Thursday 29 February 2024

Tougher Love.

"Ullo, ullo, ullo, what's coming off here then?" Mark Mitchell’s Gang Laws are separating the Liberal Sheep from the Authoritarian Goats.  

THE INTENSIFYING POLITICAL CONTROVERSY over the Coalition Government’s policy on gangs promises to be one of those sheep-from-goats moments. While the Left will veer instinctively towards the sociological, the Right will opt to (paraphrasing one of the best lines from Pulp Fiction) “get medieval” on the gangs’ collective ass. Practical questions, such as “Can this policy possibly work?” will crash into angry ideological responses, “Are you saying gangs are above the law?” The sociological “sheep” who believe in a world unconstrained by the shackles of “human nature”, will face the “goats” of realism, who recognise the necessity of keeping human-beings’ potential for chaos and cruelty under strict control.

One could argue that the gangs (or, at least, the Mongrel Mob’s) biggest political misjudgement of the past 12 months was to go large on the opportunity provided by the funeral of a fallen comrade. In retrospect, it almost certainly would have been wiser for them to pay their last respects in mufti, and to have hired busses for the journey to Opotiki.

Where was Harry Tam when the Mob needed him? He could have outlined the risks, in an election year, of turning a fellow gang member’s tangi into a show of Mongrel Mob strength. Warning them that there’s not a conservative politician in New Zealand, or anywhere else, who could fail to register the extraordinary opportunity for making electoral capital out of the “gang takeover” of the little Bay of Plenty town.

Certainly, Mark Mitchell – former police officer, onetime gun-toting international security contractor, Member of Parliament and, in 2023, the National Party’s spokesperson for matters relating to Law & Order, can only have relished the scenes of hundreds of gang members, some on motorcycles, others piled onto the backs of utes, riding into Opotiki in much the same way as the Wehrmacht rode into Poland and France.

Mitchell knew, because he was one of them, exactly how conservative Pakeha males all over New Zealand would be responding to these scenes; was rolling the words around in his own mouth, even as they were spat out towards 100,000 screens: “Who the fuck is running this country!” Followed immediately by: “Where are the fucking cops!”

Cue the Left’s standard intervention. Gangs are what you get when the pathways to personal and communal prosperity are blocked by the exigencies of capitalist macroeconomics – always and ably assisted by the systemic and individualised racism endemic to all white settler states. When the traditional cultural mechanisms for managing and socially integrating the young are rendered ineffectual by rapid and massive urbanisation. When being young and Māori in a Pakeha town or city makes you guilty of whatever’s bugging the cops until your innocence is proven. When the only way to make it through the rite-of-passage of a prison sentence is by accepting the protection of people in exactly the same predicament as yourself.

All of which is true, but irrelevant. The how and the why of gangs cuts little ice when [insert small rural community’s name here] wastewater treatment plant is testing positive – very positive – for methamphetamine, and God knows what other drugs. Because, absent the criminality and the inevitable violence with which it is associated, a gang is nothing more than a club. One becomes a gangster by breaking the law. And one becomes a patched gangster by seriously breaking the law.

Which is why a gang patch is so intimidating. It tells you that the person wearing it is someone you had better not mess with – someone you would be wise to fear. No police officer operating alone, or even as one of a pair, is ever going to attempt to make a gang member remove his patch.

That Mark Mitchell and Paul Goldsmith are pledged to shepherding a bill through Parliament which will give police officers the legal right to require the removal of gang patch means nothing. Only with a hefty squad of armed police backing up the local constable/s will gang patches ever be removed from gang members’ shoulders and hung-up safely in the gang’s headquarters. And when the armed-up outsider cops have gone back to the big smoke, what then? What happens to the local cops the next time they’re out on patrol? What can they do when the gangs know where they live – where their families live?

Is it possible that Mitchell and Goldsmith are well aware that the laws they are committed to passing cannot possibly be effective unless and until there has been a profound change in the way New Zealand is policed. And is that what they are planning? To move New Zealand away from its present policy of “policing by consent”, to policing the citizenry by threatening and, with rising frequency, using armed force?

Because with the Coalition Government’s introduction of laws forbidding the wearing of gang patches in public; laws mandating the immediate dispersal of gang assemblies; laws prohibiting criminal association; it really wouldn’t take very much to set-off a bloody confrontation between the gangs and the Police. And if a police officer, or officers, were killed or seriously injured in that confrontation, how hard would it be to secure public support for arming the Police, and outlawing gang membership altogether?

