It's hard to say that it's because we have a less violent culture than the US. With the funeral yesterday for Thomas Kelly, killed in a senseless act of unprovoked violence on his first visit to Kings Cross, there has been much discussion of alcohol- and drug- fuelled violence. Our streets aren't safe at night, the narrative runs; because of slack policing/an oversupply of venues serving alcohol/kids these days having no respect for authority, there's an epidemic of brawls, assaults and vandalism that springs forth every time the sun goes down.
And I'm sure all these factors play their part (I particularly like the latter, and may be the only lefty in Australia to toy with support for national service), but let's not ignore who is really to blame here.
|Yep, him. Photo courtesy SMH.|
Alan Jones, perhaps the most prominent of Australia's right-wing shock jocks, claims enormous influence despite his tiny audience; and one of the things he is influencing is a culture of violence. This is the man who helped incite the Cronulla riots with his endorsement of "Leb and Wog bashing day", to quote the words the man himself used on air; the man who said the Prime Minister and the Greens leader should be thrown in a sack and drowned; the man who just this week laughed heartily when one of his brainless callers opined that Ms Gillard's mother should have been slapped when her daughter was born. This man, who shapes community opinion, is spreading a message that working class white people are hard done by, and that violence is a fair tool to use to get what you want. Can we be surprised if his listeners - many of whom aren't so well educated - take the message on board, and out on to the streets? Let's be aware of whom the real enemy is here.