Kiwiblog commentariat on summary justice and “shoot on sight”

David Farrar tries to laugh about dwarf throwing in a Herald profile of NZ First MP Clayton Mitchell in Profile of two NZ First MPs.

But that’s minor compared to comments where  there seems more serious intent, with the applauding of chasing and beating up, and the promotion of a shoot on sight police force or army.

These aren’t Farrar’s views but they are enabled through his liberal freedom to speak policy.

The Herald article details what started the discussion:

First-term MP reveals fight with gang member after threats to his life

An MP received a suspended sentence following a fight with a gang member who attacked him after being refused entry to a bar.

First-term NZ First MP Clayton Mitchell, 43, has reluctantly spoken about the incident, which occurred 18 years ago.

“The reality is, everyone has a past and I have got one, too. I have been involved in hospitality for 25 years and so, because you run bars and you stand on the front door, you do have, and I certainly have had, over the years, a lot of situations where you get put into very perilous situations.”

Mr Mitchell was in charge of the city’s Straight Shooters Bar in 1997, when a gang member with facial tattoos was refused entry.

“It turned into a confrontation, a physical one, he was a lot bigger than me, he was a very intimidating individual. I got a black eye and swollen face out of it.”

“He picked me up above his head and tried to throw me across the front entranceway, but I held on to his belt and got myself to the ground.”

Mr Mitchell, who went on to get a black-belt in judo and has taught boxing and women’s self-defence classes, said the man then told him he was going to get a gun and would return to finish him off. He now realises he crossed a line in following the gang member, he said, but at the time was in fear for his life.

“I followed him. I told the staff that were there to call the police, which they did, the police arrived, and by the time they had arrived I’d run up and gave him a beating, basically, gave him a bit of a boxing lesson.

“Had I just repelled him at the front door and left it, then he would have been arrested and there would be no charges against me.”

It’s hard to imagine what it would be like being caught up in a violent situation like this, but Mitchell concedes in retrospect that he crossed a line.

Not so some of the Kiwiblog commentariat.

Chuck Bird:

I am impressed by Clayton Mitchell. It is an outrage he has a record albeit a suspended sentence for what he did to a gang member who attacked him when other people with better connection get discharged without conviction and permanent name suppression for much more serious offenses.

Julian spoke against the summary justice tide:

Clayton Mitchell sounds like the sort of thug who should be locked up. He chased a retreating person down the street and beat him up. Scumbag.

BananaLama wasn’t having that:

Threatening to come back with a gun and shoot you isn’t retreating the gang member is lucky he only got a smack in the head to be honest.

David Garrett (the ex-ACT three strikes MP one):

Julian: We frown on “trolling” over here almost as much as at your spiritual home…If you had read the full story you couldn’t possibly have written anything so silly…

That starts with a false assumption. Julian quoted from the Herald story but Garrett responded:

Julian: what you are missing inter alia is: 1) who began the fight; 2) that one protagandist was a gang member; 3) what threats were made (in the hearing of witnesses); and 4) the disparity of size between the two…The prick ran away only because Mitchell had martial arts training, and wasn’t the pushover he had assumed him to be…

More assumptions, plus trying to justify chasing someone and beating them up.

Srylands:

Really? I am just reading the story at face value. If correct the “thug” should have received a commendation.

Are you serious, or simply trolling for attention?

Is Syrlands serious or just jumping on the bashwagon?

The ticks were leaning well in favour of the right to chase and bash but Julian persisted in challenging:

I’m happy to be in the minority, but I don’t agree that this thug should be congratulated for dispensing his version of street justice.

I presume the sentencing judge was well aware of all of Mitchell’s whiny excuses, namely: ‘he started it’, ‘but but but he’s in a gaaaaanngg’, ‘he threatened [threatened being the operative word] to get a gun’, and ‘he’s bigger than me’ (seriously!).

Boris Piscina:

Good on him. Good to see an MP with balls and the willingness to use them. In all honesty I can only think of half a dozen National members who wouldn’t shy from the spineless “don’t take the law into your own hands” doctrine beloved of our pro-criminal Police force and it’s wishy washy PC liberal apologists in Government (and yes I do mean the current Government).

RRM widened the discussion to dealing with all gang members:

Patched gang members should be rounded up and exterminated by the army.
Just lifetime criminals who have declared war on civilised society.

