We have a highly trained and well paid police force …

Comment on Briscoe inquest: Alcohol’s ‘flotsam and jetsam’ forever a burden on police? by Hal Duell.

We have a highly trained and well paid police force operating in the NT. And what do we ask them to do? We ask them to babysit cranky, sloppy drunks, drunks who are often so far gone in their alcoholic stupors that they foul themselves as they stumble down the street.
What those taken into protective custody make of the holding cells doesn’t bear thinking about. And when a member of the police in a once-in-a-blue-moon moment turns his or her back in disgust, and someone dies from alcoholic poisoning while in custody, we turn on the police instead of addressing our own failure.
No one chases death in a bottle in isolation. No one gets to the point that they can return a blood alcohol level seven times the legal limit without prior form. And if the families and the peer groups and the community at large cannot prevent the slow suicide of chronic alcoholism, it is unrealistic and escapist to blame the police when the inevitable happens.
Yes, hold the police to account and insist that they accept responsibility for their actions and inactions. But equally, hold the public to account and insist that they also accept responsibility for their actions and inaction.
To do any less is simply dishonest.
We are all responsible for Kumanji Briscoe’s death.

Hal Duell Also Commented

Briscoe inquest: Alcohol’s ‘flotsam and jetsam’ forever a burden on police?
One man died while in police custody, and while drunk to the extent of being 7 (?) times over the legal limit. In this specific case, two parties share responsibility: The NT Police and the man’s family.
The first because on the night a man died, he was in custody and under the care of the police. There’s no getting around that responsibility.
The second because for 32 years (I’ve also read 27), the deceased was under the care of his family, and somehow his life was allowed to deteriorate to the point where he drank himself to death. There is no getting around that responsibility, either.
Away from the specifics of this tragedy, two points stand out.
There can be no doubt that the NT Police deserve the highest commendation for professional restraint in the face of constant alcohol-fuelled aggression. The wonder is not that this happened, but that it doesn’t happen regularly.
Also, it boggles the mind that there can be a politician on either a local or Territory level not advocating for at least one day a week with no take-away grog sales.
I hope the bereaved family does not sue the NT Police. If they do, I wonder how the police would fare lodging a countersuit naming the family as equally responsible.
I also hope there is an immediate and independent inquiry into alcohol sales and restrictions in the NT. Without turning down the tap we are asking the impossible of the police.
But until that happens, let the police maintain their presence around the alcohol outlets in Alice Springs and continue to patrol known drinking spots. Let them continue to tip out illegally held grog and continue to take off the streets those who threaten safe urban life.
And let us continue to support and respect the NT Police. Can you imagine life in Alice without them?


Recent Comments by Hal Duell

The gallery drama: Will there be a happy ending?
There is something profoundly sad about taking the idea of a National Indigenous Art Gallery and using it to increase the sale of trashy, probably China-sourced tourist baubles (and short-blacks).
There is emerging an impression that this whole issue has degenerated into an exercise in political clickbait. Not real pretty at all!


Torrent of toxic Facebook posts after Mall melee
Mr Gunner would do well to remember that the last NT Chief Minister to lose control of the streets in Alice was Martin, and the Intervention followed. Turnbull might have a smoother smile, but he is cast in the same mold.
And Where’s Warren will again wring his hands and cry shame, but the only shame is that he is still there. Go Jacinta! I don’t know if you will be any more effective, but remember this: You cannot do worse.
Also, consider this: There has recently been a national Angst over all the kids in detention in the NT being Indigenous, but then think how many priors each of those kids had to have had before they finally earned detention.
CM Gunner’s answer to the collapse of Alice seems to be to ignore the clearly stated preference of the majority regarding the art gallery and to work with them, but to instead indulge in a swinging big-dick moment. He wants to get real while there is still an Alice to get real over.
And the TOs and their families and friends? To be honest, I think they are scared of their own children. Or perhaps they are scared of each other.
Either way, they sure as hell aren’t doing anything.


Some creatures in The Centre used to be big
So glad the Ducks of Doom feature. As soon as I get back to Alice I will visit.


At last, public will get a say on Anzac Oval: Town Council
It will be interesting to see if the results of Council’s survey are similar to those published today by our local print newspaper.
Over a two week period it conducted an online poll asking residents of Alice what they thought of plans to use Anzac Oval for an art gallery. The results are unambiguous: From a total of 988 votes, 32.4% said it was a good idea and 67.6% said it wasn’t.
As for the old high school, over to you, Alex Nelson.


Aboriginal-led ‘from the bottom up’: cultural centre
A National Indigenous Cultural Centre is arguably so much more important, nationally, locally, and indigenously(?), than another art gallery. I imagine it would include an important and pertinent section on the birth and development of the Central Australian art movement. This last point alone would obviate the need for a National Indigenous Art Gallery, especially given that all major cities and most of the smaller ones already have their own collection of Indigenous art.
As an aside, do we really imagine that the cities, both large and small, will strip out their own collections to further a gallery in Alice Springs? Will the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory be sending its rare and priceless collection south to Alice? Of course they won’t.
And for a National Indigenous Cultural Centre to be led and directed by local Indigenous voices, in consultation with other Indigenous voices from around Australia, is only right. Their culture, their land, their choice. Hopefully Gunner and Co will, this time, listen and learn.


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