Over the last couple of weeks there’ve been a number of threads floating round blogs about what it means when “one of us” does something wrong.
Tane has a great post at The Standard about Bruce Emery’s conviction
Letâ€™s not pretend for a second that Emery would have got off so lightly if he was an unemployed Maori and his victim a middle class Pakeha child, tagger or not.
Being a white middle class man is a mitigating factor.
Luddite Journo takes the next step to look at the victim rather than the murderer, in a piece titledÂ You can only be a victim if you own aÂ houseÂ she writes
Much of New Zealand identifies with only one person in this case â€“ and itâ€™s not the boy who was killed.Â
[As an update, Morgue has aÂ great postÂ in which he suggests that the issue is not the treatment of people-like-us, it’s our treatment of people who are not like us. Emery got appropriate empathy, but we don’t extend it to others]
On similar themes but different incidents Maia writes two posts about why we try to construct rapists as other, and all over the media and blogs people struggle with the way Paula Bennett is one of us but her grandchild’s father is not.
Why is it such a contentious issue? Because is all the bad things in the world are the fault of other people we can sit back and do nothing.Â This view is well illustrated by StuartÂ at StuRants:
I’ve now realised there are at least two New Zealands: the one I live in, and the one where all this stuff happens. As yet, the two have never intersected, but until they do (and may God spare me that misfortune!) I refuse to feel bad about it.
This is somewhat at odds with the prevailing politically correct argument that when a child is beaten to death or whatever we are all responsible. Sorry, but no. I can’t think of anything I could have done to cause these things, or anything I can do to stop it happening.
The reality is that people like us kill people, and those killings are just as wrong as the ones that are committed by criminals on benefits in state houses. The domestic violence, rapes and child abuse that is committed by the educated middle class is just as damaging as any other kind. It is only by accepting that these terrible things are done by people like us that we will learn to stop them.