Doing one’s duty


Lulu saw it first and when she showed interest I saw that it was a big bloody knife and pulled her away. It had probably been tossed from a passing car. It was a heavy duty butcher’s knife, with dried blood on the blade. Butchers look after their tools, so this one had probably been deliberately discarded. The blood suggested violence, so it should be reported to the police.

I dialled the emergency number, asked for police and said it was not an emergency and was transferred to another number, which rang for a while.

As it rang, I saw a black car with tinted windows approaching along the near side of the road perhaps looking for something on the side of the road. The police answered and I briefly explained. They said not to touch it and
to stay at the scene; someone would collect it immediately. The black car passed slowly and the passengers must have seen something as it turned and came back up the other side of the road, then turned again, stopping opposite me.

A large tattooed man got out. He was wearing a cap sideways on his head, a black vest and dark glasses; he looked agitated.

He asked what I was doing and I told him I was telling the police about the big knife on the ground. He said he would take it to the police and I said they were coming to fetch it. He was called from the car and had a quick conversation, then turned to me and jabbed forked fingers in my direction and then gestured at his face. I just looked at him. He then leapt into the car which sped away with wheels spinning and engine snarling. The rear number plate was obscured by mud; all I read was a P and a 3.

His gesture was clearly a threat to me to keep his identity a secret. It made me nervous, but also angry. I might be nearly seventy but I am not going to shrink from my civic duty.

The police were very interested in the identity of the people and the car. There had been a stabbing at the local hotel and it looked like the victim was going to die. They took me home to drop Lulu and then to the station where a detailed statement was taken. I was then showed pictures of people and tattoos, none of whom I recognised, but identified the car type from pictures. I would be called in to view film from security cameras later.

Sure enough a few days later I went in and viewed footage from the hotel cameras and was able to identify what looked like the car, which had a registration of PBY 243. The victim of the stabbing had died – the case was now a murder investigation.

A month later, I received a call to say there had been an arrest and asked to attend an identification parade at the Capalaba Police Station. There was a viewing room with a one way mirror. A number of men were paraded in batches of five, wearing vests in order to display tattoos, which all except two men had. I identified the big man who had spoken to me by his size, a distinctive rose tattoo on his shoulder and a black and white ear stud.

I was told that he was believed to have been involved in the stabbing and that he would also be charged for his attempted intimidation of me. He was known as Lani Diamond and was a known member of the Black Blokes criminal gang.

Months later a policeman knocked on the door and served a Court Subpoena on me to attend a murder trial at the Brisbane High Court. Lani Diamond had been jointly charged with two other men.


On the appointed day I reported to the Court and was directed to a waiting room. On my way there I saw the big man Lani Diamond coming in the main court entrance; he was quite smartly dressed. He was with four other men and when he saw me, he looked around. He then made the same two finger jabbing gesture at me and his own face. I stood my ground with my hands on my hips and stared back at him.

They moved off towards the Courtrooms and I, now a bit shaky, found my way to the waiting room. A barrister in a gown and bands approached me a few minutes later and reported that that my evidence may not be required as the murder charges against Lani had been dropped. The intimidation charge would be referred to a District Court. My report of the second attempt at intimidation pleased him as he said that there were cameras which would have recorded this and that the man would be re-arrested after the charges were withdrawn. He bustled off to arrange this.

An hour later a detective identified himself to me and we went off to an office where we viewed video footage of the court intimidation incident. He told me Lani had been re-arrested as he left the Court after his murder charge had been withdrawn. I gave a statement and was eventually released having been warned to be on my guard as the man would probably be bailed.

I can’t say that I was not somewhat apprehensive: gang revenge attacks were the stuff of movies and novels, but life must go on and we can’t submit to bullies.

The other two men charged with murder were convicted and sentenced to long prison terms.

Nothing further happened about my case for months.

One Tuesday afternoon I received a call from a Police Superintendent who asked me to come the next day to the Police Headquarters in Brisbane in relation to Lani Diamond.

