Violence in Gaza continues

The violence that flared with protests over the moving of the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem continues in Gaza.

Reuters: Israeli forces kill Palestinian near Gaza border as Gaza buries dead

Israeli forces shot dead a Palestinian near the Gaza-Israel border on Tuesday after thousands of Palestinians turned out for the funerals of dozens of protesters killed by Israeli troops a day earlier, local health officials said.

Sixty Palestinians were killed on Monday, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry, including an eight-month-old baby that died from tear gas that her family said she inhaled at a protest camp near the border. More than 2,200 Palestinians were also injured by gunfire or tear gas, local medics said.

Monday’s bloodshed took place as the United States opened its new embassy in contested Jerusalem. For the past six weeks, Palestinians have been holding Gaza border demonstrations for the return of Palestinian refugees to areas that are now part of Israel.

Israel rejects any right of return, fearing that it would deprive the state of its Jewish majority.

Too bad about democracy.

Palestinian medical officials say 106 Gazans have now been killed since the start of the protests and nearly 11,000 people wounded, about 3,500 of them hit by live fire. Israeli officials dispute those numbers. No Israeli casualties have been reported.

Palestinian leaders have called Monday’s events a massacre, and the Israeli tactic of using live fire against the protesters has drawn worldwide concern and condemnation.

BBC – Gaza violence: Israelis and Palestinians in fierce exchanges at UN

There have been angry exchanges between Israeli and Palestinian envoys at the UN, as the diplomatic fallout over deadly violence in Gaza gathered pace.

Some 58 Palestinians were killed when Israeli troops fired on protesters on Monday, with funerals held on Tuesday.

The Palestinian envoy spoke of a “crime against humanity”, while Israel accused the rulers of Gaza, Hamas, of taking their own people hostage.

BBC: May urges ‘greater restraint’ by Israel after Gaza violence

Theresa May has urged an independent inquiry into violence on the border between Israel and Gaza which left a reported 58 Palestinians dead.

The prime minister said the use of live rounds by Israeli forces was “deeply troubling” and urged greater restraint.

While Palestinians had a legitimate right to protest, she said, she was concerned about extremist infiltration and the role Hamas had played.

Both Hamas and Israel have been responsible for the flare up in violence – as has Donald Trump in his provocative moving of the US embassy.

Earlier, Labour’s Emily Thornberry condemned a “horrific massacre”.

Here in New Zealand: NZ condemns Israel’s actions along Gaza border

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, on behalf of the government, raised concerns directly to the ambassador in New Zealand.

The violence showed that the decision by the US to open the new embassy was counter to efforts to find a peaceful resolution in the region, she said.

“At the time when the United States announced they’d be moving their representation to Jerusalem we stated strongly that we did not think that would take us closer to peace, and it hasn’t,” Ms Ardern said.

New Zealand also voted on a United Nations resolution emphasising the view that there should be a two-state solution, she said.

“This is a hotly contested issue within that peace process and as we’ve seen the results of the protest along the border of Gaza have been devastating.”

Ms Ardern was asked for her view on comments made by Palestinian ambassador to the UN Riyadh Mansour, who said the Israeli action violated international law.

“It is the right of any nation to defend their border but this is a devastating, one-sided loss of life; we would condemn the violence that has occurred,” Ms Ardern said.

“And I think it’s plain to see the effects of this decision and the ramifications are wide reaching.”

That’s a fairly diplomatic response that acknowledges the complexities and the spread of blame for violence.

However the Greens have a more one-sided view:

And:

It’s a bloody mess with both Israel and Hamas in part responsible for the escalation.

Jerusalem Post – NO HOLDS BARRED: JERUSALEM ON FIRE WITH GRATITUDE TO PRESIDENT TRUMP

President Donald Trump has electrified the State of Israel with the embassy move. You have to see the excitement on the streets, especially Jerusalem, to understand the depth of gratitude. Flags are flying from every street light. Massive signs around the capital show the American and Israeli flags intertwined with giant thank yous to President Trump.

