember a university law professor being interviewed on television, and he commented that courts are concerned with the law, not justice, and that sometimes the two coincide, and sometimes they don’t. The community seems to be saying that too often now are the two not coinciding, and that continuing examples of this is making the notion behind the rule of law increasingly meaningless.

MISPLACED COMPASSION AND MORAL IMPERATIVES (OR HOW AUSTRALIAN POLITICS DEFIES REASON).

Posted in Uncategorized by thecuriousmail on April 1, 2011

Federal Opposition Leader, Mr Tony Abbott,  has attacked the

Australian welfare system as an example of misplaced

compassion, and has called for tighter controls over

 welfare recipients.

I work, am not a welfare recipient, but it is widely known

that the pension and dole are not sufficient money to live on,

just barely survive with assistance from charities, but not to

live on with any kind of comfort or security. Pensioners and dole

recipients are amongst the most disadvantaged members of our society. So let’s attack them! They

can’t protect themselves, and few will stand up to defend them. Oh but you know that Tony.

Mr Abbott elaborated on his notion of ‘misplaced compassion’: Better to burn an innocent woman at the stake

 than risk her eternal soul.  Ah, spoken like a true inquisitor Mr Abbott.

Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, has attacked the Greens, saying

that the Greens deny the moral imperative of a strong economy.

Fortunately I ran into Mr Kant, and managed to have a

brief conversation with him as to what Gillard may mean.

The conversation was brief because that bastard Kant

wouldn’t stop laughing. I wish he’d take it seriously. The

Australian Prime Minister, as an accomplished liar and

deceiver, demands people take her seriously when she talks

about moral imperatives, moral law, or any moral position she comes across in the capitalist karma sutra.

This is Mork signing off. Nanu nanu