Of the weak, by the weak, for the weak

In Newsletter Editorial5 MinutesBy Dave McCoidJune 10, 2022

It started with a chat among the early morning regulars at the local coffee shop, and a general lamentation over our wee town’s apparent lack of civic pride. That subject spawned from a discussion about the musical theatre production – it was revealed that a security and safety requirement was for cast and crew to walk to their cars, parked across the road from the theatre, in pairs after each show. Any females certainly shouldn’t be left to walk alone.

Like many towns across the country, Thames has seen an increase in seedy vagrants lurking in the shadows. They fall into one of two categories: those who make little or no contribution to the community but demand some, if not all, of the social benefits taxpayers provide, and those who disrupt the community… and demand some, if not all, of the social benefits taxpayers provide. Currently, the latter group appears to be increasing in numbers and in aggression.

I was asked by one member of the morning coffee crew what I thought. I said one issue was intertwined with the other. I stopped short of saying they were correlated because I don’t believe that is necessarily the case.

I said we’ve given our town away to the second vagrant group. It’s no longer our town; it’s theirs. If we’ve reached the stage where we counsel each other to stay in packs when moving at night for security, we’ve surrendered our town to the criminal and intimidating element. I said: “A town I’d like to live in would see a young female able to walk the length of the main street on her own after a show, get in her car, and go home. But that’s not the scenario the bulk of society wants today – that’s not the town the residents here want. They’re obviously happy to hand control to other groups who run it as they see fit.”

Of course, what’s happening in Thames is merely a micro example of what’s happening around the country, particularly in Auckland with the gang situation. Two such groups have become so brazen and indifferent to any potential consequences that they’re more than comfortable shooting at each other in public. The police commissioner was on the radio last week saying moves were afoot to get around a table and discuss what it would take to get them to stop shooting at each other. On Wednesday morning, a Massey University academic said that taking a hard line with gangs was just a “political drum” (I think that was the term he used), and any ramping up in countermeasures may well impinge on the rights of the gangs.

None of this is the fault of the gangs or the police or our poor old mate at Massey who (I guess) isn’t being caught in the inter-gang crossfire as some Aucklanders currently are, or living next to a ‘club’ headquarters.

No, it is, in fact, our fault for allowing it all to get to this level. Given the political model of government we have adopted, the only party who can determine the nature of our country is us, the public. If our towns have reached the stage where we walk the streets at night with groups of marauding lunatics riding mechanical scooters and shooting at each other, or ram-raiders lining up their next target, then we’ve done that. We’ve allowed that. We’ve created that.

We’ve created a confusion between policing and behavioural-change agencies/social services.

What we have fallen into is the old weak leadership spiral. True leadership is compassionate, but it’s never weak.

I’m sure Government of the weak, by the weak, for the weak, is not what Lincoln had in mind, but somewhere I believe we largely find ourselves today, on a number of fronts. I hope that it shall indeed, one day, perish from the earth.

If it doesn’t, we’ll not solve a damn thing, be it gangs, climate, or anything else.

All the best

Dave McCoid
Editorial Director