Thursday, July 31, 2008

“Gangs are terrorists” – banning gang patches and other European NZ fantasies

Gang patch ban 'outweighs rights'
A jump in gang crime and the recruitment of youths by gangs means a city-wide patch ban outweighs any human rights considerations, Wanganui Mayor Michael Laws says. Speaking to Parliament's law and order select committee yesterday, Mr Laws said new police figures showed gang criminal activity had increased, with violent attacks almost doubling from 52 in 2006 to 99 in 2007. The Wanganui District Council Prohibition of Gang Regalia Bill, which was spearheaded by Mr Laws and Whanganui National MP Chester Borrows, would ban gang colours, patches and regalia from Wanganui's public places.
Mr Laws said gang members were terrorists, were New Zealand's largest drug manufacturers, and existed only to create mayhem and intimidate law-abiding citizens. Gang regalia was used to recruit children as young as seven who looked up to gang members as role models. "[The ban] is designed to remove intimidation and the potential for violence from public places. We're not solving the gang problem here but we are giving our police another facility to police a safer community."
Mr Laws said the main concern over the bill - that it infringed on gang members' human rights - should be put aside for the greater good. Former police gang specialist Cam Stokes said the bill would be ineffective and make policing gangs more difficult. "It makes it harder to identify those people without their patches. The quicker we identify them after they have committed a serious crime the quicker we catch them."

Oh Lord, where to begin? I used to like Michael, after reading his very good book, The Demon Profession , you got the real feeling that Michael was a very principled voice within NZ First and took his responsibilities as an MP very seriously, however since then he has bloated into Talkback reactionary dog whistle speech that seems more intent at creating heat than any light. This latest outburst demanding gang patches are made illegal is on par with last months call to set the Army on gangs. Setting the Army on NZ citizens because we have decided those citizens are ‘terrorists’ is perhaps the most ill thought out, backward, fear mongering bullshit I’ve ever had the displeasure of reading. The Army? Michael wants to turn the Army on it’s own citizens? He then, without even understanding the irony, invokes the collapse of Zimbabwe as a reason why we should use the Army, of course in Zimbabwe Mugabe has in fact used the Army on his own citizens and managed to do that by painting his opposition out as traitors and terrorists. The way we deal with organized crime in NZ is by reforming the old SFO and attack the financial structures that allow Organized Crime to prosper and have the assets to keep ahead of the Police, as for street gangs, the societal alienation that drives much recruitment for gangs needs to be tackled while a much quicker Court system would hand out quicker Justice so that gang members do perceive that there is a direct counter reaction to their actions, with Court cases taking almost 2 years at the moment, there is no immediate effect felt. These are structural and resourcing issues and would go much further in finding solutions than the madness of suggesting we have the Army turn their guns on a splinter group within society and crush them in some type of bloodbath that Commissioner Laws envisions would be an Apocalyptic cleansing of the filth from the planet, only someone drinking deeply from their own well of bullshit could ever believe that is a solution. Likewise this call to ban gang patches, it won’t change a damned thing and only start a precedence where Michael can decide which group should be in society and which group can’t be in society, his evidence that gang violence doubled last between 2006 and 2007 also coincides with a massive economic downturn that is squeezing those on the bottom, economic factors tend to be more of an exacerbating factor with gangs in this country than some recruitment drive on behalf of the gangs – but Laws doesn’t even consider that, instead he wants them banned, damn the consequences. This is not wisdom, it’s malformed hate.

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