A non surfing entry today.
In Japan the institution of 'National Living Treasures' provides a recognition of individuals of great cultural significance. These individuals serve as icons of what we can be, the best in all of us. Australia borrowed the idea some time ago. Richard Tognetti, of Musica Surfica fame, is one, and he was granted the honour at the ripe old age of around 32.
Another is Michael Leunig.
If you don't know of Michael, he is the most humane of men, a humorist and satirist who's cartoons, prose and verse are funny, poignant and always pointed at some gem or lump of coal embedded in the human condition. Sometimes you won't agree, some people think he's mad, but his perceptions have delighted me (mostly) for nearly 40 years.
Attached is a cartoon I clipped out years ago. I placed it near my screen to remind me what the internet can be about, the bad that comes with the good.
The first reaction I had when I saw it was "it's all about porn", but even pornography can be life affirming if it is about joy, and fun, mutual consent on all levels, and respect... Sex is part of life.
On reflection, though, Michael's cartoon spotlights for me the horrors that can come unbidden to our screens.
The other day I was sent a link, with the comment: "Check the link below for some good 'ol American justice." It also said "hold on right to the end... it's unbelievable."
It sure was. Follow this link only if you've got a strong stomach.
For me it's one of the most horrifying things I've ever seen. It features a police chase, followed by what can only be described as the murder of some poor fucker who panicked when he saw a cop car... zigged instead of zagged. The officer in question is heard, halfway through the chase, saying if he catches this guy, he's "gonna take him down"...
At no stage is the driver a real threat to the officer, he's running, that's all.
Finally ramming the fleeing car, the officer get's out and in a full combat stance, proceeds to pump bullets at the driver...and then is seen, kneeling on the bonnet, pumping some more into the driver's slumped body.
If he stuck a funnel in the guy's mouth he couldn't get more lead in.
Following up all this on the net, the police paint it as a drug dealer who tried to ram the police several times and the officer acted in self defence.
No. At no time is that officer under any real threat. He wanted blood and boy he got it.
Still, I'm not here to rant too much over his motives.
My first response was to brand him a fat redneck with a gun fetish and a tiny willy, which may or may not be true. On reflection I think it boils down to recruiting and training. When someone is trained to a level where instinct is guided by a cool head, these situations would rarely, if ever, arise.
Consider this as a comparison.
Showing an action in Afghanistan, Australian forces are seen engaging the Taliban.
Now, this could be any well trained force. I use this as an example only.
These guys are cool, aware and dispassionate. I would like to think any police force was as well trained as this. As the army is supposed to protect us as a nation, so too do the police protect us as communities and sometimes from ourselves.
The driver clearly had a problem, his reaction said as much, and a level headed cop would not have had the responses this one had.
Instead of " I'm going to take him down", imagine if it'd been followed by " to the station", for a " good talking to" or even a "quiet chat" out the back.
Sorry for attempting humour with this, but it guts me to think that even the worst of us could be subject to such summary justice, Australian, American or anywhere else.