For all the “goats” out there, the idea of arming the police is no great cause for concern. Indeed, they would demand to know of their “sheepish” compatriots how else the situation might be brought under control. When the number of gang members in New Zealand is roughly equivalent to the number of sworn police officers, they would argue, not arming the frontline enforcers of the law could easily be seen as criminally negligent.

The “sheep” out there would, naturally, be distraught at the loss of policing by consent. While it remains the firm policy of the New Zealand state, it is still possible to believe that the democratic impulse it embodies remains strong. That respect for basic human rights will, still, in the end, overrule the authoritarian impulses of those who see human nature as something dark, something to be controlled at all costs.

But, as the recommended responses to the Christchurch Mosque Massacres should have made clear to all our “sheep”, further state-sponsored curtailment of citizen’s rights, undertaken from the most noble of motives, of course, is only another deadly tragedy away.

The “goats”, meanwhile, can rest assured that once the liberals have been policed, and the police liberated, New Zealanders can anticipate tragedies in abundance.

This essay was originally posted by The Democracy Project on Monday, 26 February 2024.


LittleKeith said...

These patch laws are not intended to be the cure for gangs, they are but a step to deflate these criminals and to take their basic rights away. The laws way of turning the screws a little tighter on people who shit on others because they can and one imagines one of several steps to come.

The lefts response is typically pathetic and supportive of gangs. The usual strawman arguments are offered, only if inequality and the meaning of life are simultaneously solved, Amelia Earhart is found alive and well and the Michael Woods of this world learn to give a shit about public money, can we turn our attention to persecuting gangs and shall their memberships decline. That kind of impossible to solve enigma. After all, it's not their fault. They're just big lugs. Oh, and it's the 501's fault, not the subhumans born and bred here.

But... as much as Nicola Willis wants to slice a mandatory six point something percent off the police budget because the economy is in dire straights, National now find themselves in a hell of quandary. Police wages were suitably suppressed by Labour, one of the rarest things ever seen of that government, extreme fiscal discipline, but only because the left don't like cops, not unless they're marching in Pride Parades and suitably neutered.

Sure, somewhere between 1200 and 1500 additional cops slowly made their way into the department over 6 long years (not the mythical Ginny Anderson 1800 she clung to) but that hard to verify increase was really at the behest of NZ First anyway. However, that suppression now means recruiting is suffering and retention difficult and Australia's far superior wages and conditions come calling. National need a lot more police actually on the street and to do that it needs lots more police who stay a lot longer with lots more pay and incentives.

National are at huge risk of losing the crime battle they campaigned so hard on unless they up the numbers of police to enforce these laws, especially in the lawless rural towns where the ferals have taken over. And I bet Mark Mitchell knows it!

So, the truly interesting thing here is, will Nationals brains trust ignore the Finance Ministers direction like they must, or pretend, and smile and wave and lose the war and their credibility? There is no third way!

pat said...

Why is it that whenever "gangs" are invoked it is in the form of the mongrel mob or black power...we have numerous gangs in NZ, many of which that have strong links to international organised crime..esp ex Australia.

One would expect that these laws will be implemented against ALL gangs.

Chris said...

Going by the commentary above your comments Chris are well founded. These are scary times.

Don Franks said...

Banning gang patches is great election winning politics and probably best left there. Because actually banning the things confers more status and power on them than they ever previously had.

Anonymous said...

Gang facts

They murder people, many innocent collateral damage victims. There are dozens if not hundreds in in prison having been sentenced for killing or awaiting trial. They're are what we read in the media. To them, its course of business.

What is not read is the thousands they've beaten to within an inch of their lives, losing literally the shirts off their backs who will never report that fact to police, hospitalised or not.

And then there's the people who live in the shadow and constant threat of gang members, because they have to live where they do, and or are fleeced of their meagre possessions. Kainga Ora, a guilty conspirator.

Its not just conservative males who are appalled by their existence, rather it's anyone who has had to experience the reality of this situation.

The kind of people who defend them and their lifestyles by making ridiculous excuses for their behaviour, aka most of the Labour Party and all of the Greens, don't live near nor have ever experienced these losers. From their guilt ridden middle class academic backgrounds they do what they left do, leave their imaginations to do the walking.

Gang members have chosen to be professional criminals in the organised sense. I'm actually glad we have a government cares enough to want rid of them too!

New view said...

