Keep calm and do nothing


Above: the scene where Henderson shopkeeper Arun Kumar was killed


The killing this week of a shopkeeper in Henderson continues a recent spate of horrifically violent incidents in West Auckland.

It’s truly terrible what is happening in these communities. Any murder is a tragedy for those concerned, but it’s also a disaster for the local neighbourhoods.

It’s difficult to understand what can trigger a person to take a life. As a comfortable white middle class urban male, I can’t imagine killing another person, because almost all the people I come into contact with during my day are comfortable white middle class urban folk, and they’re mostly fine with the way the world is going. Why wouldn’t they be? I But I don’t go troppo when my barista makes me a regular flat white when I asked for trim, so why would anyone kill a poor shopkeeper?

What goes through the minds of these people? What brings them to the point where killing seems like a good idea? Is it poverty? Income inequality? Drug addiction? Mental health issues? Bad parenting?

It doesn’t really matter. Because let’s be very clear about one thing. Nothing can be done.

So let’s not talk about things like inequality, poverty, drug addiction, mental health, unemployment, or the allocation of police resources. Anyone who raises any of these issues during the election campaign is just engaging in cheap electioneering.

There’s no call for politicians on the left to complain about conditions in their local communities, certainly not politicians living in places like West Auckland who are talking to local people and who can see with their own eyes the damage government policies are doing.

How dare they? Things weren’t perfect under Labour either. Labour’s disgraceful failure to create a Utopian society free from all crime and social problems means its MPs have forfeited the right to say anything at all. Labour has no right to lecture National on crime or unemployment or income inequality, because some bad things happened under Labour too. Under the last Labour government there were even murders. Yes, murders.

Let’s by all means have a debate about crime in our communities. But let’s agree that talking about anything that might fuel crime is off-limits during an election year.

These are all terrible tragedies, which is why we need to keep calm and do absolutely nothing.

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