Friday, 23 April 2010

Let the beat-up continue

The Bulletin is really determined to whip-up fear of young people and fear of youth gangs in particular and maybe they are starting to succeed.

Pushed off the front page by the circus that is the NRL industry, The bully’s page three effort today even has a page header slogan “Gang Violence: the fightback” under which are bundled 3 stories:

The lead article is about the boss of McDonalds at The Willows complaining about kids hanging in his car park and getting into the occasional argument or fight. Doesn’t sound like gang activity to me – nor apparently the Willows Marketing Manager, Donna O’Neill who is reported as saying “…no impact on trade has been noticed.” Sounds more like the McDonald’s Boss should take responsibility for his car park and his business and hire a security guard if he has a problem – it’s what, for instance, Sunferries does on Full Moon Party night.

Second is a small story about a new initiative to put a BBQ on at the Riverway Skatepark on Thursday nights as a way of giving local kids somewhere to go and (presumably) enabling youth workers to engage with them. All good stuff.

But it was this quote from Kirwan copper Sen Sgt Garry Eddiehausen that particularly caught my attention: “A lot of youths have issues with police, so if they can talk to community members, it may make a difference”

Maybe, just maybe, it’s some police who have issues with dealing with young people (have you ever watched a young copper and a young adult male standing toe-to-toe, chests puffed?). And of course youth workers make a difference – their effectiveness is well established, it’s just the funding that isn’t

The third article is a pure beat-up - but a dangerous one. Longer than the second good news article, this one quotes some poor lone unnamed person who’s presumably rung into the Bully with an idea to set up a “Guardian Angels’” type community watch group. Of course, one man does not make a vigilante group and we’ll see how many turn up to his Vic Bridge gathering on Saturday - my guess is six!

Irrespective of how many turn up though, the guy’s response is perfect illustration of the dangers of the media’s beating up the youth gangs/black kids out of control hysteria in order to sell papers. To see the logical conclusion of irresponsible media presentation of young people, see this earlier post

Was the “Gang Violence: the fightback” page header necessary? No.  Did it illustrate the story?  No.  Did it seek to inflame the best selling emotions - fear and anger?  Yes

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