Monday, 7 July 2008

Can't get no protection

It's the measure of a community's desperation in the face of crime that ten-thousand people would march in South Auckland's bad weather to demand their fundamental right to protection from criminals to be upheld.  March organiser Peter Low of the Asian Anti-Crime Trust says "far too often victims are being treated like criminals, and that the law needs to be toughened, police need to work more efficiently and the court system has to be more sensible."

That they expect their demands to once again go unheeded, even after three brutal killings, can be seen in their ultimatum to the police that if the police and justice systems won't do the job they're supposed to do, the protection of life and liberty, then the community will have to do the job themselves -- including, if necessary, hiring triad gangsters to provide the protection the police either won't, or can't.  In other words, if you can't protect us, we'll have to hire people who will -- or might.

This is desperate stuff, but just what happens when the state defaults on the very thing for which it's constituted : we see real objective justice replaced with vigilantism and the threat of the streets being taken over by gangsters.  But what else can people do when their lives are at stake?  In Afghanistan they were so desperate to be safe the people welcomed in the Taleban -- Mr Low may not be serious in his suggestion of hiring Triads, but there will undoubtedly be people desperate enough who will be.

It's time the state did its job properly.  Protecting us from the initiation of force by criminals is their number one job.  Time they started doing it, instead of doing us over.

Here's Graham Parker singing 'Protection.'

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