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Sunday, June 19, 2005

Assault is assault

My four year old broke his arm earlier this year. It was at the local mall, in the children's play area. He was going down the slide on his back, just like his big brother was. And jumping off when he got down to the bottom. Somehow everything went terribly wrong on his last slide down. He lost control, one of his arms got twisted up near his head and got bent too far and broke just above the elbow.

During one of our many visits into the hospital, an orderly told me that they get heaps of kids with broken limbs during the school terms from jungle gym accidents. Jokingly he said, they ought to ban them.

Finlay MacDonald in today's SST think that we ought to ban Section 59 of the Crimes Act. Because some parents assault their children without any regard to their child's safety, S. 59 must go. Let's not ammend it or more tightly define reasonble force, because that's giving parents a license to assault their children. As he says :
Assault is assault, and reasonable force should be used to close the Section 59 loophole before another inadequate or sadist enjoys the benefit of it's doubt.
How about jungle gyms, Finlay? Children, when they least expect it get assaulted by jungle gyms in school grounds across New Zealand on a regular basis. How many more broken limbs are we going to put up with before we remove these instruments of destruction? How many more children have to be hurt??? *

* Being tongue in cheek about jungle gyms, just making a point.

UPDATE 10:15 pm : Hiding to Nothing, Finlay MacDonald Listener Editorial (October 4-10 2003 Vol 190 No 3308), found by looking for the phrase "jug cord fan belts smack". I was sure I'd heard this phrase or variation thereof before. Who uses a jug cord or fan belt??? Check out my Smacking is Violence dictionary definition.

Posted by Lucia Maria | 6/19/2005 03:51:00 PM

15 Comments:

Blogger MrTips said...

Finlay MacDonald, well what can one say?

Everyone knows that the media in this country is full of people who can't or won't think.'

Heck, his wife is such a crap newsreader too. What does she think then eh?

Mind you, neither would smack their kids, they would leave it to the nanny.

6/19/2005 07:49:00 PM  
Blogger Gooner said...

Yes I read that Lucyna with a head full of steam. He *seems* such a smug little shit. I know the definition of Assault inside out and I know what is, and what isn't, Assault.

We can look at it this way. Finlay says a smack is assault. It's not. If it isn't, what are we worried about?

Personally I don't think cops will be bothered investigating spurious smacking complaints so maybe we have nothing to worry about it there. Also, if you're in your lounge and give your 5yr old a little tap to let him know who is boss who will know apart from you and him?

On the other hand repealing s 59 will do NOTHING about child abuse. N O T H I N G. How the hell can *he* make a link between the two! We can make changes to other areas that will impact on child abuse without even looking at s 59 so why is it such a fuss?

I despise smug, pissant little nobodies like Finlay spouting off like he has a Phd in child psychology. Wanker.

6/19/2005 09:24:00 PM  
Blogger Lucyna said...

It set me off too, Gooner. It deliberately inflammatory ... phrases like "smack-happy lobby" and "like no jugs cords and fan belts, maybe?"

Mr Tips, that sounds right - there's none so smug as those who don't actually have to raise children by paying someone else to do it for them.

Sweden's experience bears blogging about too - apparently they've have a massive increase in kids being taken away from their parents and put into care because of their anti-smacking law.

6/19/2005 10:08:00 PM  
Blogger Ashley Clarkson said...

I was not impressed by MacDonald's article either - generally speaking he makes me froth at the mouth. I was thinking about blogging about it, but thought otherwise. After all, I've already stated my opinion on smacking at Ihatesocialism - no point belabouring the point or reinventing the wheel (perhaps even flogging a dead horse?).

Frank Haden has the same effect on me too, actually. It's not just ladeda-hippy-cloud-cuckoo-land socially liberal lefties that occasionally get my goat up either. I was less than impressed with his vitriol in last week's Pravda.

6/19/2005 11:59:00 PM  
Blogger Lucyna said...

Blog it, Ashley. This is not a dead horse - it's a live one!

6/20/2005 12:26:00 AM  
Blogger noizy said...

I despise smug, pissant little nobodies like Finlay spouting off like he has a Phd in child psychology.

I take it everyone else here does have a Ph.D in Child Psychology then?

6/20/2005 11:30:00 AM  
Blogger Gooner said...

No, we have common sense James.

And some of us have been in law in one way or another for 16 years including solving serious assaults, defending people charged with it, and know a little about it. How many domestic incidents has Finlay attended?

Caveat to my initial post: I said a smack isn't assault. Technically it might be. Realistically it isn't.

6/20/2005 01:35:00 PM  
Blogger Lucyna said...

Nope a smack isn't an assult because, and here is where I whip out the dictionary again :

assult n. 1. A violent attack, either physical or verbal.

6/20/2005 01:45:00 PM  
Blogger Lucyna said...

Doh, can't spell assault.. has too many vowels, gets me just about every time.

6/20/2005 01:46:00 PM  
Blogger Gooner said...

Lucyna, assault is defined in section 2 crimes act. using that definition it may well be assault but there is more to it than just the elements of the offence as defined.

6/20/2005 02:12:00 PM  
Blogger Lucyna said...

Oh, I agree, Gooner. I was talking about the word itself, rather than the definition in law.

6/20/2005 02:16:00 PM  
Blogger Lucyna said...

And there were a couple more definitions of assault in the dictionary (like rape) that were irrelevant to smacking.

This is so bizzaire to me having to defend smacking in this way - I hardly ever use it. I've seen people around me use it for any little thing, which looks totally counterproductive to me. Even the going for the socket argument doesn't work with me, when the kids were babies I had socket protectors in every socket. I taught them "hot" by miming touching something and pretending getting burnt. I had a gate to the kitchen to keep them out while I was cooking so nothing happened to them. I mostly use my voice when they are doing something and try to be appropriate with the level of "wrongness". I try to use consequences as much as possible. I really hate having to smack, and sometimes when I feel I have to I can feel myself wanting to avoid it. Ok, rant over.

6/20/2005 02:26:00 PM  
Blogger Gooner said...

So now it's 'cut and paste' Finlay? How original and thoughtful his SST article is.

6/20/2005 02:58:00 PM  
Blogger Lucyna said...

Funny, huh, Gooner? At least it massaged it a little, it's not a complete lift.

6/20/2005 03:10:00 PM  
Blogger Lucyna said...

Ok, "it" was supposed to be "he", in that at least he massaged it a bit.

6/20/2005 03:10:00 PM  

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