Mundine sentiment missing the mark

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What is the likely fact missing from the following droll entry in the NSW Police media log for Wednesday, September 28, last year?

''Police have arrested two boys aged 15 and 11 following the pursuit of a stolen car in Sydney's inner west this morning. About 3.30am police spotted a stolen white Honda Civic travelling along Parramatta Road at Stanmore.

''The car failed to stop after being directed and a pursuit was initiated … The pursuit was terminated after … the car crashed into a gutter at an intersection [in Petersham].

''When police approached the car, the 15-year-old driver was allegedly armed with a pair of scissors … The driver, from Glebe, was subjected to a breath alcohol analysis and returned a reading of 0.042.''

The same likely fact is missing from a incident two weeks later on October 11, reported on smh.com.au: ''A 14-year-old girl allegedly failed to stop for a random breath test and led officers on a high-speed car chase before crashing and rolling a car in western Sydney this morning, police say.''

The car chase took place about 3am in the western suburb of Whalan.

There have been other similar incidents leading up to the depressingly predictable crash and shooting in Kings Cross early on Saturday, when a stolen car, driven by a 14-year-old, ran down two pedestrians.

What sort of kids are on the streets after 3am, in stolen cars, drinking alcohol, driving recklessly and resisting police?

You know the answer. The statistical probability points to a subculture that is overwhelmingly over-represented in arrests, convictions, incarceration, child abuse, child neglect, domestic violence, alcohol abuse and substance abuse. This subculture functions in a culture of moral apartheid, which perpetuates the vicious cycle.

It was inevitable that a feral teenager in a stolen car was going to run over someone. Cars are more lethal than guns. They kill or seriously injure thousands of people a year, while guns are used in only several dozen murders or attempted murders a year.

In Kings Cross on Saturday morning, Sarah Roberts and Tanya Donaldson were on the footpath when they were bowled over. Roberts, 29, was rushed to hospital. The joyriders going to Kings Cross in a stolen car were begging for trouble and it duly came when a police foot patrol, attempting to stop a vehicle that had already hit two women, fired into the front window to immobilise the car.

In so doing the police wounded the 14-year-old driver and the 17-year-old front seat passenger. The police were aiming at the windshield, not the occupants. When a car is being driven with such callous indifference to safety that two pedestrians are knocked over, police must assume the car's occupants are also dangerous and attempt to subdue them quickly. These incidents take place in instants, not minutes.

It turns out that the driver of the car has been known to police since he was eight. Eight! Five occupants of the car, including two 14-year-olds, were later charged with various offences.

Yet since the incident the two who were shot have been presented as victims, with stories about anger in Redfern. At a rally outside NSW Parliament on Wednesday organisers accused police of ''attempted murder''.

Predictably, Anthony Mundine, he of the quick fists and quick mouth, entered the fray via Twitter: ''Heartbreaking day for me visiting 14 y.o kid shot by police at Kings Cross. I'm at loss to understand how cops could shoot unarmed kids!!!''

He later added: ''Barry O'Farrell needs to take a serious look at his police force. All I keep hearing about [is] trigger happy cops killing people. Wrong fo[r] real!!!''

It is not ''trigger happy cops'' the community is worried about. The bulk of the anger coming out of the Kings Cross drama is from a much wider community sick of violent, self-destructive behaviour by young Aborigines. The community is sick, too, of the constant use of the term ''disadvantage'' to rationalise the irrational and excuse the inexcusable.

Mundine continued to dig a hole for himself on Twitter yesterday - ''police intentionally shot to kill!'' - followed by this: ''Yes the kids should be trailed [sic] for what they did! But the police should be trailed [sic] for attempted murder!''

Sarah Roberts and Tanya Donaldson were minding their own business when they were mowed down by a dangerous fool. As to their welfare, Mundine had nothing to say, other than this: ''DID THEY DIE???''

Paul Sheehan is a Sydney Morning Herald columnist

-National Times

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