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Terror, Terror, Terror… But Let’s Not Politicise It Unless We Can Stick It To Labor!

Malcolm Turnbull was quick to wonder why that guy who committed the terrorist attack in Brighton was on parole…

Now, we know it’s a “terrorist attack” because Khayre said that he was doing it for “ISIS and Al Qaeda” which some pedants have suggested was rather strange considering that there’s a major split between the two. Rather like a protest in Queensland where the spokesman claims that he’s there on behalf of Adani and The Greens. However, let’s not let that stop us from giving the man all the notoriety of a terrorist rather than the cursory glance of a petty criminal or the total irrelevance of someone who kills their wife. Let’s do several pages on who he was and make him sound important enough for some deranged person to want to copy.

Yes, he’s a terrorist and therefore must be given plenty of coverage. This is something that’s IMPORTANT. Not one of the many thousands of preventable deaths that don’t even rate a mention in the news media. We must have a profile on him.

And we must find someone – or something – to blame.

Blaming Islam has been given a pretty good airing by some politicians. But we’ve been doing that since 2001 and there’s a limit to how often you can do that when you have no real solution once you’ve placed the blame.

“We should stop Muslim immigration!”
“Yeah, but most of the terrorist crimes have been committed by people born in the country and radicalised!”

And, of course, some people will put up memes like this:

So, Malcolm Turnbull wonders why that Jacqub Khayre was on parole:

“How was this man on parole?
“He had a long record of violence — a very long record of violence. He had been charged with a terror offence and acquitted, known to have connections, at least in the past, with violent extremists. He was a known violent offender.”

And Victorian Opposition leader jumps on the bandwagon asking Daniel Andrews in Question Time: “Under your watch, what is it that a criminal has to do to be denied parole in the state of Victoria?”

Now I know that the Courts will sometimes get in wrong, even if they’re not the ones named Margaret or Richard. Take the recent Bourke Street tragedy where Dimitrious Gargasoulas was granted bail. Much was made of the fact that the police opposed it, but unless you know how common it for police to oppose bail then that fact by itself is meaningless. If, for example, the police do that in 98% of cases, then it’s natural that the magistrate will frequently ignore it, but if they only do it rarely, then it’s more significant if the advice isn’t heeded. It’s easy to look at this one case in retrospect and say that the court got it wrong. However, the consequence of always remanding someone may mean that we need to significantly raise taxes in order to build more remand centres capable of housing all of the extra people.

In the Brighton case, we have a violent criminal who was on parole. Now, parole doesn’t necessary mean “early release” and I’m not sure anybody would advocate releasing violent offenders into the community with no oversight whatsoever. Turnbull’s point about him being charged with a terror offence – and acquitted – doesn’t suggest to me that he shouldn’t have been on parole; it suggests that, if anything, he should have been on an ASIO or AFP watch list, which would make him a Federal Government failure. No, says Malcolm, let’s look at why he was out on parole, but I’ll bet if someone suggests that it may have been a failure of something that his government is responsible for, we’ll see complaints about politicising a tragedy.

While some people who’ve committed terrorist offences are being kept in jail after their sentence has finished because they’re still regarded as a threat, but in Khayre’s case that would be a bit problematic because he was acquitted of the terrorist offence in 2010. He was in jail for a home invasion, and while it was a violent one, as yet, we are not in the habit of extending sentences for violent criminals because we suspect they might offend.*

Which bring me back to the Victorian Opposition Leader, Matthew “Vote for Me Cause I’m Not Daniel Andrews Apart From That I Got Nothing” Guy. In attacking Khayre’s release from prison, Guy completely ignores the fact that he was sentenced in 2012 while the Victorian Liberals were in government. If the sentence was too light, then surely his predecessors must share some of the blame for not ensuring that sentences were tougher – one of their election promises in 2010. Of course, pointing out something like that would just be petty point-scoring.

The simple truth is that we can’t prepare for the unexpected. There’ll always be someone who suddenly becomes violent with no warning. But in the recent terror incident in Brighton, the questions of who he was, why he was on parole, whether he was trying to patch up the feud between ISIS and Al Qaeda and can we blame it on Labor are largely unimportant. The important question is: Was it predictable that a person with violent tendencies and drug problems was liable to commit a violent act when released from prison?

If the answer to that is yes, then whether it’s a terrorist act or not, surely the only other question can be: What can we do to reduce the chance of it happening again?

*Of course, that’s a whole other discussion. If ALL violent criminals were held until we thought that they’d been rehabilitated, then we’d have a completely different justice system. Mind you, it’d probably cost a lot more and we’d eventually realise that maybe we should spend more on drug and education programs for prisoners because it’s cheaper in the long run.

