Has anyone been attacked either verbally or physically by someone who is clearly drunk, out of it on drugs or simply mentally unstable? Yes? Me too. I imagine the majority of people have. When I am in a situation like this my first thought is my safety and the safety of those around me, not recording it so I can share it on social media. So when I saw a post on my friend’s Facebook page showing her friend who had been verbally abused and had cans thrown at her, as much as I was disgusted by the person who was doing the attacks behaviour, I couldn’t help but question the mentality of someone who instead of acting to defuse and protect themselves in this situation, pulls out a mobile phone to record as if they are daring the person to continue. I just think that is nuts. They were trying to get the video to go viral. We live in a screwed up world when your priority is getting a video to go viral rather than ensuring your safety of the safety of others. After the video went viral the police got involved.
So here is the video I’m referring to http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11799076, it got picked up by mainstream media. I knew it would as soon as I saw it, because it is on the hot topic of the month, Muslims.
I’ve never been physically attacked by a drunk, drugged or mentally unstable person, but yelled at, yes. So I can’t say I have been in exactly the same position as this person, however, in saying that, maybe I’ve never had the drunks cans thrown at me as when I perceive danger I act in a way that defuses, minimises or escapes me from the situation, I don’t pull out a phone to record or start arguing with the person. In this situation, I would have either got back into the car and called the police in the safety of my car (she couldn’t have just driven off as her friends were still in the bathroom), driven away down the road and rang my friends in the bathroom to tell them to stay there because a crazy person was outside and you were calling the police and would let them know when it was safe to leave the bathroom – then called the police, or gone into the bathrooms with my friends, shut ourselves in there and called the police. The police are there to protect us when we are in danger. Call them. Even after the clearly drunk person left them alone, were they not concerned about others encountering the same behaviour further down the road? The police got contacted eventually, but that was after they traveled back to Auckland from Huntly, that’s just over an hour away in good traffic, it can definitely take longer, and after they posted it on Facebook and Twitter. Their friends advise on Facebook was to go to the police. The best time to call the police is at the time of the incident because that is when they can come and protect you. That is when they can arrest the person who was clearly not only a danger to others but also to themselves, and although they can arrest them later, best to arrest them to protect from danger, rather than waiting until they commit a serious crime which ruins someone’s life and then catch them.
She was very clearly drunk. Drunk people do crazy irrational things. I’ve seen it. Go to a town in any major city on a Friday or Saturday night and you will probably encounter a drunk person saying stupid things, offending people all over the place for no reason at all, and blurting out attacks on people for the first thing that pops into their head – race, overweight, underweight, hair style, what they are wearing, what they look like, who they are with – anything they see will be judged out loud. It’s what drunk people do. Drunk and disorderly behaviour happens all the time. Watch the TV shows about real life cop stories and you’ll see it. Some people are happy drunks, but there are some who turn crazy violent when drunk and they are a danger to whoever crosses their path. To me, this video is a crazy drunk person attacking someone for no logical reason other than this is what crazy drunk people do. To this group and the media, it is Islamophobia. The lady in this video tweeted along with her video, “Who says Islamophobia doesn’t exist?”.
Islamophobia, or attacks on Muslims, are the meal ticket of the day for the media. It is the agenda they are pushing forward at the moment, backed by their cries of it wouldn’t happen if Trump wasn’t in power and that these attacks are related to the rise of Trump. I’m not buying into that media spin. There will always be drunk people who will attack anyone in their vicinity because they are drunk losers who have failed and life and are jealous of everyone who is more successful than them. I have been racially attacked too. However, I did not video it. I did not go running to the media about it. I did not even call the police about it because the situation did not turn violent. I just walked away because I felt that was the safest thing for me to do. The reason I didn’t call the police was because I didn’t believe they would care about someone who had another adult yell nasty things at them. It is the job of the police to protect people but they are not supervising bullies at a playground like a teacher on lunch monitor duty. The police are there to protect people in danger and solve crime and there is so much crime, that being verbally assaulted is not high on their list of priorities, and I can understand that.
As soon as I saw the video I thought when they show that picture to the Huntly police I bet they know exactly who the woman is in the picture. In fact, Huntly is a small place, describe the situation and I imagine the police would know who this woman was because the police know the troublemakers in the area. This could have simply been dealt with by a phone call to the Huntly police to get a contact to email the video too – or by calling at the time of the event so the cops could arrive at the scene. Had they not been able to identify the person then social media has its benefits to track people down, but the police should be the first port of call, not the last after Facebook, Twitter, mainstream press. This week I saw another post on Facebook, on our community page was a pic of a couple riding a motorcycle on the footpath near the beach and a children’s playground. They had been there earlier and were angry at the danger that they were putting others and that they were breaking the law by not wearing a helmet. I felt angry that the person didn’t call the police, we have a non-emergency line, if you see someone who is acting in a way that they and those around them could get hurt then use it. Get the police to deal with the situation, what is the point in moaning on social media? Instead of complaining about stuff on social media, a call to the police can have you as part of the solution instead of just an onlooker. I would have called the police, simply because had I ignored the situation and something had happened, like a child from the park running in front of their motorcycle, I would have felt that I was part of the problem and partly responsible because I identified a danger, knew that they were breaking the law, putting people at risk and didn’t act. We need to be more concerned about looking out for the safety of one another rather than trying to get attention on social media. Our priorities are very screwed up.
This attack happened on Saturday. On Sunday the person was arrested and charged, http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/89325722/arrest-over-racial-attack-on-muslim-kiwis-in-huntly. On Monday she plead guilty in court http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/89338315/muslim-abuser-makes-court-appearance-pleads-guilty. That was super fast work by the police, but as I say, my guess is they knew exactly who she was the moment they saw her. It says on the article that she is of no fixed abode, homeless, and was too drunk to remember the incident even happening. The judge requested a Section 38 on the offender’s mental well-being to be provided for sentencing which will take place Wednesday.
Drunk, homeless and possibly crazy, I put this attack down to being at the wrong place at the wrong time, this drunk was in the mood for a fight and they were unlucky enough to be the victims. However, academics are calling for us to have a hate crimes register: http://www.stuff.co.nz/waikato-times/news/89319143/academic-calls-for-better-recording-of-hate-crimes-after-huntly-muslim-attack, how much will that cost us? People who are drunk are going to insult people for the first thing that comes into their head when they are angry, so is this really a hate crime? I think the real issue is alcohol, racism is a secondary factor that likely wouldn’t have happened had the person not been drunk. And yes, Trump is blamed in this article. I’m pretty sure people said racist things when they were drunk before Trump, but people can’t help themselves, they just love to blame the new American president for everything. Instead of spending money on a hate crime register we should be looking to do more to prevent the real problem in this story, alcohol abuse, because without alcohol abuse I really don’t think this story would have occured. Also, if it does turn out that she has mental health issues, our mental health services are woefully underfunded, spending on mental health, alcohol or drug rehab is far better use of money than a hate crimes register. And if it had happened to someone of any other religion or race it would not have received the attention it got, it only was so popular because it gave the media a chance to have another dig at Trump. It’s amazing the small stories that the media blow out of all proportion rather than taking a commonsense approach that this kind of thing, whilst not acceptable, happens every day to every race and every religion, and whilst it was still a crime, just because it happened to someone who was a Muslim doesn’t make it anymore of a crime than if it was someone who was of a different religion or race.