I was directed to a meeting room at the police offices. No-one else was there, but tea and biscuits were laid out.

The door opened behind me and I glanced over my shoulder, as someone said Aha!

It was Lani Diamond….

Such a strange surge of feeling, suddenly finding oneself trapped alone, face to face with a snake in the citadel of law and order!!

He stared at me and then grinned, which set my heart racing – this was it, I needed to face him down – he was a very big, mean looking man with that wolfish grin …

We stared at each other, each awaiting the other’s move. Just then a uniformed policeman entered and seeing what was happening grinned and said: Easy boys! There’s no problem, we’re all friends here…

Lani smiling came over and said Gidday and shook my hand.

I decided to sit down as my knees had got a bit shaky.

The superintendent explained: Lani was an undercover policeman who had penetrated the Black Blokes gang but had needed to prove himself as a gang member, so had threatened me and been arrested and charged. I had to be genuine witness so was not advised about him.

Based on his evidence, the gang was broken up with multiple charges being laid and drugs, guns and money recovered. It was a one of the biggest Police busts for years, still hush-hush, but they wanted to thank me for my little part which had secured the job.

Lani just did his duty, so I suppose, did I.

I feel good about it … now my heart has stopped thumping.

DIRTY ENERGY

World carbon emissions will reach 37 billion tonnes in 2018, a record high.

Coal, oil and gas fired electricity generation are dirty energy: they overload us with carbon which is killing the world. We seem unable to stop it

At last, there is some turning away and focus on renewable sources which don’t permanently damage our world. 

I saw an exhilarating TED presentation on Costa Rica’s progress towards the elimination of dirty energy sources. 

That little Central American country generates over 98% of its electricity from renewable sources. It plans to be carbon neutral by 2021 just over 2 years away!

We MUST talk this talk. Our children must be taught it at school – they must bring it home and persuade their families to bring about change.

There is still some fracking about. It needs to stop: 
Go solar, stop coal power stations, use the wind. 

Ex Africa aliquid semper novus: there is a new industrial revolution growing from the grass roots. They can’t wait passively for the electricity infrastructure grid to reach them. The power stations and lines  needed will take at least 9 years at a capital investment of $ billions. Can’t see African governments spending that sort of money on their peasants.

So this is what’s happening: the peasants are doing it themselves! Simple cheap ($150) off-grid solar kits are being supplied – enough to power electric light and charge a cellphone. They pay back over 2 years.

There are bigger models which can power fridges,water pumps,  tv’s; all the modern utilities of the First World.

Every household a proud producer as well as consumer of energy,” 

Instead of spending $27 billion  on kerosene, candles and batteries they can empower themselves. Government support becomes unnecessary, communities will flourish and look after themselves.

And it is all CLEAN ENERGY.

If peasants in Africa can do it, so can we!

It is inspiring to see these amazing wonders from the Third World!

Vriend verlang *

by Lidi de Waal

ek wil graag ń bietjie op jou stoep vertoewe
my kaal voete op jou koffietafel sit
saam met jou kuier tot die dag min raak
sien hoe jou groot ou akker mooier raak
in die laatmiddagson
ek wil tot binne in die skemer praat en praat
of net sit en luister
sonder om te hoef probeer minder dom
of meer slim wees
sommer net daar sit en myself wees
saam met jou wat net jouself is
ek wil so graag weer ń bietjie
op jou stoep kom sit
Lidi de Waal is a South African artist and poet. You can follow her on Facebook. She writes simple, everyday spoken Afrikaans that cracks the nut.
Her artwork is distinctive and interesting.
*This poem was untitled – I gave it my own title

Gandy of the Golden Curls

 So Gandy left us on Thursday.

I thought I heard a click of his claws on the floor,

And thought of him, going through the door

On his way to join Malcolm and Moo.

 

A perky even frisky fellow, not quite a gent.

In fact quite a scruff, curly and unkempt

In a laddish, charming way.

