There is something wrong with our society. There seems to be a growing divide between two distinct groups of people.
There is something wrong with our society.
There seems to be a growing divide between two distinct groups of people.
There are those who play by the rules, uphold standards of political correctness, and get bogged down in the red tape of day to day living in a complex world.
They don’t generally complain. They pay their taxes; take responsibility for themselves and their families and do their best to get ahead.
They rightly support the systems and institutions designed to give everyone a fair go and access to education, health and justice.
But more and more it feels as though these people - bound and gagged by societal expectations - are being screwed over by those who don’t give a damn about the rules.
These are the ones who work the system to suck as much from it as possible. They fail to take responsibility for their own lives, blame others for their predicament and then demand more of a society that continues to make excuses for them.
Society has always had an underbelly - these days it seems to be getting out of control... and we are letting it... to the detriment of others.
I thought for a while that perhaps it just was me thinking this way - getting older, becoming jaded and cynical... perhaps too much reporting on bad stuff happening to good people.
But the more I speak with friends, colleagues and contacts, the more I find that my thoughts are not solitary - but actually part of a growing chorus of people who’ve had a gutful.
For the most part, I remain a glass-half-full type - an optimist.
I am not hard hearted. Growing up, I was made well aware of social injustice from an early age. Then, as now, I do my bit to help anyone who needs a leg up.
But I am not a bleeding heart. I am very able to sort genuine cases of hardship from the rorters taking advantage of a sympathetic ear.
Some people have had terrible experiences which led them to a life of crime.
It is tragic - but if these people do not respond to opportunities, people and programs that try to assist them, or do not start making good choices - the rest of society should not have to suffer as a consequence.
A senior police officer I spoke with a few months back said he’d seen a major generational deterioration in the attitude of criminals.
They were offending at an earlier age and were hardened by the time they reached 16.
He said they had no empathy for anyone in the community - not even their associates, and absolute zero respect for authority - especially police.
I suggested that drugs may be part of the problem.
He said that was partly the case, but more often these kids were driven by pure greed and power... and a lack of moral boundaries.
A criminologist has told me many offenders will continue to offend when they feel there are no consequences.
A couple of weeks ago, offenders in a stolen car spun through the Inala police station and smashed into a patrol car before speeding off.
I have heard of a case at Logan where juveniles broke into a liquor store, then tracked police on a scanner through an iPhone App - so they could throw stolen bottles of alcohol at them.
Kid glove treatment of juveniles is not working. In many cases, it just makes them more arrogant and brazen.
Recently, a boy at Logan (who likes to show off his criminal takings in photos on Facebook) fronted court for a string of break and enters.
He has a criminal history as long as my arm and yet still was released on bail to stay with his mother - who happens to be his CO-ACCUSED - the person who allegedly has been helping him to sell his alleged stolen property.
Funnily enough, he hasn’t been adhering to bail conditions.
Others like him have fronted court, been released on bail, only to be picked up by police days later for stealing cars and breaking into homes and businesses.
Yes - more people become victims because these teens are not being dealt with appropriately in the first place.
Police have plenty more work to do spending time taking reports on all these extra incidents which are unlikely to every be solved.
By the time officers catch up with a thief, there will be so many new cases that the original complaint will become just another statistic.
Courts will have a bigger workload. So will insurance companies - and guess who’ll have to pay for that in the form of increased premiums? The victim of crime.
Of course there’s the emotional turmoil too. I know of a mum in Logan who phoned police exasperated after a break-in at her home.
Her stuff had been taken, but worse, her little boy was traumatised to the point he would not leave his mother’s side to venture into another room for fear the `baddies’ would come back.
The mother didn’t know where to turn. She ended up moving out and finding a new home.
I wonder if offenders ever think of the consequences of their actions.
Recently I sat in court and heard the story of a ‘reformed’ thief and drug addict. He was explaining how for the past few years, he’d been clean and crime free. He’d married and had children. I was pleased for him.
He was fronting court for an old crime - the theft of a laptop some years earlier.
His fingerprints were found at the scene - and ironically he was picked up at his local police station where he’d gone to report his own phone stolen.
He wanted to plead guilty to sort everything out once and for all. A suspended sentence was agreed upon.
Then this man was told he’d have to pay restitution for the computer he’d stolen.
That’s when the atmosphere changed.
‘When did that start?’ he demanded of the magistrate.
‘I’ve never had to pay restitution before,’ he added.
I couldn’t believe it.
This offender was horrified that he’d actually have to compensate his victim.
Any shred of respect I had for his reformation evaporated.
There was also a young guy there who’d been charged with stealing cars. He was seeking an adjournment.
`Would two weeks be alright?’ he was asked.
Hmmm I wonder if the person whose car was stolen would have appreciated two weeks notice before he was to be inconvenienced by the loss of his vehicle.
Almost all of my circle who work in education, law enforcement and health have a bounty of dismal stories to tell.
Kids who’ve had no parental guidance turn up at schools where teachers are expected to pull them into line.
But the teachers must do this with their hands tied behind their backs.
As professionals, they must abide by a certain code - respect rights and maintain boundaries.
That's all very well in theory - but when the person you're dealing with has no internal boundary or moral code - the whole system falls apart.
A teacher aide I know was threatened by a teenager who held a sharpened pencil to her eyeball. She'd done nothing to provoke it - he just wanted to prove his power.
In the final weeks of school last year, a male teacher ended up in a Brisbane hospital having his face reconstructed thanks to the damage caused by the fist of a grade 10 boy.
It’s not just in schools.
A theatre nurse I know who works in a major Queensland hospital has spoken about being spat at and abused by a patient she helped to treat - after he was injured while stealing cars.
Week after week, there are reports of unprovoked violence at city night spots.
Alcohol and drugs definitely play a role. Violent computer games and TV shows probably contribute too.
But I think there is also a serious problem with the internal moral compasses of whole lot of people.
Last week, a young man who works at a Queensland fast food store underwent surgery to have his face fixed.
Why? Because as he was carrying out his work duties, an irate customer belted him - all because he was served a burger that did not have pickles.
A society where depravity replaces common sense is not a place I want to be
Doctors and nurses are sick of patching people up after needless attacks.
Teachers have their hands tied.
Police are frustrated by an overwhelming list of jobs, mountains of paperwork and a revolving door justice system.
Courts must abide by rules.
But more and more people are not abiding by the rules - and thanks to bureaucracy and political correctness, society’s response to rule-breakers has become watery at best.
As taxpayers, we provide the money for health, education, justice, welfare, law enforcement - all of these services.
Ought we not expect a bit of service for ourselves?
Follow Sally on Twitter @SallyEeles