Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Exactly who is “out of control” here?

After beginning to despair that the Bulletin was becoming too boring to blog, we have today’s front page beat-up in true Bully style
I had been mulling over what to post in response to the story of the death of a mentally ill man at TGH last week, particularly in light of the COAG negotiations that are going on right now.
But today’s front page “Gangs out of control” followed by “Gangs of thugs on rampage” on page four gives me the chance to do three birds with one post:

First today’s Gangs on the Rampage beat up:
  • There is no evidence in the story or reported from the police of any gang activity – rather a group or groups of young people.

  • The incident of the 66 year old getting bashed is a nasty one but the article of course only reports one side of the story – I’d love to know for example whether the old man’s son and his friend said or did something to provoke the fight that the old man ended up getting himself in the middle of.

  • In 08/09 there were on average 4.5 assaults per day in the Townsville Police District - presumambly the other 3.5 that happened yesterday didn't rate a mention
Segue to the case of the mentally ill man who died after being restrained by police and sedated at the Townsville Hospital's mental health unit where he’d gone seeking help but was told to go home as there were no beds available.

  • A man dies, the mental health system is apparently left wanting, there's yet another black death in custody and the Bully gives it (from memory) page five coverage.
See where I’m going here? (Apparently) black kids out of control - major story / crazy black man dies - a sad and unfortunate incident

Segue to the COAG health negotiations going on as I post:
  • I’d be the first to agree that they health system needs fixing and that a national system is one of the required fixes but I’m appalled at the lack of discussion on preventative health services and mental health services.

  • And we have had in Townsville within the last week an unnecessary death as the most dramatic evidence of the need for improved funding for mental health services.

  • The Bully today devoted all of a 9cm column to the health system negotiations
Pity the Bully couldn’t (or wouldn’t?) pick the real story to beat up.  See also this earlier post about The Bulletin's sister paper, the Adelaide Advertiser's efforts and effects of beating-up race-based gang hysteria.

PS: My bet is that Rudd will throw something on the table at COAG on mental health as part of the bidding process and in part to keep the Oz of the Year quiet


Terry Wright said...

You raise many interesting points on this blog.

With regards to health, what about medical issue of drug addiction? Why is it mainly dealt with as a law and order problem when it's clearly a medical/health concern? Too often we are treating addicts in jails with prison wardens instead of clinics with doctors.

It's great to push mental health more into the spotlight but drug addiction is a mental health problem as well. I wonder how future generations will view this current period where the police hunt down and jail those people with a reoccurring brain disorder who self medicate.

Keep up the good work.

Island View said...

Terry - I couldn't agree more