Thursday, April 19, 2012

How do we keep our elderly safe?

Once again we watch in horror as yet another elderly person is assaulted in their home. For what? ------ A few dollars?  This time it was the poor old guy’s neighbour who broke in and guess what--? The law allows ‘name suppression. OK the law is the law and there may be a reason why he has that right. I know we can’t go off half-cocked and demand some sort of vigilante action, but it really sticks in the craw when these useless young thugs assault someone so obviously unable to defend themselves.
We will probably hear that the young defendant had a difficult background and had parents who were unable to instil in him the normal decency most of us operate by. The list his defence will trot out will contain the usual clichés; perhaps they should just play a recording, because it is always the same.
What has gone so terribly wrong with a young person that feels they have the right to enter another person’s house and then assault them when they meet resistance?
Maybe be we should make it mandatory that once we reach a certain age, we must all live in a protected environment. Of course that’s rubbish. Most of us mange to live in our own homes; rather than moving in to one of the huge array of retirement facilities. I am not saying g that choosing such an option is bad--- indeed it would probably suit me well, if I ever get to that point.
The reasons for these violent home invasions are more sinister. I suggest that a high number of them are driven by more than a lack of ‘upbringing.’ There is an underlying culture of drug dependency in New Zealand that fuels many of these acts of violence. We see it time after time; in the youth and adult courts.
 By the time teenagers reach high school, much of the antecedents are already in place. I know ‘good kids’ can go wrong, but the overwhelming proportion of young [people who go on to offending at the violent end of the crime spectrum come from families who have failed them. The signs were there when the children were very young.
Teachers have long said they can predict how many of their charges will ‘turn out.’ They have asked for years that resources be put in at our Primary schools, in partnership with the families and agencies that support them.
For politicians who control the purse strings, the message should be clear. If you don’t have a social conscience, then take a monetary approach. Spend the money whilst the children are young and you will save a great deal of our precious resources in the future. Maybe we will not need so many prisons and perhaps fewer children will leave school unable to read or be in gangs that substitute for a real family.
Rocket Science? ---- I think not.