In a single week President Trump has not only established America’s embassy in Israel’s eternal capital, but also rid America of the shame of the Iran nuclear deal, which completely overlooked all of Iran’s sins. In doing so, he has created the potential for reining in the rogue regime in Tehran, curbing the ascendance of radical Islamists and advancing a foreign policy that recognizes evil and holds belligerent government accountable. Simultaneously, Trump has emerged as a great champion of the Jewish people and a protector of Israel.

A cynic could wonder whether the escalations against Iran and the Palestinians has been a deliberate plan by Israel, with Trump a willing partner.

It’s hard to see this turning out well. The violence in Gaza suggests it is more likely to get worse.

It’s worth looking back at a speech by Trump at Fort Dodge, Iowa: ““I would bomb the shit out of ’em. I would just bomb those suckers.”

It looks like Trump has been sucked into the Middle East mire.

 

 

 

Tobacco retailer safety

With the continually rising price of tobacco and cigarettes, and a presumption (mine) that people inclined towards committing crime and those associated with them  also tend to be inclined towards smoking, the number of robberies related to tobacco have increased. These robberies are often violent, and dairy owners and staff  are often the victims.

Dairies can choose whether to stock tobacco products or not, but it is a major source of revenue for the small businesses. Who should be responsible for their safety?

Of course the police have a duty to protect any retailer of legal products from theft and violence – to an extent. They cant be at every dairy all the time.

ACT MP David Seymour is suggesting that the Government direct more of the substantial amount of tax and duties they get from tobacco into paying for retailer safety.

Another suggestion is to admit that escalating taxes and prices have created an unintended consequence, and lowering the taxes would alleviate the theft and violence problem but that is debatable.

Today’s ODT editorial looks at the problem, and comes up with what should have been an obvious answer – tobacco product suppliers should protect their retailers.

ODT: The smoking gun of tobacco taxes

Dairy owners are again starting to worry that the next person who enters their shop may be a thief who could turn violent as he or she demands cash and, increasingly, tobacco products.

A search of media outlets shows a pattern of increasing crime against sellers of tobacco products, as their price has escalated through increased excise taxes.

The New Zealand tobacco industry says it makes a significant contribution to the New Zealand economy in terms of government revenue, retail sales and employment. It pays more than $1.8 billion in total taxes each year.

Tobacco products make their largest financial contribution to the economy in the form of excise taxation. The industry also says tobacco is an important source of revenue for about 5000 New Zealand retailers, the vast majority of whom are small, independent retailers and dairies.

A debate has again broken out about who should pay for the protection of the retailers selling the tobacco products. Fewer outlets are now selling tobacco and communities celebrate the success, believing fewer people are smoking as outlets reduce.

However, aggressive cost-cutting has helped some of the largest tobacco companies retain their profits, despite falling sales.

One of the arguments being made to help protect dairy owners is to just stop selling tobacco, of course ignoring the fact tobacco is a legal product and a genuine part of a service dairy owners can offer their customers. Unless another high-margin product emerges to replace it, dairy owners will still sell tobacco.

Act New Zealand leader David Seymour is at the other end of the spectrum, saying after two violent robberies in less than a week, it is only a matter of time before someone is killed.

The money collected by the Government each year in tobacco tax revenue is blood money, obtained by putting the lives of people at risk, he says.

But Mr Seymour is somewhat off the mark when he calls for the Government to direct 10% of tobacco tax revenue to protect vulnerable business owners.

Surely it is time for the tobacco companies themselves to start protecting the people they want to sell their products? Revenues from global tobacco sales are estimated to be close to $965 billion, generating combined profits for the six largest firms of $67.5 billion.

That’s a good point. If tobacco companies want to protect their sales and profits perhaps they should do more to protect their retailers.

