Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Under threat

I was driving home from work at about 9pm. Two lanes of traffic mostly turn right into Dandenong Road from Wattletree Road. I was in the right hand lane.



A not too dark slim African heritage youth walked across the crossing in front of me yelling at the top of his voice, 'why won't anyone help me'. That he looked dirty and wasted was perhaps a reason.

I locked my doors when he stopped about four metres past the front of my car. He looked back at me or perhaps the car next to me. He was looking hard at me or us and still yelling and he began to walk back towards us. Against the red light, I swung left into Dandenong Road and made a U turn at Kooyong Road to get home. The car to the left of me followed me against the red light. I don't know if there were other cars behind us or what they did.

I am not normally given to bad language or so easily spooked. I have in my job dealt with many scary people over nearly four decades, but to feel under threat on my way home from work in a well to do suburb was fucking horrible shit. There is something seriously going wrong in Melbourne and I will whistle and point, immigration numbers. We need to be able to care for immigrants, not just import them willy nilly and dump them in our poorest suburbs and allow them to become petty criminals.

While there have been a couple of uncomfortable incidents when I have been out and about, never have I felt fearful in advance like I did last night.

36 comments:

  1. Andrew there are a lot of immigrants in Europe too and I believe you did not feel safe..

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    1. Which is a sad state of affairs, Gosia.

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  2. Anonymous8:03 am

    The description sounds like someone with mental health issues.

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    1. Anon, I should think combined with some substance abuse.

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  3. Echoing anonymous here. And we don't deal well, or compassionately with mental health issues here. For immigrants or anyone else.

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    1. Quite true, EC. Was it better in days of old? Probably not, but more contained.

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  4. Andrew

    Last night we were talking about the decades when children used to return home from school by tram, played on the streets until their parents came home from work, then were called inside for dinner. No sane family would do that today... everyone is anxious about the lunatics and the crims out there :(

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    1. Hels, we are probably needlessly anxious if odds are counted, but who wants to play with odds. I said to nearly ten year Little Jo last time she was here, You would be able to catch the tram on your own now to the city, as you have done with us so many times. She emphatically said she couldn't, not that anyone would allow her to.

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  5. This is sad Andrew. Sad that you felt threatened and sad for the man who isn't getting the help he needs. He seems only one step away from committing a crime to get the attention he needs and then it will be the wrong attention. Police and cells instead of (maybe) doctors and psychologists, whatever other counsellors he may need to help him get settled and learn to manage.

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    1. River, our systems seem broken at the moment and at times I feel such despair for our future, but me wringing my hands won't fix anything.

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  6. One of the many problems is these immigrants often have a trauma background, and as we all know, our mental health system is failing. More and more people are falling through the cracks or just not getting any assistance at all. Waiting lists are extensive for those who do seek out assistance, and often people crack before they get what they require.

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    1. Fen, we never seem to get mental healthcare even close to right. Remember the CAD or CAT teams? Do they still operate? It is when the cracking happens that suddenly brings a focus back to mental health, for a day or so.

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  7. I don't blame you at all for being spooked. I'm not one who is easily spooked, but that would've concerned me; and I would've reacted similarly.

    There are too many idiots roaming around these days, with God only knows what in their system. You have no idea what they're capable of doing.

    The Bourke Street tragic event an example we should not have had to deal with...ever...but there it is...sadly..,it happened, and innocent lives were lost and damaged in one way or the other for ever more,

    Hang on, we do know what they're capable of because we see, hear and read proof of that every day of the week!

    (I responded to your further comment in your previous post, too).

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    1. Lee, I have a bit more to say about Bourke Street in a yet to be written post. I don't want to feel at risk in my city.

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  8. Fen is right. All last year I struggled with depression but refused to resort to any more pills and professional help, not on my pension. The Government won't help these people, they're leaving it to volunteer organizations and expecting them to pull money out of thin air. If you add up all the travel rorts that have come to light this year, how many people would have had the treatment they needed, or a bed for the night or a hot meal. Canberra is the home of feral pigs and they need a much bigger fright than you had to come back to the real world. And then there's our idiot laws where if that man had run at you and you had hit him because you couldn't do anything else but hit him, you would be up on charges but be happy that all your loyal readers would have chipped in for the bail money.

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    1. Jah Teh, at least the 'current crime wave' is affecting all stratas of society and not just the less well off. After last week, I probably wouldn't get bail!

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    2. darling Copperwitch I am so sorry you have been struggling. Your posts are always a delight with humour and optimism overlaying whatever challenge is underneath your unique and joyful phraseology. We all wish you could post more. love and encouragement from me.

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  9. Anonymous3:46 pm

    I know this will sound self righteous and nauseating and I admit I don't do nearly enough volunteer work myself but unless we ordinary people (nicely) drag immigrants into our everyday lives, they won't really become Australians. The volunteer agencies do a really good grass roots job, especially St Vincent de Paul (I hastily add that I am an atheist.) There are opportunities where I am (WA) to be a volunteer English Language tutor for refugees through TAFE. It's more difficult to befriend migrants/refugees these days than 50 years ago because usually now we aren't the same religion (still an atheist), but I think if we rely on government agencies and don't stretch ourselves to get personally involved, in 30 years things will be much worse. I don't really know what to say about the drugs - my fairly ignorant opinion is that if children are safe, busy and involved in their family and community there would be fewer who turn to drugs. Now I've embarrassed myself for advocating dogoodery, sorry.