 

Frolic was his second name;

Good company and well behaved,

Whenever he came to stay.

 

The skip in your step and hop on the bed

Gave birth to grins and forgiveness of sins.

Thank you for all the comfort and joy,

We are  poorer without you dear old boy.

 

 

 

The Deliberate Termination of Life

(Be warned: you may be horrified and disturbed by this article. It’s about abortion and execution. Maybe you should skip it?)

 

I read a recent report on the execution of a murderer in South Dakota. The wife of the murderer’s victim said it was a peaceful and sterile death, not like that of her husband who died in a pool of blood with his head bashed in.

The murderer had been serving a life sentence for attempted murder and kidnapping when he killed a prison guard in an attempted escape. The appeal process had taken seven years.

In the same online news website there was a report from a woman who had an abortion at the age of 16. Her outrage was directed at the doctors who were clinical and distant, when questioning a sixteen-year-old to confirm that she didn’t want to continue the pregnancy. She felt that wasn’t simply unkind, it was cruel, so the law on abortion should be changed to unchecked abortion on demand.

That stirred some sort of turmoil in me.

I believe in the death penalty, just not the inhuman delay between sentence and execution. Some murderers cannot be rehabilitated and need to be removed from society. Imprisonment is cruel and costly. It is not right that society should be forever burdened by the cost of prisons.

Soon (if not already) it will be possible to monitor every persons’ movements. Everyone will need a permanent unalterable identity marker in order to transact any business, access the internet or enter buildings.

Vicious criminals could have this identity revoked and be restricted to isolated regions; (Mars comes to mind). If they defy the restrictions they could be taken out by armed drone guards. They would have to regulate themselves and produce their own food and produce to sell for a livelihood.

Thieves and perverts can be electronically marked so that everyone knows them as such and they can be prevented from entering specified areas.

 

The thought of unchecked abortion on  demand for sixteen year olds fills me with horror. I am not against abortion. There needs to be some interrogation and education involved. Surely getting an abortion is more serious a thing than buying a puppy?

What I am against is free and easy abortion – Vegas wedding chapel type abortion options:

  • Your surgeon/abortionist could be an Elvis look alike and champagne will be served to celebrate your freedom to be fucking stupid again!
  • Would you prefer an abortifacient that induces abortion. (Abortifacients for animals that have mated undesirably are known as mismating shots – how cute!)
  •  or a suction curette to cut and suck it out?
  • Every third abortion is free through Eezy Abortion Clinics

Mind you, I am not against sterilization of the irresponsible and castration of rapists either.

Just as well I didn’t become a judge!

 

A Patriot

I spell the word with a capital letter. A Patriot to me has always been a person worthy of the highest praise, possessed of the highest virtues.

Until yesterday, when I saw the title of a photograph in an exhibition that I visited with my daughter. It was one of a series of photographs depicting the “unite the right” rally in Charlottesville, USA. The picture was of a bearded older man in camouflage, clutching a rifle with a sort of blank fervour in his eyes.

I am conservative, a white male (oh dear!) with, I hope, a modicum of balance and perspective. But I didn’t like that label, nor could I criticise it. I talked with my daughter, a teacher, about it. I mentioned that I had once written about the need for the institution of learning about the cardinal virtues and the need for iconic models for our youth and that my view had been criticised. What virtues could beat Courage, Prudence, Temperance and Justice, as proposed by St Thomas Aquinas?

courage  temperance prudence (2) justice for one side

She responded obliquely in the way of the New Age; not contradicting but offering a different viewpoint. She felt that diversity was the key and that inclusiveness and tolerance would yield a good basis for future societal foundations. I felt my gorge rise with hot words of … watering down values and standards to reach a common denominator that would suit all which would not be a standard at all, which was the fault of liberal democracy and… and …  

But I stifled them, stumped by the thought that she was probably right and that I was a dinosaur, out of time and that my steam would be obsolete and silly.

Anyway Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, Mao Ze Dong, Pol Pot and Robert Mugabe were probably Patriots too!