Tony Veitch and wider concerns

I have concerns about Tony Veitch being announced as a feature of a new TV show, the way it was announced, and the reactionary campaign to have Veitch dumped. This is part of the wider phenomenon that is prevalent now of  publicly condemning anyone accused of abuse without waiting for proper process or justice.

Veitch was different, he had already been found guilty of serious assault on his partner (in 2008), but no matter what he does he seems to be forever condemned and ostracised.

I have concerns about to what extent someone’s past crimes or alleged crimes should continue to be held against them. I haven’t seen any sign of Veitch offending again – rehabilitation is supposed to be important.

This is complicated. Violence and sexual harassment need to be condemned and strongly discouraged, but a balance of fairness and innocent until found guilty needs to be found.

Colin Peacock (Media Watch):  Outcry foils Tony Veitch’s TV comeback

Tony Veitch’s critics claimed an effort to put him back on TV this week proved that the business doesn’t take domestic violence as seriously as its bottom line. But while many in the media have had his back in the past, it didn’t work this time.

Last Wednesday sportscaster Tony Veitch announced on Facebook he had “decided to get back on TV” as part of a “hard-hitting, opinion-led show that does not shy away from controversy”.

It was a poor choice of words that triggered a controversy and blew his TV comeback within a day.

It was a terrible choice of words. It could easily be construed as Veitch playing on his infamy to get publicity, or of Veitch deliberately trivialising his violent past.

In 2008, Veitch pleaded guilty to a serious assault on his partner which broke her back two years earlier. Citing stress and overwork, he admitted to “a grave misjudgement” and was fined and sentenced to community service.

He had also been charged with six other counts of assault, but pleaded guilty to just one charge in a pre-trial settlement. His police file  – released under the Official Information Act to Mediawatch and other media – detailed alleged abuse over a period of years and evidence of physical violence noticed by other people.

That sounds bad – but it was nine years ago and prior. Particularly given the amount of publicity and condemnation following that it is possible Veitch has reformed.

He was stood down from his jobs as a TVNZ sports news presenter and a radio host at the time, and he hasn’t been back on TV since then.

The plan was for him to appear on on upcoming Sky TV sports chat show.

“I’m so stoked to be back,” he told his Facebook followers on Wednesday.

That just stoked the fires of indignation among his critics whose opinion pieces rapidly hit the news websites – notably, all written by women.

“It’s time to get Tony Veitch off our screens forever and let talented people who aren’t abusers have a chance instead,” wrote Madeleine Holden on The Spinoff.

“As high-profile men accused of assault topple like a series of extremely sleazy dominoes,”  Vice.com’s Tess McClure wrote, with reference to the recent series of Hollywood sex abuse scandals, Tony Veitch would return to the small screen after “a half-apology, a few self-pitying Facebook posts, and a couple of years.”

Stuff.co.nz, columnist Kylie Klein Nixon had a similar riff.

“At a time when the rest of the world is making a big fuss over clearing house and taking names, we’re showing our true colours, sticking to our guns, and moving an offender who tried to hide his crime back into the penthouse where we clearly think he belongs,” she wrote.

They all make fair points – to an extent – but I have concerns about exaggerations and life time sentences.

Of course as a public figure Veitch could have done more to publicly show contrition and to condemn his past behaviour.

The question being asked was why Sky risked its own reputation by giving the divisive figure his own show.

Turns out they hadn’t. For what it’s worth, Tony Veitch was merely a guest lined up for episode one, according to Sky TV.

It seems that either Veitch played up his role, or when the shit hit the media fan Sky played it down.

“Tony has one of the very largest sports audiences in the country. We were looking for the leading sports broadcasters and Tony ticked that box,” said Sky.

He certainly does – and because of that his career has been rehabilitated bit-by-bit til now.

When Tony Veitch went back on air for Radio Sport and Newstalk ZB in 2011, it was controversial – but that passed.

For years now he’s been on air on Radio Sport for twelve hours each weekend without much protest, while also contributing to the New Zealand Herald.