Gangs are a major problem. So is RRM’s solution, which came in to Garrett support:

RRM: A man after my own heart! I could never say such a thing when I was an MP, but that is actually how I think…I prefer to describe them as outlaws in the true sense; people who don’t believe society’s rules apply to them…That is the reason I understood where JC was coming from when she recently disagreed with the Judge in the Nelson drugs trial case… You don’t obey Queensberry rules in a street fight…

If they introduced a “shoot on sight” policy for patched gang members they would disappear overnight…as would most of the problem: they are just gutless scum without the patch…

I joined in:

If chase and beat the crap out of and shoot on sight were allowed and encouraged as some here wish then with 3 strikes we’d probably end up with a rapidly expanding prison population and increasing collateral damage of innocent people.

The problem with sanctioned thuggery, summary justice and vigilantism is you end up with an uncivilised society that adversely affects everyone.

Escalated violence in society can’t be ring-fenced.

Garrett qualifies his advocating for ‘shoot on sight’:

PG: I am not advocating – even half seriously – “shoot on sight” for the general public…that would lead to mayhem, and war on the streets…but I quite seriously regard gangs as behind the worse things in our society, starting with P manufacture…there are no “independent” P manufacturers, they are all controlled by gangs.

If, as RRM suggests, the army was tasked with eliminating them, how long to you think they would last? A week?

Of course it’s never going to happen, but one can fantasise…Do you disagree that the country would be a much better place without organized gangs?

Allowing the army to shoot on sight to eliminate anyone deemed a gang member from a distance is as stupid a thing I have seen you support.

I agree there are some lowlife criminal scum around, far too many of them. But lowering justice to their level (that is zero judicial process) is a terrible way to deal with it.

Of course the country would be a much better place without organized gangs – but you don’t realistically think they could be eliminated without collateral damage do you?

Despite the problems we have I like New Zealand because it’s like New Zealand, and not like Syria or Mogadishu.

I asked Garrett: DG – you’ve researched justice in different parts of the world – can you give some good examples of countries where an army has been used to successfully eliminate all gangs? Where it took longer than a week would suffice.

He hasn’t responded yet, but Dave Mann joined in:

I don’t think we need shoot on sight policy for gangs. I would propose that as they put themselves outside the law all gang members should be considered fair game and there should be no legal consequences for any action against them. Not everybody has a firearm, so we need to consider other solutions to the problem, such as running them off the road on their bikes or bulldozing their properties. Of course this doesn’t preclude shooting, but there are many ways to skin a cat.

It’s hard to know how serious those suggestions are. No one has ticked it up or down yet.

Then Alan Wilkinson introduced some common sense:

The best way to eliminate gangs is to cut off their money. The best way to cut off their money is to treat drug use as a medical problem (when it is even that) instead of a crime.

That wouldn’t eliminate gangs, the criminally inclined will always find ways of selfishly shitting on society, but it would substantially limit their income opportunities and their adverse influence on society. It would also be far more likely to retain a relatively decent society and maintain reasonable standards of justice.

Leave a comment

6 Comments

  1. kiwi_guy

     /  7th July 2015

    I support Mitchell, what he did was no big deal when it comes to night life subculture.

    Typically the ones judging him are exactly the sort who wouldn’t last 3 seconds if attacked by a street thug.

    Those other commentators are just frustrated like we all are that gangs literally get away with murder while law abiding citizens get screwed left right and center by pollies and regulations.

    Reply
    • I don’t agree. Not only is it reactionary thuggery, it’s highlv risky chasing a gang member away from your premises – what if he runs to where he has support from other gang members and you are on your own? They would presumably think it was no big deal when it comes to night life subculture to attack back.

      Reply
      • kiwi_guy

         /  7th July 2015

        With all due respect Pete, what would you know about assessing dangerous confrontational situations? More than Mitchell?

        That guy has all the street credit and you have none.

        And remember that was decades ago when he was a young buck, and he acknowledges it wasn’t the best move to make.

        Basically the guy is an Alpha Male, excels in contact sports, takes on leadership roles, courageous in the face of danger.

        He’s taught women self defense – I bet plenty of them can say “Yeah, because of Mitchell I was able to get out of serious trouble.”

        But no, everyone just wants to bitch and moan and try to take him down. Not that they have a chance or he cares much what they think.

        Reply
  2. As much as I like to advocate due process, I’m on Mitchell’s side here.

    But giving a bully a twack is way different to the shoot on sight insanity promoted by some armchair heroes.

    Reply
  3. GregM

     /  7th July 2015

    I’m more concerned by some of the comments on KB than what Mr Mitchell got up to in a previous career. Under the circumstances I think he did the right thing.

    Reply
  4. kittycatkin

     /  7th July 2015

    The gang member attacked him and beat him up, then was given something in return. It was almost two decades ago. It wasn’t a gratuitous attack, and while I am opposed to physical violence, I can understand his reaction. I suppose that if he had done nothing, he’d have been accused of cowardice.

    Reply

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