Greater government power
Melbourne came under attack last Friday afternoon.
A crazed man took to the streets, set his crappy blue ute alight, and ran about Bourke Street trying to stab the people of Melbourne.
He would have been a terrifying presence, too. All six feet, four inches of him.
Some people ran for their lives.
Most people, however, turned on their phones.
Thanks to the hundreds of smartphone videos taken at all angles, folks at home were able to watch the moment two street cops tried to subdue the attacker.
That same footage also gave us ‘Trolley Man’.
During times of acute stress, the human body releases a bunch of hormones that trigger the ‘fight or flight’ response.
At least, that was the typical response until 20 years ago.
Nowadays, it appears there are three ways the body deals with acute stress: Fight, flight or footage.
And it turns out that ‘footage’ is what most people went with on Friday.
A tall, strong-looking man took to Bourke Street in Melbourne and tried to stab people.
The majority of people fled the scene.
Once they reached safety, they whipped out their phones and recorded the man’s confrontation with police. Less than 100 feet away from the attacker, I might add.
The upside of this is that Australia scored a new hero, ‘Trolley Man’.
And from other angles, there’s some other dude walking around behind police with a chair. Someone we shall now call ‘Chair Guy’.
Trolley Man and Chair Guy clearly have the ‘fight’ response when in danger.
The thing that I’m still wrestling with, though, is that the ever-present smartphone footage meant I was able to watch the moment a Victorian policeman shot the attacker dead.
It’s confronting. It made me uncomfortable too.
But it didn’t seem real.
Perhaps I’m somewhat desensitised after years of watching violent Hollywood blockbusters.
Never let a crisis go to waste
I’m not sure what the media coverage is like outside of Melbourne right now. But the local rags are chewing over every fact.
Trolley Man and Chair Guy are gaining notoriety.
And the Victorian policemen who dealt with the situation are being hailed as heroes.
An example of the top-notch ‘boys in blue’ coming out of the Victoria Police Academy.
Turns out, one of those coppers only graduated three months ago. I’ll bet both were terrified as the situation played out.
But what happens next? Once the praise for their actions fades away, I mean.
The ultimate outcome will be greater power for the police force and the government.
It won’t be long before the Bourke Street attack becomes a ‘case study’ to justify an increase in funding for tactical police groups.
You see, the special operations groups — the ones who spend 99% of their duty hours training for a situation like this — didn’t get there in time.
This left two street cops to handle it. And the boys on the beat did extremely well. The entire event unfolded over just two to three minutes.
No doubt some overpaid government employee will highlight this exact point in the near future.
The attack unfolded too quickly for the ‘highly trained’ police to get there and deal with it.
Some case study will overlook the fact that the street cops handled the situation perfectly fine.
Instead, the facts will get twisted into a story to push for greater funding for the tactical group.
The outcome may have been different if the tactical team had responded in time. If it had been there, would the attacker be dead? At least, that’s the rhetorical question you’ll hear.
Any heart-strong angle will be used to get what the government wants.
Which, I suspect, is a tactical group that would always have a visible presence in Melbourne.
Something that would lead to the creation of a military-style police force in the city.
A highly unnecessary style of policing in this country.
And I have no doubt that’s what many political fools will be pushing for.
Greater government power
Here’s the thing.
Two Victorian cops did what they were trained to do. They recalled on six months of their academy training and took the attacker out.
And they did this using the current legal framework that gives them the power to ‘shoot to kill’.
Yet, from here on in, that won’t be enough for the power-hungry politicians.
Hang onto your hats, people of Australia. Because things are about to change. For the worse.
The politicians out to boost their profile are using the media to ask — nay, demand! — how the attacker wasn’t deemed violent, even though ASIO cancelled his passport in 2015.
There’ll be an inquest. A demand to know in minute detail what happened. All under the pretence of ‘preventing’ another tragedy like this again.
This is nothing more than a thinly veiled grab for power.
And that outcome should terrify you.
The result of the inquest won’t be a safer Australia.
It will be increased power for ASIO and similar government authorities.
Read that again.
Thanks to the media spin, any inquest will create ‘tougher laws for terror suspects’.
The flipside of tougher laws is increased power for government bodies.
And stupidly, that’s what many people will call for.
They’ll insist on greater political power, more complicated laws and increased funding, so another event like this can be avoided.
But that won’t work.
All that will achieve is a misallocation of funds to ‘fight’ off a threat, the odds of which are too low to calculate, according to experts.
In fact, you’re twice as likely to die by a crocodile bite than in a terrorist attack.
Not only that, the increase in police power will correlate to greater government oversight of you.
Hollering for tighter laws and greater law enforcement spending is essentially becoming a cheerleader for the slow decline of your own freedoms.
Yes, the event was tragic.
Yet it was handled exceptionally well, thanks to current police training and existing laws.
Nothing needs to be changed.
Except, that won’t stop the power grab from politicians once again, as they pretend they are trying to protect you.
Until next time,