In 2015, a New Zealand Herald campaign on family violence was undermined when the Herald on Sunday published a confessional piece by Tony Veitch headlined: Acceptance, Remorse, Recovery.

How the controversial Tony Veitch article appeared in the herald on Sunday last weekend.

That caused another short-lived controversy

In that Veitch said:

Poor judgment on my behalf changed so much that day and I apologise unreservedly for that.

To think of myself as a component of New Zealand’s horrendous family violence statistics is appalling to me. I have embarrassed my family, my Mum and Dad who taught me right from wrong and who taught me to be a good person.

I have distanced myself from cousins, aunties, uncles and from friends because of the shame I feel. They deserve better. I am not looking for sympathy; I accept what I have done and how wrong it was.

While I can’t change what happened that day, I have learned a huge lesson. I am a completely different person from the one I was that day. I breathe now, I don’t live to work. I have learned to understand my body, my triggers for stress and, most importantly, depression. I am constantly amazed at the number of people I come across, who, like me, suffer the effects of severe anxiety.

Some will say I was a coward for trying to take my life, maybe I was. But I have also learned until you are in that position you shouldn’t judge because no one knows how you feel but you.

In 2009 I pleaded guilty to one singular act which Judge Doogue said was not planned and that I was not a serial offender. I was sentenced to nine months’ supervision, 300 hours of community service and received a fine. Regardless, 10 years on from that misjudgment, I know and accept it will always be part of who I am.

I have never sought pity and I am not looking for it now. I just wanted a second chance. My employer gave me that chance, which I am forever grateful for.

Offenders should be allowed to get on with their jobs and their lives.

Every day what I have done casts a shadow over my future; when I walk into restaurants or my local service station of course I wonder what people are thinking when they look at me.

Perhaps I will never be free from being associated with family violence. I have accepted what I did was wrong and I reiterate there is no excuse for what I did.

Thankfully I am not that person any more and my promise to myself, but most importantly to every one of the people’s lives I changed that day, is that I will never be that person again.

That sounds like a fairly strong acceptance that what he did was wrong, and he sounds like he is taking some responsibility for his actions.

But he was strongly criticised for effectively dismissing allegations of other violence, apologising for just the one assault.

And he has periodically been criticised and ostracised since. Like this week.

Peacock:

Perhaps the most powerful opinion was one that addressed Tony Veitch himself.

“As a father who lost a daughter to violence, what you did to Kristin is horrifying, but even more so I condemn you for not taking the opportunity to set an example to all violent men,” wrote Mark Longley, the managing editor of Newshub digital, whose daughter was murdered by Eliot Turner in a violent rage in England in 2011.

Now that is hard-hitting.

And that was six years ago. I’m not sure what example is being demanded of Veitch.

He seems to have tried to put his past behind him.

But he overplayed his planned return to TV, and had a poor choice of words.

And the perpetual bashing machine hit hard. And succeeded in knocking Veitch down again.

I’m really not sure that this is doing much if anything to address the horrific levels of violence in New Zealand.

It’s easy to leap into print and join the chorus of condemnation every time Veitch does something different or tries to do something different.

It’s a lot harder to deal with the serious and ingrained strains of violence through our society. I doubt that Veitch setting “an example to all violent men” is going to achieve much to deal with that.

As long as Veitch doesn’t propose or excuse violence then perhaps he should be allowed to get on with his life, and those who continue to perpetrate and excuse violence should be the targets of more media attention.

Perhaps hose who continue to condemn Veitch could be setting much better examples themselves.

Trump’s response to Charlottesville troubles

Donald Trump’s reaction to the problems in Charlottesville has been controversial.

He had tweeted:

We ALL must be united & condemn all that hate stands for. There is no place for this kind of violence in America. Lets come together as one!

But he also spoke (from one of his gold clubs where he is on holiday):

 “We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides, on many sides.”

This was controversial because it didn’t name what the main offenders where.

