Sunday, September 9, 2007

Does it really matter?

I've been browsing through stories in The Australian about police behavior during the APEC events in Sydney. And I've been asking myself questions of a rhetorical kind. That's to say, it's important to pose such questions, without necessarily hoping to obtain answers.

• Does it really matter if a pair of air-force fighter jets scarred shit out of an innocent private pilot in a tiny Cessna who strayed into the air-exclusion zone?

• Does it really matter if dozens of police removed their identity tags before manhandling innocent demonstrators in an excessive manner?

• Does it really matter if a freelance photographer was arrested and charged after refusing to stop filming police during the protest?

• Does it really matter if an innocent 52-year-old onlooker, crossing the road ahead of an APEC motorcade, was arrested violently in front of his son, and spent 22 hours in jail before being released on bail?

Personally, I don't think it matters a lot, because every society generally ends up with the police it deserves. And many Australians are so hoodwinked into believing naively that they live in a laid-back environment that they apparently accepted the recent police closure of Sydney as a necessary evil, without seeing Howard's dictatorial constraint as a state-imposed incursion upon their civil liberties.

Hearing complaints, Andrew Scipione, the new chief commissioner of police, explained: "That's the way we do business in NSW now." What a frightening conclusion.

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