Tuesday, 3 March 2009

LIBERTARIAN SUS: Of Losers & Letterboxes

This week, Susan blasts the vandals…

susanryder2 Unfortunately for me, I’m prone to migraines. They’re not much fun. I wouldn’t even wish one on a Green MP – and there’s not much I wouldn’t wish on a Green MP.

Fortunately, it prevented me from making this date last week. I say that because I was angry and it would have shown and I wouldn’t have been sorry.

I can’t stand vandalism. It’s inexcusable. It’s not to be written off lightly as just mischievous behaviour; it’s downright lousy and criminal. The perpetrators are often, but not exclusively, aimless older kids who seem to do little but delight in wanton destruction.

Sadly, there’s a lot of it. Last year we saw the tragic outcome of what happened when a fed-up householder took matters into his own hands, resulting in the death of a vandal. Bruce Emery is now serving a custodial sentence for manslaughter. The dust had barely settled on Emery’s sentencing when I learned that my grandmother’s letterbox had been destroyed for the fifth time in about a year. Her elderly neighbours’ letterbox was also smashed to the ground and kicked along the footpath for good measure.

“So what?” you might say. “It’s only minor. It’s only bored kids, etc.” No, it’s not. It’s a real nuisance and a waste of time and money. But more than that, much more than that, is the menacing attitude behind the action.

Speaking plainly, it screams “fuck you.” It exemplifies total disrespect for other people and their property. It conveys a frightening mindlessness. And it most certainly qualifies as entry-level crime.

When Ann Hercus was Police Minister in the 1980s, she publicly said that she wasn’t concerned with property crime. That was the start of the finish and Ann’s chooks have come home to roost. In fact they’ve pecked their way to her old colleague Helen Clark’s electorate, with last weekend’s vicious little escapade of three armed teenagers demanding ice-cream and sweets from a Sandringham dairy owner, before upping the ante to cigarettes and money.

3News showed Helen Clark turning up to express her outrage at such a horrific situation. Quite rightly calling it a vile act, she wondered why this sort of thing was occurring. “What’s going wrong with our families?” she asked.

Now call me old-fashioned, Possums, but I found that just a bit rich coming from the very person who, until recently, has been running the country since Adam was a cowboy. I note that 3News didn’t feel the urge to remind her of that either. I’m sure Ann Hercus could shed some light.

Back to my grandmother. She’s a remarkable woman who, at 95, still lives independently in her own home, doing for herself and leading an active life. Aside from her superannuation, she makes no demands upon the state whatsoever, deploring and eschewing the state hand-out mentality.

So when I hear the news that some useless little bastard has just randomly decided to attack her property, unnerving her in the process, it makes my blood boil. The truth is that I want to grab the kid and kick his or her arse into the middle of next week and the week after that. I want them to know what retribution feels like – and what the fear of that retribution feels like. I want them to know in no uncertain terms that unpleasant behaviour has unpleasant consequences.

But I can’t do that. And the police don’t seem to have a clue, either. (Ann’s ideas took root). So you tell me what needs to be done. I’d especially like to hear from those who were critical of Bruce Emery. I’m all ears.

Because know what? I’m still angry and it shows and I’m not at all sorry.

* * Read Susan Ryder every week here at NOT PC * *


  1. What needs to be done?

    You grandmother needs to be armed, or you and some armed family members needs to be around her house.

    Then when the vandals come again, you take them out. That's what needs to happen.

    Last year we saw the tragic outcome of what happened when a fed-up householder took matters into his own hands, resulting in the death of a vandal. Bruce Emery is now serving a custodial sentence for manslaughter.

    yes indeed - Emery's sentence is certainly tragic!

    Aside from her superannuation, she makes no demands upon the state whatsoever,

    Superannuation that she has been receiving for something like 35 years, courtesy of other peoples taxes! That's not "no demands on the state".

    You cannot force people to be responsible.
    You can only hold them responsible.
    State schooling, the dole, and NZ;s laughable "working" conditions inculcates a complete lack of responsibility amongst the young. Fixing those three things - so that youth simply didn't have time to kick over letterboxes - would go some way to address the problem.

    But (other dealing with youth the way IDF deals with Hamas) its hard to see how the police or army could effectively deal with this problem before it happens. So it needs to be dealth with as and when it happens. Emery's garage is clean now and will stay that way.

  2. Richard McGrath3 Mar 2009, 10:09:00

    Oswald Bastable has a horsewhip and a strong right arm that both need a workout and would make the toerags squeal.

  3. I'm tempted to remove that comment from an Anonymous coward calling for Death to Vandals, but instead I'll leave it there as an example of what a lynch mob mentality looks like.

    Perhaps people have forgotten what a rule of law looks like?