NBC:  Trump Takes Heat for Blaming Charlottesville Violence on ‘Many Sides’

President Donald Trump sparked a backlash Saturday when he suggested “many sides” were to blame for the deadly violence at a white nationalist rally in downtown Charlottesville, Virginia.

Democrats criticized the president for failing to single out white nationalists, and several Republicans issued statements mentioning white nationalism or white supremacists. Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, said on Twitter: “We should call evil by its name.”

He added that hate and division in the country must stop, but that it is not linked to his presidency because it has “been going on for a long, long time.”

“No matter our color, creed, religion, our political party, we are all Americans first,” he said, adding that he’d like for his administration to “study” why such violence is occurring. He didn’t take questions from reporters.

Asked for clarification, a White House official later said: “The President was condemning hatred, bigotry and violence from all sources and all sides. There was violence between protesters and counter protesters today.”

And his very temporary ex-communications director:

Al this reaction seemed to lead to a more specific condemnation.

Fox News: Trump condemns ‘white supremacists,’ other extremists behind deadly Virginia rallies

President Trump specifically condemns “white supremacists” and other extremist groups as forces behind the deadly protests and counter-protests this weekend in Virginia, a White House spokesperson said Sunday.

“The president said very strongly in his statement yesterday that he condemns all forms of violence, bigotry and hatred. Of course that includes white supremacists, KKK Neo-Nazi and all extremist groups. He called for national unity and bringing all Americans together,” the spokesperson said from Trump’s private golf club in Bedminster, N.J.

Right wing protesters were reported as saluting while chanting ‘Heil Trump’.

Trump will perhaps learn from this that what a president says can matter. He can’t be blamed for individual acts of violence and terrorism, but inflammatory rhetoric, both past and recent, can have an influence on public discourse and behaviour.

Trump depicts violence against CNN

Donald Trump’s feud against media has raised to a bizarre level with yet another tweet:

That’s appalling.

There’s certainly plenty to find fault in the media – the media that played a large part in enabling Trump’s election victory, initially by giving him an extraordinary amount of free publicity, and then when they woke up to the possibility of a Trump success by effectively campaigning against him, which helped his campaign.

But should be growing concerns over Trump’s attacks on the media – especially when they depict violence like this.

He isn’t attacking all media – Fox News seems to still be on his side in his battle. Like this:

CNN have responded to Trump’s tweet:

 

Family violence response guides launched

Amy Adams, Minister of Justice and Minister for Courts, and Anne Tolley, Minister for Social Development and Minister for Children, have launched family violence response guides at a Family Violence Summit in Wellington.

“Family Violence is a complex issue in New Zealand with no single solution. We are making it our priority to help reduce the rate of family violence in New Zealand.”
Hon Amy Adams, Minister of Justice

“We want to draw on the expertise of NGOs and the frontline sector to inform our efforts to build a more integrated system and break the cycle of violence.”
Hon Anne Tolley, Minister for Social Development


Family violence response guides launched

New guides to support the family violence sector to provide consistent and effective help to victims and perpetrators are being launched today by Justice Minister Amy Adams and Social Development Minister Anne Tolley at the Family Violence Summit in Wellington.

Over 120 key players in the family violence sector are attending the Summit today to build on conversations to date about how to work together better to tackle New Zealand’s horrific rate of family violence.

“Thousands of New Zealand families are affected by family violence every day and too many of them are not getting all the help they need,” Ms Adams says.

“The current system for dealing with family violence is too fragmented so in addition to the work we’re doing to improve it, including the Family and Whānau Violence Legislation Bill and the Integrated Safety Response pilots, we’ve developed a framework which sets out common understanding of family violence, a clear protocol for assessing risk, and a consistent approach for supporting victims and perpetrators.

“The Risk Assessment and Management Framework aims to ensure that no matter who a victim or perpetrator approaches for help, the risks they face will be consistently identified, assessed and managed.”

Alongside the Risk Assessment and Management Framework, a guide outlining the capabilities needed by those in the family violence sector to successfully support victims, perpetrators and their families is also being launched.