If you listened to Mark Mitchell he said it was unlikely that police would have the numbers to force the law all the time. Especially in country areas. But he intimated that gang homes and headquarters could be visited when it suited the police, after the event, to take patches and other illegal property. Gangs love to show off in public but police will do their best work later. Mitchell is shrewd and I wouldn’t bet against him. Gangs need the pressure on them all the time. Labour gave them six years of free advertising and the country is paying for it. They were given an inch and have taken a mile.

The Barron said...

First is to acknowledge Pat's point, the NZ Police have a National Organised Crime Group. It is a fallacy to suggest that their work is concentrated on 'patched' gangs let alone those seen as Maori gangs. No doubt though that this is part of the work.

I have little reason to defend the 'patched' gangs, but many studies have shown that some of those that have felt isolated in society have joined for a sense of support and family. The older gangs are intergenerational, and there are reports of gang leaders ensuring no gang insignia at schools as a safe space in communities and for their grandchildren. It is also wrong to suggest that they are not integrated into some communities. The Wairoa 'gang' funeral was as much a hapu tangi. This is not a defense of such gangs, but a view that there is a need for understanding if solutions are sought.

The issue at hand should be that of outrage to any NZ citizen. What this government are doing is creating public restrictions not because of what any individual or group has done, but because of how the person identifies and choses to project themselves. This has been shown to be a breach of the NZ Bill of Rights in Whanganui (over-turned by the courts), as well as ineffective and unenforceable. Rather than 'get tough' on the gangs, it may lampoon the police (publicly trying to prevent someone with 'MMM' tattooed on their face from the local store - to purchase MMMs). When you decide that crime is not the basis of legal restriction but identity and expression is, you are creating a multi-tier differentiation of rights.

Interestingly, Australia has just banned the swastika from public spaces. This is because it has been used to intimidate and upset Jewish Australians in recent protests by the far-right. I have more empathy to this as it is directly seen as an expression of hate towards a group. There is a measure of sexual violence associated with some of the 'patched' gangs in NZ and I could see reason for restriction on insignia if it is to intimidate specific victims. But a carte blanche ban based not on specific crime is a dangerous restriction on the right to expression.

Chris said...

We all like someone to hate. For the white conservative Kiwi male it is gangs. For the Zionist it is the Palestinian. For the shrewd former mercenary and his govt it is the cynical opportunity to exploit hate to gain political cudos. Dehumanizing people is an old strategy that works well today. Evidence says that marginalising, dehumanising and punishing does not work when it comes to public safety. However it works to reinforce fear, empowering the lynch mobs and for vote catching. Building a society based on the values of openess, care, and equity is too difficult, inconvenient and scary for the power brokers. It will mean that firstly they have to face up to their own empty meaningless existence and secondly give up much of their wealth and power. A cliche ridden prime Minister is a great front for the fear ridden and the deluded.

sean kerrigan said...

I actually came, to Chris's blog, kinda hoping he'd have written about Mr Luxon and yesterdays fun on the plane from Queenstown to Wellington, which, silly me, was jumping the gun given 'considered responses' take time... to consider.
But still maybe how reactionary Mr Luxon was, how he seemed to be reliant on Premier house needing millions to fix up was a totally reliable back story to diminish the 52k thing, which he was giving back, maybe this can be applied to the Police grabbing patches.
What that means possibly is the catching out of the means to an end means an end that allows them to have their end and eat it too...basically I'd suggest a pink sticker amendment, as in the Police don't have to remove the 'Patch' but treat it alike a car that ain't going no further, and therein allow the defined protectors of our peace to hand over a sticker (with easily washed off adhesive) that, at the gang members discretion, they adhere over their patch.
Patch reads 'The Police were here!'
I suppose really though that when we do finally cross a sheep with a goat we do actually get a unicorn!

Gary Peters said...

Chris I note a tone of distain when you refer to Mithchell as "gun-toting". I would have though the mouthy ginny anderson remarks would have clued you into the fact that he was in fact much much more than that.

I also think you are wise enough to know that every serving frontline police officer is now firearms capable and in fact mere steps away in almost every case from that firearm if it is not already strapped to their hip.

Words are not enough to describe the harm and depredation inflicted on our country by these gang affiliated vermin and I doubt that you have experienced much in your life that directly exposes you to that harm yet others above have referenced those experiences in an attempt to clue you in to the widespread influence thay have. Not a drop of illegal substance passes through this country from hardcore drugs to cigarettes without the touch of a gang in it's passage. Very little of the sex trade has no linkage to the gangs and very little petty crime has no input from gangs either as stolen to order or an offense to earn merit within the extended reach of the gang.