  4. Unfortunately people who see the unfairness of rules being enforced on one side but not on the other end up wanting disproportionate punishments to be meted out. I think everyone (except the Greens) would have been happiest if the tagger of Emery's property had been dealt with properly by the police before Emery snapped and took the law into his own hands.

    And I think the "dealth" thing was a typo - probably meant to be "dealt" rather than "death".

  5. Probably was a typo, TWR, but the intention is clear, ie the "take them out" nonsense.

    Please do (leave it there) PC. I intend to respond, but I'm just too busy right now.

    It'll keep. ;)

  6. Er? Death to vandals? Quite.
    How about a more proportional response?
    Say, like electrifying the post box? he he he.

  7. I have noticed that more graffiti than ever has appeared about town since Bruce Emery's imprisonment.

    Coincidence?- No, I don't believe in them.

    The little shits now know that good people won't risk confronting them.

    Now I'm off to rub some neatsfoot oil into my horsewhip and do some bicep curls!

  8. Typical conservative comments here.

    Hopefully Sus realises that the erosion of freedom has contributed to anti-social behaviour.

    Teens are one of the most discriminated against groups in society. They are often not allowed to wear hoodies, go to the mall, look in shop windows, congregate in groups larger than 3, drive a car with an exhaust over a certain level, etc etc.

    As a case in point I had a group of teens stay at our beach house over New Year. The next door neighbours (in their 30's or early 40's) were so enraged over teens saying 'muthafucka' on the terrace, being 'cheeky', and playing gansta rap that they took it upon themselves to trespass on our property and smash a window and smash up the barbeque in protest.

    My son called the police who were almost totally on our side. We withdrew charges on moral grounds because we knew the boys had been badly behaved and annoying even though they had not broken any law or trespassed. But I think us biting back gave them a fright.

    People are way too intolerant these days, and the Emery case has emboldened rednecks it seems.

    There is no excuse for damaging your GM's property -- I'm just putting up another side to the story.

  9. Peter you say "rule of law". Do you mean the one sided set of rules that only ever apply to the hard working man? Or is it the spineless justice system doling out slaps with wet bus tickets?

    Emery went to jail and soon the next guy will snap and follow him, and the next and the next. I sure as hell am ready to do some damage to anyone defacing my property.

    It is not Emery who snapped here. What is snapping world wide is the overstressed tolerance level of law abiding citizens.

    The further you stretch a rubber string, the more it hurts when it snaps back. And man, it is about to snap big time.

  10. What needs to be done? Obviously there are no easy answers to this. I'm not going to attempt to give you one either, but I can give you an idea of what goes on in their heads.

    I'm no angel, Sus, and I have to admit to vandalism in my youth. I knew what I was doing was morally wrong. Didn't care. I knew it caused financial hardship on my victims. Didn't care. I knew it actually frightened some of them. Didn't care. The worst of it landed me in jail. Didn't care.

    About 5 years after I changed myself into a proper human again, the martial arts school I was at got badly trashed. 40 windows smashed, all interior walls damaged, all 150 fluorescent lights smashed. While I was helping my teacher fix the place up, it hit me like a ton of bricks. THEN I cared.

    What can you do to punish people who are pissed off, bored and simply don't care?

    Jail time won't necessarily work, it's just an inconvenience. Sure, to some kids 'experimenting' with being bad, it would have an effect, but as you've pointed out, what's the chance of them even being caught, since property damage isnt taken seriously?

    When it comes to the more hardened criminal element, the one thing that should be obvious to most of the people here is that your average person doesn't REALLY value their personal freedom that much - should it be any surprise when the criminal element don't really value their physical freedom?

    Prison actually removes a lot of the stresses of normal life, and for most inmates it's an inability to deal with those stresses that leads them astray in the first place. On top of that, jail is an acceptable risk for them - like a high risk investment.

    Please, don't anybody get the impression I'm advocating there should not be prisons - I'm not advocating anything, cos I have no answers. All I'm saying is that for most of the criminal element, there's bugger all punishment that can work effectively.

    They truly do only respect a 'live by the sword, die by the sword' mentality. As much as the cultured side of me is against the principle of vigilante justice, the 'former' side of me knows that if vandals ran a high risk of having the living shit beaten out of them, there'd be less property damage. If taggers were hogtied and sprayed with their own paint, and KNEW that would probably happen, there'd be less graffiti.

  11. If taggers were hogtied and sprayed with their own paint, and KNEW that would probably happen, there'd be less graffiti

    Rubbish. More freedom and personal responsibility would ensure this simply would not happen nearly as much.

    Just the usual authoritarian conservative answers to a conservative dog whistle post.

    Ho hum Libz.

  12. Spray the pricks with paint remover...

  13. Ruth, I wouldn't say that the erosion of liberties over the past few years has contributed to the current situation as much as the culture of welfarism has. The regulations you point out are effects, not causes.