“The family violence workforce is large and complex, involving government agencies, family and sexual violence specialists, NGOs and practitioners. There is a wide range of different practices and understandings, resulting in varying degrees of effectiveness,” says Mrs Tolley.

“The Workforce Capability Framework outlines the skills, knowledge and organisational support the workforce needs in order to provide an integrated, consistent and effective response to victims, perpetrators and their families.

“Both frameworks have been developed with the help of the sector, some of whom are at the Summit today. By working together we stand a much stronger chance of achieving better outcomes for victims and their families.”

Outcomes from the Summit will feed into and inform the work of the Ministerial Group on Family Violence and Sexual Violence. Sector members who could not attend the Summit are invited to give their views via an online survey.

The frameworks can be found here.


See NZ Herald:  Family violence: New holistic approach announced

Study: teenage violence a serious problem

According to a NZ Family Violence Clearinghouse paper Dr Melanie Beres that has just been released teenage violence and sexual abuse are serious problems – we already knew that but this has quantified it.

NZ Herald: NZ Family Violence Clearinghouse study on adolescent relationship violence revealed

Report’s findings

  • Up to 60 per cent of high school students have been in an emotionally or physically abusive relationship.
  • 29 per cent of New Zealand secondary students reported being hit or harmed by another person in the previous year.
  • 20 per cent of female and 9 per cent of male secondary school students reported having experienced unwanted sexual behaviour in the previous year. The majority of incidents were perpetrated by a boyfriend, girlfriend or friend.
  • 21 per cent of women who stayed in women’s refuges were aged 15-19 years.
  • ​About 9 per cent of New Zealand secondary school students said they were attracted to people of the same-sex, or unsure of their sexual attraction, and up 3 per cent identified as transgender or unsure of their gender identity.
  • ​Compared with other New Zealanders, adolescents between the ages of 15 and 19 have the highest rates of intimate partner violence, according to the New Zealand Crime and Safety Survey.
  • ​Intimate-partner violence is perpetrated by and against people from all communities, ethnic groups and socio-economic backgrounds, but marginalised groups are at higher risk.

Dr Melanie Beres:

“Adolescence is a key time where we learn about how to have intimate relationships”.

“If our introduction to relationships is around issues of power and control and emotional abuse this can influence later relationships in life”

“Boys are taught to be tough, strong and in control. They are taught that they should want sex and it’s their job to initiate and ‘get’ it.”

“Girls are taught to be polite and to be nurturers by looking after the feelings of others . . . They are cautioned that being “too sexual” is a risk for them because boys cannot control themselves.”

“There was talk that they are good boys who made a mistake rather than looking at their behaviour and saying this is a problem, there’s a bigger issue here.”

“This is not just about these two individuals, this is actually about a social problem we have in the ways young men are taught to perceive young women and talk about young women.”

“If we are serious about solving this issue we need to put more resources into primary prevention to look at building healthy relationships rather than intervening when things are already pear shaped.

“It’s about learning how to value other things in men and women.”

Newstalk ZB: Revealed: Damning stats show teenage abuse a serious problem in NZ

Paper author Dr Melanie Beres, of the University of Otago, said there are two separate issues at play.

She said it shows “the severity of what does and can happen in adolescent relationships”.

“It also speaks to the lack of support around those individuals, in terms of needing to seek that support,” she said.

Dr Beres said violence within adolescent relationship often falls through the cracks.

“We think that they’re fleeting and that next week they’ll have a different love interest, so that also extents to the way in which adults think about violence in adolescent relationships.”

Big problems with no easy or quick solutions, but more has to be done.

Trump: standing up to hate and intolerance

Doing what a president needs to do – speaking against hate and intolerance, and against violence.

Politico: Trump in tweet: Portland attack ‘unacceptable’

President Donald Trump on Monday morning condemned the attacks in Portland, Oregon, where two people were killed after trying to intervene as a man delivered an anti-Muslim rant directed at two women on a train.

