Thursday, May 13, 2010

Postcards from New Zealand: Day Sixty

Today, the cover story in the New Zealand Herald was about the gang-related "assault" of a four-year-old boy on the playground.* If, however, you actually read the article, you found that the assault consisted of a man taunting the child for wearing a red shirt, then poking him and pulling the shirt off. Now, I am not condoning this behavior, but is it really assault? This label strikes me more as a diagnosis for this country's particular hysteria; in the states, it would be headlined as child molestation or attempted kidnapping. The mayor was quoted as saying, "Gang colours are part of life in any town in New Zealand," which is the most absurd thing I've ever heard. A local mother, the paper stated, stopped dressing her two children (3 and 5) in red, "After she heard of an 80-year-old woman being abused for the colour of her jersey in downtown Whakatane." What?!

*Article here.

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