While at the pointy end there may be conflict between various factions of the gangs at the executive level there is a co-ordinated approach to how their industry in run and yes, it is an industry at a level way above that of many legitimate producers in New Zealand.

This measure may not make a jot of difference, only time will tell, but it is a step on the way back from the direction that labour's soft on crime approach has taken us.

In my opinion.

Larry Mitchell said...

Mitchell IS! shrewd ... to quote NV.

And I agree that 24 / 7/ 365 police pressure on gangs will ( quite rapidly!) take the stuffing out of the soldiers leaving Gang HQ's people left ... a few diehards and Major Domos sans any infantry.

Mitchell now needs right thinking voluble unstinting relentless PUBLIC SUPPORT.

Limp wrists and pleas of Human Rights will not cut it. Waddabout ... victims of the gangs rights and those if a decent Society?

David George said...

Chris: "We all like someone to hate"

Gangs are manifest psychopathy, they, and their members, don't care about anyone but themselves. The best way to deal with psychopaths is to ensure that their strategies fail. A strategy "based on the values of openness, care, and equity" only enables and emboldens them.

"You don't understand the narcissistic/psychopathic. They feel that anyone stupid enough to fall prey to their machinations deserves what they get" Jordan Peterson.

David George said...

Foot note: There is no cure for psychopathy, it's not a mental illness as such.

Some of the more common signs of ASPD (anti social personality disorder AKA psychopathy) can include:
*a tendency to engage in behavior that’s reckless, impulsive, or may lead to harmful consequences.
*intimidating, manipulating and hurting others
*behavior that conflicts with social norms
*disregarding or violating the rights of others
*inability to distinguish between right and wrong
*difficulty with showing remorse or empathy
*tendency to lie often
*recurring problems with the law
*general disregard toward safety and responsibility
*expressing anger and arrogance on a regular basis

John Hurley said...

Dehumanizing people is an old strategy that works well today.
Humans are as humans do. In chaotic societies it is rational to form a group; ethnocentrism wins over altruism and free-loading in computer simulations.

Muldoon was able to gain the affection of Black Power because back then nation and state were synonymous. If you want gang members to reform you have to have a user-friendly society, not a communist wet-dream. It must be hard to fit into super-diverse Auckland these days, where clearly foreigners scoop up the beauty, space and convenience [in and about their homes] (which was the New Zealand promise).
Harry Tam is cynically using leftist rhetoric.

David George said...

Has anyone else noticed that many of the people fully on board with the government mandating face masks are suddenly horrified at the civil rights aspect of prohibiting criminal gangster's patches in public?

The Barron said...

Ridiculous comparison. The mask mandate was about identified public health. Function not attire.
In regard to public safety requirements, the motorcycle helmet is applied to all including gangs, and generally complied with. If someone a mask with a bulldog or BP fist it would fit the mandate for public health safety.
As I indicated above, there may be arguments where swastika is used to intimidate and that crosses the threshold for specific harm to a specific individual or sector, but that is difficult to show.
The mask mandate is not difficult to show as an issue of public safety as it was recommended by health authorities to prevent death and serious illness.
The courts upheld this as a necessary restriction on individual rights, similarly the courts ruled the Whanganui restriction on gang insignia and attire was an unnecessary restriction.

David George said...

I'm not saying they're the same thing Barron (though you could certainly argue for banning criminal gangs on a public safety basis) but that the objection is similar in principle.

While there is considerable doubt about the efficacy of masks I'm equally not convinced that the banning of gang insignia will be effective or worth the bother but note that they are already banned in many places. Whangarei (public) hospital won't allow anyone wearing "patches" in, for instance, as do many bars etc. for public safety and order reasons.

I think we need to recognise what we're up against with the proliferation of psychopathic criminal gangs. Whenever the psychopath succeeds in gaining wealth, power and prestige; when that option becomes an attractive viable option it will attract followers. That is what we have seen.

Individual psychopaths are generally found out fairly quickly and people (other than their long suffering partners perhaps) will have nothing to do with them. They can no longer successfully compete and cooperate with others and their strategy fails; it becomes apparent, even to themselves, that it's an unattractive option and they are forced to modify their behaviour, at least to some extent. The mutually reinforcing nature of gang culture makes it a "tougher nut to crack" but the same principle applies: make then not viable. The best strategy is to seize their ill gotten gains, hassle, disrupt and, if necessary, incarcerate them.