The tweet was sent after Trump arrived to give remarks at the Arlington National Cemetery for Memorial Day.

On Saturday, three men were allegedly attacked after they tried to stop a suspect, Jeremy Joseph Christian, from verbally disparaging the women, one of whom was wearing a hijab.

 

“Trotter at his best”

Blazer said this was Trotter at his best…

I’m not so sure, unless that refers to his best at generalisation, labelling and taking sides in messy wars.

Bowalley (and The Daily Blog): Us and Them: The Fatal Divisions of Exploitative Culture.

OURS IS NOT JUST A RAPE CULTURE: it’s a Kill Culture, a Rip-off Culture and a Lie Culture as well. But, rather than attempting to reconcile ourselves to living in a multiplicity of malign cultures, it is probably more helpful to think of ourselves as inhabiting a single Exploitative Culture. One in which human-beings are consistently treated as means to another’s end – not as ends in themselves.

Cultures are far more complex than that. Labelling a whole society with negative culture tags is generally counter productive to sensible and reasoned discussion.

The trick to running a successful Exploitative Culture, therefore, lies in defining who is – and who is not – a member of it. Or, to put it another way: who is included in the idea of “Us”, and who belongs with “Them”.

Generally speaking the smaller the “Us”, the greater the power. If you’re a member of the “One Percent”, for example, it not only means that you are obscenely wealthy and powerful, but also that 99 percent of your fellow human-beings are, in one way or another, exploitable.

This sort of generalisation doesn’t help either. Yes, richer people are possibly more likely to exploit others (but are by no means the only ones who do that). But richer people are also more likely to contribute donations, and larger donations, to good causes.

Exploitation is always and everywhere associated with actual physical violence, or the threat of it. Without violence people simply would not consent to being treated as the means to someone else’s ends – they would rebel.

I don’t agree with this. Threat of violence is far from the only thing necessary for exploitation.

Exploitative Culture (which is to say all culture) may thus be further defined as the organisation of, and the devising of justifications for, purposive social violence.

We thus return to “Us” and “Them”: which may now be thought of, respectively, as those who must be protected from the imposition of purposive violence; and those upon whom such violence may be inflicted with impunity.

Does Trotter think that ‘the one percent’ are the only ones who threaten or use violence?

Consider the current controversy surrounding “Operation Burnham” the botched, or exemplary (depending on whether you believe journalists Nicky Hager and Jon Stephenson, or the Chief of the New Zealand Defence Force, Lt-General Tim Keating) attack on settlements in the Tirgiran Valley in Northern Afghanistan.

What happened in the Tirgiran Valley could not have happened if its inhabitants were regarded by the New Zealand soldiers taking part in the operation as members of “Us”.

Wars tend to have an ‘us’ and a ‘them’. The SAS soldiers were acting on behalf of the Afghan Government which was acting on behalf of more than 1% of the population.

The whole purpose of their book, Hit & Run, is to make the reader see the victims of Operation Burnham as people like themselves: hard-working farmers; a trainee schoolteacher home for the holidays; parents and grandparents; a three-year-old girl called Fatima. And the more successful the authors are at transforming “Them” into “Us”, the more outrageous Operation Burnham seems to the New Zealand public.

I don’t think the whole purpose of ‘Hit & Run’ was to support Trotter’s theories on ‘us & them’.

Trotter seems to have decided that the Hager & Stephenson book is 100% correct and that the victims of the attack were as claimed by some and were all innocent people just like ‘us’.

He ignores the fact that people from that area are also alleged to have been involved in violent attacks on other people in Afghanistan, rebelling against their government and supporting an extremely repressive Taliban.

For ordinary men to accept their subordination to stronger, richer and more powerful men, Exploitative Culture supplies them with their own inexhaustible supply of subordinates – women and children. And since there can be no exploitation – no power – without violence, the maintenance of this primal dichotomy is of necessity achieved through the unremitting application of physical and emotional coercion. Domestic violence, rape, child abuse: these are not just the products of the masculine/feminine dichotomy, they are also the most tragic expression of the “Us” and “Them” divide.

