Friday, August 14, 2009


Texting and talking on cellphones while driving? It’s
stupid and dangerous; people have already died
meaningless deaths because of it. One thinks of the
Ashburton couple wiped out on their wedding
anniversary by a young man too busy texting to see
their car in front of him. So a government can and
should and will try to stop people from doing such
stupid and dangerous things. It’s obvious. In the past
few days another woman has been murdered in her
home and two more infants have been assaulted, one
fatally. Domestic violence is stupid and dangerous.
Child abuse is stupid and dangerous. Yet 185 places on
job training programs for at-risk young people are no
longer considered affordable
, and the country's main
literacy umbrella group, Literacy Aotearoa, has just lost
all its funding
for community classes throughout the
country helping 414 learners. That’s quite apart from
the controversial cuts to adult & community education.
Illiteracy, unemployment, lack of social and self-esteem
—all are core factors in domestic violence and child
abuse. The connection is plain to see. It’s obvious. But
not, apparently, as obvious as the causes of car crashes.
Now why is that? Why do policy-makers find it so much
easier to tackle the road toll than the far more dreadful
toll of lives ended or ruined by violence and abuse?
Could be—and this is just a random theory of mine—that
the causes of the latter are so embedded in the social
paradigm by which we live, so bound up with the norms
of power by which we are ruled, that for most male
politicians it's just too much fucking bother—especially
when there are more important things to worry about,
like money markets and motorway extensions.

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