Now it is very difficult for me to argue with much of what he says. Once again it is not the "facts" that are "wrong" so much as the additional narrative that is missing.
The first and most important missing fact is that his two week stay in this country was as guest of the "Sensible Sentencing Trust".
Take the two examples that he gives as "instances" of how the NZ justice system "fails", and the sequel to the second;
The first concerned a man with 102 convictions, many for violence including rape. (I should point out that 102 convictions means many more offences, since the conviction rate is never 100 per cent of the offending rate, and is sometimes only 5 or 10 per cent of it.)
This man nevertheless became eligible for parole.
The second case was of a man with many previous convictions, some for violence, who abducted and murdered a young woman aged 24. He was imprisoned and applied for bail. Three times he was turned down, but a fourth judge granted him bail. He was sent to live at a certain address, where he befriended his neighbours, who did not know that he was accused of murder. Eight months later, while babysitting their children, he killed one of them.
Perhaps the most extraordinary twist of this terrible tale is that the parents of the murdered child then had another baby, which the social services then removed from them on the grounds that they had previously entrusted a child to the care of a murderer and were therefore irresponsible parents. The state blames its citizens for the mistakes - if that is what they are - that it makes.
You can find the gory details of two more instances if you wish on the SST page...
Those four have occurred over a period of some 15 years.
I could add another, of a 15 y-o who was convicted of drug related crimes including use of methamphetamine, who was released to the care of his family and given work experience in a local office. He went back to the office one evening, killed two and seriously injured a third with a baseball bat and made off with the day's takings. He is now the youngest person in this country to have been sentenced to life imprisonment (which given NZ sentencing law means he will be eligible for parole when he is about 30).
It would be a perfect world if we could stop all of these killings and maimings. It would be a perfect world if we did not have road traffic deaths as well.
But commentators like Dalrymple, and organisations like SST as well come to the point, really do piss me off more than just a little.
Yes, I have a problem with them, and it is very simple.
Like so many people, they take a single instance or a very small number of instances and make sweeping generalisations covering the whole population. I can not argue against the figures, they pretty much speak for themselves.
What is missing -
* A meaningful and supportable discussion of the causes of increased crime levels.
* A meaningful and supportable discussion of possible and effective measures that would reduce crime.
* A meaningful and supportable discussion of effective crime prevention.
To take the first point - why did serious crime levels start increasing so rapidly in the early 1980's? Were the causes economic? Were they connected to other social or cultural changes? Were they the result of poor education of parents 20 years earlier? There is no examination of that question by SST. There is a good chance that every one of those questions contributed, but not one more than others.
As an instance in the second case. Parliament last night rejected legislation to increase the minimum age for purchasing liquor from 18 back to 20 (it was reduced some 6 years back). I am pleased that it was rejected. Most of the 18 and older people I know are comparatively responsible. There are a small minority who are not. That is the group that society has to minimise. I can suspect that a goodly number of that minority abuse alchohol, or supply it to under-age siblings, because that is what they were given or allowed to do by their parents. Well documented instances exist - the mother grieving for her son killed in a car accident; she had given him a 40oz bottle of vodka to take to a party and he was driving.
This is very much a social problem. For Dalrymple (as just one instance) to characterise it in this fashion in a somewhat differently edited version of the same op-ed as it appeared in the Herald -
For several hours a large number of these young men careered through the streets (of Napier) in their cars with sawn-off exhausts, completely unoposed - as far as I could tell - by representatives of the law.
And I don't suppose that I have to elaborate on the likely future of a society that fears its own children, or at least enough of them to retreat indoors when they come out to play.
Children have parents.
A very good number of those "children" - the boy racers - are in fact driving vehicles either owned by or purchased by their parents.
A very good number of those "children" are in fact in their 20's. A few could themselves BE parents.
That excuses nothing. This is a problem that society needs deal with. It is the kid's "fault"? Or is it the parent's?
What pisses me is that a person (not the term I would like to use) like Daniels can come to a country like NZ as a guest of a group with a political agenda and can then spout off with great authority about what is wrong.
FOR F***"S SAKE WE KNOW WHAT IS WRONG!!!
How about some sensible, workable, suggestions on how it can be stopped?