The non-consensual penetration of a young woman at a party; the invasion of a distant river valley by airborne special forces; both are symptoms of the same dreadful disease.

There are certainly strong links between war and violence (and rape has often been a weapon used in wars) and domestic violence and sexual assaults.

But I think it’s all a lot more complex than Trotter suggests. For a start the perpetrators of domestic violence are far from confined to some financial 1%.

People angry about escalating crime

People have expressed anger over the perceived inability of the police to do anything about escalating crime in a meeting in Thames. The Deputy Prime Minister was there to get the message (hopefully).

Stuff: Paula Bennett faces angry crowd at Thames meeting

The deputy prime minister faced a hostile crowd, fed-up with escalating crime, when she visited Thames.

Paula Bennett, who is also police minister, held a public meeting on Wednesday at the Thames War Memorial Civic Centre to discuss residents’ growing concern about assaults, burglaries and drug offences in the area.

The meeting was a full-house with many voicing their frustrations and holding signs saying they had “more teeth than the NZ police”.

There must be particular problems with crimes in the Thames area.

Ordinary people emotionally expressing concerns should give Bennett a strong message.

Thames High School student Paris Lee, 17, told Bennett a friend of hers was recently hospitalised with concussion after being attacked by other students.

“Those students should not be allowed back at our school and they are and they are scaring me and my friends. We can’t do anything about being attacked at school and the police can’t do anything about it.

“It’s so wrong, we don’t feel safe and we need that, all of us.”

Her mother, Jeanette Lee, said she was planning to leave the area to keep her child safe.

“I now have to leave because my child got a text saying ‘we know where you live, you’re next’ and the police can’t do anything about it.”

That sounds bad.

They may not have been encouraged by Bennett’s response.

Bennett disagreed, saying police, the school and the community could do something about it.

“Under 17 year olds can be held to account. They can’t get away with hitting people, they can’t get away with violence,” she said.

Could do something in theory can be different to being able to do anything effective in practice.

Bennett said Paris was brave to speak out and she made time to speak to her afterwards.

“There’s no way that you shouldn’t feel safe in school . . . that is our job and we want to talk to you.”

I think that a lot of people at school and on the streets and in their homes feel unsafe. I don’t know if Bennett will have been very reassuring.

After the meeting principal Dave Sim said there had been two incidents at the school recently.

He saw the assault last week and a student had been suspended, he said.

“There were a number of staff present and we acted quickly to diffuse the situation,” he said.

The board of trustees was now considering whether the student would return to school with conditions or be excluded from the school, he said.

An attack causing concussion should have more significant consequences than suspension from school. It sounds like a serious assault that could have caused ling term brain injuries.

One woman said she could no longer live in her own home after police took 35 minutes to attend a home invasion in her house earlier this year.

“I cannot live in my own home knowing it could happen again because thirty one minutes is a long time when you live on your own as a woman. How do I deal with that?”

Bennett said that must be “absolutely terrifying” for the woman.

Yes, it would be.

The Government recently announced an increase in police numbers by about a thousand, but numbers in press releases aren’t any comfort when people face real problems and fears in their communities, schools and homes.


Also in today’s news: Whangarei teenager’s skull fractured after roadside attack

Jay Rihia-Neumann, 16, was walking home with friends after school on Monday when six adults and two teenagers got out of a car on Corks Rd in Tikipunga and attacked them.

Adults attacking kids on their way home from school.

Joshua Neumann said his son was struck on the side of the head with an axe handle during the attack, on Jay and at least one of his friends.

Mr Neumann said it was a case of his son being in the wrong place at the wrong time and he believed the attack was linked to a dispute involving a one of his friends.

The 16-year-old Kamo High School student was rushed to Whangarei Hospital before he was transported to the Auckland City Hospital where he underwent a four-hour operation on Tuesday afternoon.

More awful violence.