David George said...

News out of Sweden, yes free and generous Sweden; major and growing criminal gang problems. After years of foolish excuses and outright denial it can no longer be ignored - not unless you're prepared to accept a criminal dystopia. It's always better to confront reality, to deal with a problem, before it threatens to overwhelm you. Right?

According to the new report, some 62.000 people in Sweden are connected to criminal gangs. To put this into perspective, consider that Sweden is a small country with only 10.4 million people.

"We are talking about system threatening crime with a large capacity for violence that silence witnesses, threaten social workers, infiltrate authorities and political the long run, the criminal networks threaten our free and open society" Justice Minister Gunnar Strömmer said at a press conference.

Peter Sweden: "We now have around 60 no-go zones in Sweden, with the police describing some of these as "lawless areas".

We have a bombing crisis in Sweden. In 2023 there was a whopping 149 bombing attacks, a new record high. This is unprecedented for a country that is not at war. Sweden, which was once known as one of the most peaceful countries on earth, now has one of the HIGHEST bombing rates in the entire world!

What went wrong?

Sweden also has a rape crisis. Some years ago, the mainstream media ridiculed people like me as "conspiracy theorists" for sounding the alarm on the insane number of rapes happening in the country.

Now it is common knowledge that Sweden has one of the highest number of rapes in the world, a disaster."

The Barron said...

I agree that private and public safety must be guideline, where the threshold is drawn is a debate regarding what are reasonable restrictions. Courts, schools and hospitals as public spaces and bars as private would be agreed by most reasonable people. Of course, if the insignia is a facial tattoo, to be denied access to those public spaces becomes unreasonable or negotiable.

The triple alliance extending this to all public spaces has already been shown in the Whanganui case unreasonable.

I will caution against extensive imposition of psychiatric terms on a group of people [NB: I am sure I may have in the past and may do so in the future]. "Gangs' vary in the make up and the individuals motive and role. Accurate understanding is required if solutions are sought.

The Barron said...

Southland swedes behave

Anonymous said...

Well I would point out that rape laws in Sweden are pretty different from anywhere else .

David George said...

Thanks for raising that, Barron, I can see the problem.
Though I used the simplified "psychopath" label it is a recognised group phenomena. The full correct term is social, group or collective psychopathy. Here's an interesting essay on the subject including a look the cases of Hitler and Che Guevara: Social Psychopathy by Matthew Thomas Bell
How radicalization replaces personal responsibility with collective psychopathy.

"A psychopath is unable to feel genuine human connections, and in this way will stop at nothing to achieve their goals, regardless of the impact on others. But there is something more dangerous than the individual psychopath. It is the phenomenon of group psychopathy."

"The history of tribes is a history of violence. Warring nations fighting over land and resources, raping and pillaging, and enslaving each others people for millennia. It is the history of dehumanizing the other — because they are not part of your group. It is the inability to connect — and the resulting total lack of empathy of the psychopath. The inability to form a moral compass.

The individuals of a tribe fall away, and as a collective, they absorb the tenants of the tribe- the goals passed down by ritual. Those who question the tribe are exiled or slaughtered- and the group is groomed through tribally enforced selection to be susceptible to groupthink — to adhere to arbitrary dictates. Or else. There is no remorse, neither for those in the tribe, nor for those outside. Opposing groups are treated simply as means to their ends."

"regardless of individual diagnosis, when humans collectivize their identities become subsumed by an entity that is functionally a psychopath. A group does not have a conscious — and the fiction that tribes are thinking individuals is a dangerous myth that sets the stage for true psychopaths to take the helm and spout out their beliefs to fill the void of reality with their vision. Individuals may bounce ideas off of one another, but in the end- it is the political leader, the ones vying for power, who become the voices of the vicious movements of history. The monsters who take a beast incapable of remorse or guilt and direct its power to their purpose."

David George said...

Yes Anonymous, Sweden does have a broader definition of rape than most places, what we would call serious sexual assault is considered rape there. Sweden also changed the legal definition of rape in 2018 to sex without consent. Unlike in many countries, prosecutors do not have to prove the use or threat of violence or coercion.

Nevertheless, over the last 5 years (broadly the period the revised definition has been in place) there has been a whopping 42,936 reported rapes according to official crime statistics. If the sheer number doesn't concern you the upward trajectory should.