- People in Ruatoki are bleating that the police were unnecessarily harsh on Monday, and (worse apparently) gave them "no warning" about the raids and the arrests.
Are these people stupid? They've been prepared for years to countenance the organised thuggery and the exclusion of visitors and the training camps and the "Tuhoe Nation" crap carried out and espoused by Iti and his idiot comrades in their name -- and they've done nothing at all about it. If you're carrying out a raid then you don't warn supporters or friends of those being raided; that really would be stupid. These people aren't stupid enough not to know that - they think we are. To complain they weren't warned is just humbug, and it evades that far more basic issue of what they're prepared to allow in their own community and in their own name. If they're prepared to countenance violence in the name of the "Tuhoe Nation" or whatever other idiocy Iti's comrades dream up, then they deserve everything they get.
- Protest groups have been issuing "messages of support" to those arrested and organising protests against the arrests, meaning we've been obliged to witness the spectacle of "peace activists" apparently in denial about the firearms that have been confiscated and the bombs and the weapon training that's been undertaken down outside Ruatoki. We've seen them make accusations of "police brutality," and admissions that no one at all has been brutalised. And we watched the likes of Francis Mountier from the Save Happy Valley Coalition get all evasive when a tame TV journalist asked her to repudiate violence and to deny all knowledge of what's been alleged about these training camps. Evasion and denial.
- We've seen talk of terrorism appear in the press. The protest groups have been quick to object to the "label" of terrorism being used against those arrested, but so far the fact is that the "label" has been used mostly in the denial of it. But the anti-terrorism Act, raised as a bogey by the likes of protestors and commentators associated with the protestors, has not been used against any of the idiots so far arrested. Police Commissioner Howard Broad explained very carefully that the search warrants were issued under the Firearms Act, and charges so far have only been laid under the Firearms Act. Sure, the searches themselves were carried out with the intention of obtaining evidence under the anti-terrorism Act, but protestors need to get their heads around the fact that charges have only been laid so far under the Firearms Act. Their heroes were in possession of weapons that their views would say they shouldn't be.
And like everyone else I look forward to seeing if charges are justified under the anti-terrorism Act.
- Two of those who've raised the conspiratorial bogey that the arrests were carried out to provide backing for the forthcoming amendment to the anti-terrorism Act are John Minto and David Small, both of whom have been used by media outlets as so-called independent commentators on the whole affair. Both are in denial about the nature of the charges so far -- that these seventeen people had the means and were undertaking the training whereby to carry out something pretty nasty -- but the media who have invited them on as commentators are either in denial themselves, or else they think we're stupid. The fact is, as Trevor Loudon points out, both Minto and Small are associated with the groups from whom those arrested have been drawn. Minto is an organiser of the ironically named Global Peace and Justice, and umbrella group for at least one of those arrested; and Small is a (former?) Maoist with links to several of the "anti-everything" groups from whom protest has come. [See for example 'Socialist Academic Profile: David Small,' and 'John Minto, Communist Columnist,' and 'Who is Radical Youth?' ]
That these two are presented as "independent commentators" tells you something about the independence of our media, doesn't it? Doesn't it?
Now to reflect on force. The right to exercise retaliatory force in one's defence is paramount -- if one's right to life is to mean anything under law, then the right to retaliate against force initiated against us or our loved ones must be protected. That said, a primary leitmotif of a civilised society is that retaliatory force is brought under objective control. That job is the job of the police and the law courts, who -- when they're acting properly -- are acting in our name to protect peaceful individuals from those who would initiate force against us. As several recent events have shown us, Our police force is imperfect, but they're the only police force we have. With the arrests this week and what we've heard on the suspects' charge sheets in court, our trust so far in what's left of our legal system is justified. Let's hope we see justice done, and thugs removed from having the opportunity to do us harm.