Update on parole: Just In: Parole board was ‘never told’ Brighton siege gunman was on terror watch list

http://ab.co/2rSVmcB


29 comments

  1. Ill fares the land

    Those who are quick to rant at politicians on the bail issue should take the trouble to read the (Victorian) Bail Act 1977 (section 4), wherein it enshrines in law a presumption that an accused is entitled to bail and then goes on to list a series of exceptions – the most recent of which is where the person is charged with a terrorism offence. Granted, the law perhaps needs to be changed and public sentiment at least demands a review – not to mention political survival for incumbent governments and political opportunism for the Oppositions and for Turnbull of course, since Labor is in power in Victoria and there will always be potential for some backlash against Shorten. Now, of course, the former Liberal government in Victoria COULD have changed that law, but didn’t.

    But, do you reverse the presumption of bail (which exists in all states), so that no-one is entitled to bail unless they can show cause? Perhaps that is one option, but that would quickly fill remand centres to overflowing and probably not achieve the desired outcome, because what goes on in a Court is invariably reduced to a game by legal counsel, which undoubtedly has police tearing out their hair in frustration.

    On the matter of parole, studies in the US indicated that most of the time, parole boards would do just as well to toss a coin. They think they are making a fully informed decision, but are still going on “gut instinct” – or, put more cynically, are guessing at least some of the time. There certainly are grounds to find a better way to assess the likelihood that a prisoner will commit further crimes. The current methods are not effective, although no method is 100% effective. I look at the SA Parole Board in particular and have grave doubts about the capabilities of the members, one of whom seems to have been promoted way beyond their level of ability, so human failings are always going to be a factor – unless guidelines are 100% prescriptive so as to remove judgement altogether, but even the almighty tax legislation, which has become ponderous in its attempts to protect the revenue, still falls well short in some areas, so more rules isn’t necessarily the answer.

    Perhaps one possibility is to write a computer algorithm that determines the likelihood of recidivism. It is surprising how well computer programs can aid human judgement – after all, Facebook and Google (as examples) are able to very accurately assess our characters and consumer choices from the information we post online and our search choices..

  2. Glenn Barry

    Very good article
    If all of the meth fuelled violent crime in this country was tallied and the respective religions of the perpetrators credited – we’re awash with terrorist attacks, primarily perpetrated by people with religious backgrounds other than Islam.
    This perpetrators misguided religious motivations are irrelevant, especially when accounting for the deranged psychotic thought patterns from methamphetamine.
    How do I know? I have a violent psychotic brother with long standing methamphetamine abuse problems, it gets all of the users eventually

  3. darrel nay

    Hey glenn,
    a terrorist is someone who uses terror to push a political perspective not simply a violent person.

    Cheers

  4. paulwalter

    You are sure of that, darrel? Whose “poitical” agenda does a”terrorist” push?

    If a “terrorist” is someone pushing a political objective” what does that make our troops and bomber crews throughout that region.

  5. darrel nay

    reply for paulwalter,
    If you want to see our troops as terrorists, that is your choice, but I would point out that you are lucky to live in a country that has the freedoms that allow you to speak your mind – unlike many of the countries that our troops are in.
    I am grateful to all the troops (men and women) who have put their lives on the line to defend our freedoms across the generations. Many have died defending the freedoms you benefit from.

    Peace

  6. tanginitoo

    A person called a Terrorist by some, is known as a Freedom Fighter by others, just depends
    on which side of the pancake you are on!

  7. diannaart

    darrel nay

    “Many have died defending the freedoms you benefit from”

    That was very true back in WW2.

  8. Peter

    Typical left wing apologist ‘nothing is islam’s fault ever’ response! I doubt any on the left could have an honest, rational debate based on evidence.

  9. darrel nay

    reply for Tanginitoo,

    If our freedom-fighter is stabbing little girls in the neck then the freedom fighter is a sicko.

    Peace

  10. Kronomex

    “If our freedom-fighter is stabbing little girls in the neck then…” And then you use the word “Peace”? You tend to use violence laced language a tad too much.
    A terrorist is anyone who uses violence, or even the implied threat, to get a point across. It is not the exclusive domain of religious based violence.

  11. kerri

    Spot on Rossleigh!
    We can’t imprison someone for what we think they are thinking.
    Read a NYTimes article late last week explaining just that.
    We can’t stop terrorism from happening what we can do is react to terrorist acts in a better more effective manner to minimise the copycatting that ISIS will always lay claim to, just as lamely as politicians who will use these acts to further their cause. Enter Matthew Guy.

  12. darrel nay

    reply for Kronomex,
    I didn’t say that terrorism was religious, I said it is political.

    As for your assessment of the quantity of ‘violence-laced language’ I use well I would point out that it is in the context of a blog about terrorism, where I am continually pointing out my objection to this violence. Life is not a ‘safe space’.

    Further, in a free country, I don’t need you to tell me how much language is too much.