    Cheers Marie

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    1. Thanks Marie. You are pretty well correct about children in my thinking. Nothing can beat a happy family group where the children are brought up with love and limits. I too once taught English through a small organisation to a Polish couple. They kindly invited me to their citizenship ceremony. As for the immigrants, it is the numbers that are the problem. Like all immigrants they gravitate together which is quite natural, but if there are fewer from the same countries, they will integrate into Australian society much more quickly. And I don't believe integration is a bad word or idea, as some seem to.

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  10. Well that's certainly not good that you felt that way, and I'm very sure I would have in the same situation too.
    None of us should have to drive home wondering if we are going to be attacked or whatever.
    Let's hope you don't encounter this again.

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    1. Margaret, people in Melbourne are very jumpy after last week. I don't know if I would have reacted in the same way before then.

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  11. sympathy from me. very wise of you and the other drivers who took the red light risk as safer than the risk of actually stopping for a person who may have had a machete and been on methamphetamine. This country is just another State of the USA now. stay safe.

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    1. Annie, cause and effect or chicken and egg. How would it be if our police did not carry guns as they don't in Britain. Perhaps we need to look to Britain for policing rather than the US.

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    2. I think a machete would have been noticeable, they're quite large and seeing one being carried by such a person is enough reason to call the police.

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  12. That was an awful situation for you ! But I think so too and am quite happy that at least in the little Belgium they try to integrate the refugees as much as possible, they have got a good lesson with the attacks here on the tube and the airport.

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    1. I don't know Gattina. Molenbeek and Borgerhout don't look too great. Would you like to live in either place? Is Belgium anymore successful than anywhere else at integrating immigrants?

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  13. Sorry I don't want to accuse the poor refugees I mean immigrants in general !

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  14. I'm not surprised that Melbournians are a wee bit on edge Andrew, and your experience sounds horrible! I'm glad you were in the car and not face to face!

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    1. So was I Grace, so was I.

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  15. That's a really hard situation. There certainly is a 'youth crimewave' in Melbourne at present, and so many carjackings that you were right to be cautious. It's awful to think he might have been a genuine guy in need of help, but I think I would have done the same thing.

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    1. Jackie, mental illness or drugs, regardless, he did need help but I couldn't see anyone else than a professional helping him, after he had some cool down time.

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  16. We are under fire here. A Trump executive order defunds all sanctuary city and states, and Oregon is a sanctuary state, made so by law in 1987. Since then many cities and counties in Oregon have followed suite. the counties have done so for financial reasons. Having to hold illegal immigrants, accused of non violent crimes, in jail, until ICE comes to fetch them, is costly to counties. Anyhow, with this executive order, and Oregon's governor saying they will defy it, as have many cities, it means a cut off of federal funds, which can include housing grants to housing authorities. I have a housing grant and I have been worried sick all day, since hearing of the executive order last night, that I will soon be without housing. I do not know why Oregon as a state would choose to harbor immigrants who came here illegally.

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    1. ICE? Indeed why does Oregon host such people? Publically here, or privately if you like, but I would like to understand what the housing grant is. Oregon pays it but for who, and how much?

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  17. ICE stands for Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Their agents are the ones who hold undocumented aliens, and pick them up from local law, to hold until deportation hearings. HUD is a cabinet level position in the federal government and stands for Housing and Urban Development. It issues grants to local housing authorities, which usually cover one or two counties in a state, to use to build and manage affordable housing or issue vouchers, known as section 8, to people living under the federal poverty guidelines, for them to use to get housing. With a section 8 voucher one must find a landlord willing to take the voucher, which means the landlord's unit must be maintained and within the voucher limit. The landlord then gets his rent from HUD, and the voucher holder pays one third or so, of his or her income to the landlord in rent. Vouchers have limits based on average rent in the area. If you are single, the allowed rent, when you are looking for a place is quite low, just over $500, nearly impossible to find now. That's why I rent from my brother. This place where I live would go for 3 times what he rents it to me for, under HUD, but he does so so I have a place to live. He would not kick me out should I lose the HUD voucher, but I would not then have enough to pay utilities and he couldn't save for the yearly taxes on the place. the electric bill alone for this last month, due to all the ice and snow, was over $350, which is half my monthly income. I borrowed money to pay it.

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    1. Very interesting, Strayer. Was this a Reagan initiative? $350 sounds like an awful lot for one person's electricity, and I am sure you are careful in your usage.

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    2. It's very high, but then we had a month of very very cold weather. And our electricity in this region is not cheap, although with all the hydro and wind power at our disposal, you would think it would be, but much of the hydro generated power is sold to California

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