The Police - Law Versus Responsibility

Saturday, 3 January 2009

No, this isn't a post about Sting, Stewart and Andy. I've already done one of those.

I was just lying on the couch watching TV and an ad for the Transport Accident Commission came on. You'll be surprised to know that these ads are giving me the shits. I might vote to the left, but I'm all for limiting government when required. The TAC is an organisation of the state government, which administers "treatment and benefits for people injured in transport accidents", paid by each motorist as part of our registration. The TAC also promotes road safety and improves our trauma system. Which is all fine and necessary. Since it's inception in 1986, the road toll has had a pretty steep nosedive. Right around the time people started getting fearmongered to within an inch of our lives about bloody everything.

How far should government intervention extend? Where does human responsibility come in? How do you factor into a government worldview that bows down and kisses the bum of the economy and bottom lines and growth and materialism, the fact that bad shit happens in life, that accidents happen, and that red-taping everything has just gone too far? I understand the TAC's necessity, but I wonder at the propensity for systems and governments and organisations to extend their arms of influence unless held in check.

The TV ad warns motorists who misbehave that they will be caught by Victoria Police because, says the voiceover cop, having to go to people's houses to tell them that a beloved relative will not be home for Christmas is one of the worst things to have to do as a policeman. Well, I'm sure it is. But it's your job. I'm sure having to clear people's blocked drains stuffed full of poo and used tampons would be a pain in the bum for plumbers. Should we produce an ad for tens of thousands of dollars for that as well? Maybe we could install CCTV into everyone's toilets so no one is misbehaving. Meanwhile entire countries starve to death, while we waste money on mounds of bureaucracy.

Seriously, when did we become such a big load of babies? Why do we allow ourselves to continue to be dictated to like a bunch of enormous children? Seriously, if you watch footage of anything before the 1980's, you can't help but look at people and think, "My God, look at all the things they're getting up to. Oooh, look at that occupational health and safety rule being broken. Ooh, look at those people getting to do those things without getting fined." Why do we have to be so overgoverned when really, the majority of the population at any one time is pretty well-behaved? Where do people get to let loose? Go get pissed in the city and get into a fight, and you'll have the cops come down on you in their giant hummers before you can yell "capsicum spray". What are we scared of? Is it the simmering underneath our consciences of violence that we can sense? Because surely we are all a violent people. And a cowardly people too. Despite all of our rules and fearmongering, you can see it coming out sideways. Case in point, a 72-year-old man being knocked to the ground and kicked after he went to the aide of a woman being bashed the other day.

Humans are scary. We're not all that far from violence spilling over at any one time. Hence all the rules. Rules are easy to enforce in a people who don't value their freedom very much but would prefer to be peaceful and safe. Better to enforce an extra ton of rules every year so that we can feel safe. Rules never saved no one. Enforcing rules against each other to protect each other from each other does not create a safer society, but a less safe society.

I complain about this advert because on Victorian roads over the past year, 303 people died. Which is crap, you know? But 303 people out of more than 3 million drivers who die in a year when we are driving big fast machines that would scare the shit out of someone plopped down in a time machine from 1730 is really actually pretty good. But you can't have ads encouraging the good, can you? This little baby doesn't run like that.

Because I couldn't envisage the TAC running a positive ad. Imagine. One that encourages the vast majority of people who are driving big fast killing machines but nevertheless manage to get through an entire driving life without karking it. That would be cool, wouldn't it? But no. You just couldn't do that. That would encourage people, wouldn't it? Madge who lives down the road and drives a couple of times a week would get heady from the encouragement and throw caution to the wind, go sick doing 200 in a 60 zone on her way to the shops.

We're just not allowed to be responsible for our own stuff, are we? Because we're too pathetic. We're encouraged to be pathetic little professional victims in a namby pamby society, so we need to be fed our responsibilities like little children. I'm so tired and bored with it all. We are fearmongered from every single direction, made to feel bad about situations that are actually pretty positive overall. What a ridiculous, crazy, crazy, crazy system this is.

Let's start a new one :)

(Goodness, I sound like I should be writing for the Herald Sun :)


  1. This is where the "experts" have led us Sue. There were probably more experts hired to put that study together than one can shake a stick at. Can we say Blind Guides?

    I heard a comedian one time give some advice as to how to make the roads safer. He said instead of putting an inflatable pillow on every steering wheel they should install a dagger sticking out of it. If the ass holes where facing that down everytime they got behind the wheel maybe they would pay more atention.

    Now there's an idea that is more focused on personal responsibility.

  2. you know me, i'm all for starting a new system. just say the word...

    great stuff, sue.

  3. Kent - LOL! Yeppers, that would be definitely enforcing personal responsibility, LOL ;)

    I think your "experts" post stuck in my head and got me writing on this one. I do love pointing out system failures :) Its so much FUN!

    jON - Thanks. It is a tantalising thought, isn't it? Seems so impossible. But yet ... :)


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