    Peace

  13. Harlan Reese

    Gee Darrel:
    What do you think of the slaughter of hundreds of women and children in Mosul by the ‘brave’ COALition top gunners.

  14. darrel nay

    reply for Harlan Reese,

    The deaths of innocents are ALWAYS a tragedy.

    It is also relevant to mention that the bulk of the forces attacking ISIS in Mosul are Kurdish Peshmerga and also that they would prefer to fight in the open but ISIS are notorious for hiding among civilians. ISIS has run around killing hundreds of thousands of other Muslims and tens of thousands of Christians and non-believers and it only makes sense that people are going to fight against ISIS and their ideology.

    If you think coalition forces want to kill innocent civilians then you probably don’t know many soldiers. ISIS on the other hand proudly proclaim their aim to kill anyone that won’t submit to their loony ideology.

    Cheers

  15. Kronomex

    “Further, in a free country, I don’t need you to tell me how much language is too much.” Ah, I see that your version of a free country is different. You can say what you like but I don’t have the freedom to say how I feel about what you say.

    Terrorism is not just politically or religious based it can be applied to any act of violence. I can threaten to destroy a factory that doesn’t make the kind of spaghetti I want; where’s the political reason in that?

  16. economicreform

    We have enemies who hate us and are out to destroy our way of life, and we are under attack. Be very very frightened. And big brother will protect you. George Orwell and other perceptive writers well understood that political scoundrels can always be relied upon to exploit fear, ignorance, prejudice, patriotism and religion in their attempts to manipulate and control the beliefs, opinions and behaviour of the general population. And that this is always done to further their political advantage.

  17. darrel nay

    Kronomex,

    You didn’t say that you thought I used too much violent language – you said that I used too much violent language. You are entitled to express your thoughts but if your thoughts stretch to telling me how much I can speak then I’ll point out that it’s none of your business.

    As for your spaghetti example, I think you are using a definition of political which is limited to party and state politics – I was using a wider definition to include the politic of the individual. I am comfortable with a definition of terrorism as being the use of violence to push a political aim.

    Cheers

  18. Kronomex

    I’ll rephrase my original since it seems to have offended you: Methinks you tend to use violence laced language a tad too much.

    “…I think you are using a definition of political which is limited to party and state politics…” How did you manage to bring party and state politics into something that is not political. Spaghetti is political?

    On the etymology of terrorism we shall agree to disagree.

  19. darrel nay

    Appreciate it Kronomex

    I’m a grown adult so I won’t get offended.

    Cheers

  20. wam

    Were you too young for Ireland? Not heard of the guilford 4? Not spoken to the english about the irish? Not heard a paisley speech? The Irish had a legitimate truth of purpose.
    If the melbourne incident was ISIS what was the point? What did he hope to achieve? His purpose was to get to heaven???

  21. Kronomex

    Appreciate what? I wasn’t being contrite.

    Before I forget: “ISIS has run around killing “hundreds of thousands” of other Muslims and “tens of thousands” of Christians and non-believers…” want to back up your statement with some facts otherwise it’s, again, anecdotal.

  22. Sam

    Peter how about you try and debate the regulars on here about the pressing issues in society? The Aimn regulars I have seen would welcome such debate but you have likely already made your mind up and will refuse to come back and do what you say they wont.

  23. king1394

    One thing is clear: experience of incarceration in our prisons is not leading to rehabilitation. It has often been said that prisons require the inmates to associate with the most hardened criminals who practically train fellow inmates in negative skills and attitudes. Mr McMahon, the Chair of the Prison Officers Branch of the Public Service Association, and a Senior Officer at Goulburn Jail, has said that a subset of prisoners are pushing an extremist form of Islam within prisons.
    It appears to me that there is a need to rethink the way our justice system works. Reinstating programs that improve people’s opportunities to rejoin society; cutting down on the imprisonment of people for minor offences and non-payment of fines ; not putting young or first offenders in with hardened criminals would reduce ‘contamination’ between essentially ordinary fallible people and real criminals. Within places like the Goulburn SuperMax not allowing extreme groups to form. and maintaining programs that keep prisoners from developing such severe anger and hatred of society would help.

  24. My say

    Spreading hate and fear ,by those who hope to gain votes from it seems to be the he norm in Australia when all else,they certainly aren’t helping any ,they are deviding our country,how many have been killed by terrists in our country,I know they should not have been any , People really have to put things into perspective,HOW many women and Children have been killed by domestic violence,they out weigh terrorism by miles Where is the outrage about that

  25. John

    More people are killed by lightning than terrorism.
    I vote we put the gent in the photo under a thunderstorm with his finger in the air to protect us.

  26. Johno

    John,
    With all due respect, I like your point. That would also invoke a very saint like image from the turncoat.

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