    What's needed, fundamentally, is a cultural change to something more life-affirming than the current nihilist culture. Then we'll have the removal of the regulations you point out.

  14. Ruth, I'm neither a lib nor a conservative - I made those comments from the point of view of one who's been there and done that. What about yourself? Have you ever actually lived on the wrong side of the law, or are you just commenting from the hand-wringing, brow-furrowed 'how can we help these poor unfortunate law-breakers' side of things?

    OF COURSE it's about personal responsibility, not a person here would deny that. How can people be expected to act responsibly when there are
    1) No incentives to do so
    2) No consequences if they don't
    3) They're being raised by people with no concept of personal responsibility themselves

    Your stance implies that people would magically want to do 'the right thing' if we stop picking on them. As I stated FACTUALLY in my comment above, vandals and taggers and criminals in general simply don't care.

    If you seriously believe that taggers wouldn't stop if they ran a high risk of being caught and hogtied etc... (and by calling my comment bullshit, that seems to be what you do in fact believe) then you really have to try and spend some time in the real world. Reality's not so bad y'know, except when the drugs wear off.

  15. So concern for property rights is a "conservative dog whistle post", eh? I'll come back to that.

    Anon: Thanks for the 'advice' that would land us in the cell next to Bruce Emery. That was helpful. Thanks, too, for the heads-up on libertarianism. I'll be sure to check it out. :/

    "You cannot force people to be responsible. You can only hold them responsible. .. lack of responsibility .. "

    Now you're talking. Stick to that.

    Marcus: Thanks for your comments. I appreciated your honesty. Your history matches that of a guy I once knew. Good for you for changing your life.

    Q: What made you change your behaviour? (If I may be so bold to ask).

    Ruth: "If taggers were hogtied and sprayed with their own paint, and KNEW that would probably happen, there'd be less graffiti


    Really? Remember when Bruce Emery was convicted of manslaughter a week before Xmas? Remember what his neighbour and supporter, a young Pacific Island woman, said?

    "There hasn't been any more tagging around here since it happened (Jan 08). I think the taggers got the message."

    You might not like it - and you won't - but that spoke for itself.

    "Erosion of freedom has contributed to anti-social behaviour"? What, in teenagers? Minors? That's rhetoric worthy of Cindy Kiro's office and as such I disagree.

    Erosion of respect (i) for others, (ii) personal responsibility for one's actions and (iii) ill-discipline, more like it. Why is Manchester the ASBO capital of Britain? Because the teens there have fewer "freedoms" than in Birmingham or Leeds? Nonsense. Callum's comment was well said.

    Your beach story intrigued me. I have a question or two if you have the time/inclination:

    1. Were the kids older or younger teens?

    2. Were they playing their music loudly? As in drive-the-neighbours-nuts loudly? What sort of volume?

    3. Same with their swearing .. was it at volume? Could the neighbours have clearly heard it? Did they have little kids who might have been exposed to it?

    4. Did you tell them to not do those things? (Presumably if they were younger, they were supervised).

    I'm not excusing the damage done to your property. I'm just putting up another side to the story. ;)

  16. Ruth

    So your offspring (and their "friends") were allowed to damage other people's quiet enjoyment of their properties while said offspring (and "friends") were on your property, under your supervision and responsibility.

    You can't have it both ways. Since your lot didn't respect the rights of others it is rich for you to expect anyone to respect your rights.

    You (personally) allowed circumstances that were likely to cause conflict, mayhem and violence- very irresponsible. You are lucky you or your children (or their associates) didn't receive "a right brutal hiding", along with possible injury, as a result of your carelessness and lcak of responsibility. Clearly your childern need reigning in. That needs to happen very soon. You'd be well advised to set this right asap.

    Things have getting more and more dangerous in NZ lately. You need to be much more responsible with your childern and their associates. Things could end up much more serious next time. One thing is for certain, you now have some determined enemies who will not respect you, let alone your "rights". Worse, they sure are not going to be amenable to any perceived future transgressions by your children or their associates. You probably should head over and make the peace with your neighbours sometime soon. Either that or leave.


  17. Sus, you certainly can be so bold, but I'd prefer to send it privately - do you have an email address you don't mind posting here?

  18. Certainly: susan.ryder@libertarianz.org.nz will do the trick.


  19. Ruth lamented:

    "I had a group of teens stay at our beach house over New Year. The next door neighbours (in their 30's or early 40's) were so enraged over teens saying 'muthafucka' on the terrace, being 'cheeky', and playing gansta rap.."

    I am sorry to hear how your offspring (and their friends) have turned out. It must be a deeply troubling outcome for you. I think LGM offered some superb advice. Let us know how you get on.



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