Flat White

All deaths in custody matter

25 September 2018

12:51 PM

25 September 2018

12:51 PM

I’m horrified to see sensible people I know organising prayer vigils for “Aboriginal deaths in custody”. This is alarmingly gullible behaviour from people that should be a little more immune to the usual virtue-signalling groupthink. Accepting the premise of every argument and assertion put to you can lead to an incredible waste of time solving problems that don’t exist at the cost of ignoring the real problems which deserve our attention.

There’s a wider issue that needs to be addressed, perhaps in another article, and that is the advocacy of so-called social justice, from whence we get our annoying “SJWs” – social justice warriors. For the sake of being brief, let me simply state without demonstrating the point that justice needs no modification. Any variation of justice is not justice, it’s something diluted and different. In rejecting feminism I don’t reject the justice of suffrage or equal pay for equal work. I also don’t ride the pendulum to the other extreme and become a men’s rights activist.

I, and those others like me who aspire to imitate Christ, seek justice for all regardless of identity or circumstance. My immediate question is what about white deaths in custody? Do we not care about people if they’re not part of a minority group? Be alarmed and very sceptical when you hear anyone claim social justice is the goal. Social justice – and here’s where we’ll need another article to explore the issue fully – is just yet another cultural Marxist manipulation of what sounds good to implement divisive identity politics of imaginary grievances of the “powerless” minorities against the “powerful” white, straight men. Just how “powerful” is whitey when he dies in custody?

Let me be explicitly clear for the sake of all the bleeding hearts who have already called me a racist. I’m calling for equality: indifference to ethnicity, not indifference to injustice. I want the same justice for every citizen. One of my values is that every human life is precious and worth fighting for at every stage. That includes but is not limited to black deaths in custody. Yes, we should do whatever we can to find out what can be done to prevent any loss of life to any human when in the care of our society – black or white, preborn or old, sick or healthy, rich or poor. That’s justice, a traditional Australian and British, Christian value. Here’s the punchline if you don’t want to read any further: respond to deaths in custody if you’re moved to respond, inclusive of all ethnicities. So simple and yet no trace of the divisive identity politics.

The evidence of the ridiculously facile nature of SJWs who often catch normally sensible people up in their currents of confected concern is this myth of excessive aboriginal deaths in custody. The objective reality is that non-aboriginal people are more likely to die than Aboriginal people in custody.

The prayer vigil that’s been organised correctly identified that the 1991 royal commission investigated 99 Aboriginal deaths in custody. They fail to mention it didn’t investigate or compare to non-Aboriginal deaths, and that was a major oversight, essentially dismissing the equal tragedy of any other human life carelessly lost. The royal commission also failed to consider why Aboriginals are over-represented in prison or police custody. It was simply about duty of care, and failed to ask more nuanced questions which would’ve given those seeking answers a complete picture of the real problems and solutions needed.

Have Aboriginal deaths in custody become a bigger problem now than it was 27 years ago? Yes – because Aboriginal over-representation in prison has doubled in that time. However, the rate of Aboriginal deaths in prison has remained virtually unchanged.

In 1991, David Biles, a criminologist who was the head of the criminology research group of the royal commission, and a small team of researchers “were able to prove unequivocally that Aboriginal people were slightly less likely to die in prison or police custody than non-Aboriginal people.”

David Biles further writes,

One of the myths surrounding this subject is the belief that most Aboriginal prisoners are incarcerated for minor offences such as public drunkenness or traffic offences. There probably was some basis for that belief many years ago, but it is certainly not the case today. A glance at the relevant data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows there is very little difference between the severity of the offences committed by indigenous and non-indigenous prisoners. The hard fact is that most of the indigenous prisoners in jail have committed serious offences that would have had the same result if they were not indigenous.

Another fact that will not be welcomed is some research has suggested indigenous offenders may be given lesser sentences than others. Certainly, at an anecdotal level, several individual judges and magistrates will admit in private conversations that they look for a “discount” in the sentences they impose on indigenous offenders. More research is needed on this sensitive issue.

I opened with the concern that we’re wasting time solving problems that don’t exist at the cost of solutions for the problems that do. Surely we need to be asking why Aboriginals are over-represented in crime statistics. Solve that problem, and you automatically solve the excessive number of Aboriginal deaths in custody too, and a whole swag of other social issues.

Let’s be smarter than to simply accept everything presented to us at face value. Instead, let’s learn to ask intelligent questions, challenge the premises which are assumed in so many statements, and refuse to be manipulated into supporting such blatantly racist, divisive agendas by claims of “social justice”.

By all means, pray. Just pray for everyone suffering, not just a preferred ethnicity.

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