The fallout from Monday's city shootings continues. While the gunman surrendered following hours of 'delicate' negotiations between his lawyer and police - designed to assure he would 'not be harmed' - one of the men he shot, a Dutch backpacking chef, remains gravely ill in hospital:
Mr De Waard, 24, was just days from returning to his Dutch home town of Middelburg after a 12-month surfing safari in Australia. Mr De Waard is in an induced coma at the Royal Melbourne Hospital where his condition is listed as serious but stable. ... It has been a tragic end to the trip of a lifetime for the fun-loving chef. ... He had worked as a cook and waiter as he travelled the country chasing waves and was in Melbourne only a few days before the shooting.
Immediately after the shooting, Mr De Waard was given assistance by yet another good samaritan:
Ms McGowan said she felt helpless as she held Mr De Waard, but wanted to do all she could to help the severely wounded man. "I didn't want him to die and if he did I didn't want him dying alone," she said. "I was holding his hand and had him in my arms. I told him my name and I said 'What's your name?' and I was giving him cuddles. He said his chest was sore and I saw all the blood coming out so I put my jacket there to stop the blood. I just told him to look into my eyes to keep him focused because I think he was about to pass out." Ms McGowan said Mr De Waard asked her to stay with him until paramedics arrived. "I said 'Do you want me to stay with you' and he said 'Yes'," she said.
Prayers, please. Meanwhile, letter-writing Melburnians are sick and tired of King Street detritus trashing the city (no link available):
The King Street nightclub scene is a cesspool of drugs, drunkenness and violence. Unless something is done to clean it up, similar violence will happen again.
- Elizabeth Hare, Clayton.
Melbourne’s nightspots are notorious troublespots. Close them down.
- Constance E. Little, Eagle Point.
Hear, hear. The Age’s John Silvester further illuminates links between the nightclubs and crime:
Hudson was also a suspect in NSW for assault and 40 fraud-related offences. Police believe the simmering feud between the Hells Angels and the Finks relates to control of the growing market for drugs on the Gold Coast nightclub strip. Hudson was recruited by the Angels because of his links to local nightspots. He has strong connections with bikie chapters in Queensland, Sydney and Melbourne, and is closely associated with a group of bikies involved in attempts to pervert the course of justice and intimidate witnesses.
We already know that he should have been off the streets. But these guys aren't just hanging out in the nightspots. They're buying them:
Police say bikies and their known associates have invested in hotels and nightclubs, and have run strippers and illegal prostitutes around Australia.They claim a group of bikies has tried to buy a legal brothel using friends with no criminal records to establish a Trojan-horse front. Outlaw motorcycle gangs in Australia have a history of killing innocent bystanders who stumble into their wars.
All of which should have police command seriously concerned. So let's hear what the Police Commissioner of Victoria had to say less than 24 hours after the shootings:
"I think this is not about violence in King Street. I think to suggest that this is related to the nightclub industry as a whole is not right. This is a matter that appears to be a domestic incident in a sense," Ms Nixon said.
To say that the Police Commissioner is in denial would be generous. And what is ‘in a sense’ supposed to mean apart from providing a murky distraction from the obvious truth that nightclubs are a nasty, brutish stain on the city? A thug kills a father of three and serious wounds a Dutch backpacking 24 year old chef and it's a domestic?
Anyone reading the Police Commissioner's comments - ill-advised at best, absurdly irresponsible at worst - could be forgiven if a number of words of nine letters or more and starting with the letter ‘c’ come to mind.
'Credibility’ would not be one of them.