H L Mencken
In a campaign spearheaded by politicians and lovingly supported by such journalistic luminaries as The West Australian and The Sunday Times, the West Australian police have announced a 'Dob in a Bikie' Day.
That's correct. We're not talking about Nazi Germany or The Axis of Evil, it's just bikies and everyone hates them anyway, according to the West. So it's okay. Let's all pick up the phone and dob the bastards in.
“We don’t want to know who you are, we just want to know what you know about bikies, their activities, their friends and associates,” Assistant Police Commissioner Wayne Gregson said.
“Even something as innocuous as car or motorcycle registration numbers, bikies’ colours (patches) and their places of employment could all make a difference.”
So we can now dob in anyone wearing a dishrag on their jacket for driving a car, riding a motorcycle or having a job.
Does anyone else find this frightening?
Does anyone else find even scarier the fact that police already have the names, addresses and bike rego numbers of most bikies in the state - but now they want us to join in?
A print and radio advertising campaign, encouraging the public to "phone in a bikie'', will be used, rather than the words "dob-in''. So if we pick up the phone as part of our West Australian civic duty, we won't actually be 'dobbing', because market research has discovered that this is seen as being 'Un-Australian' and we are not un-Australian, just West Australian.
I like the word 'dob'. Lets call it what it is.
WA's Police Minister Rob ("Does my face look thin in this?") Johnson says bikies have been fooling the public into believing they are members of a social club, when in fact they belong to highly organised and sophisticated criminal organisations. (ABC local)
Much attention has been paid to the outlaw clubs' appetite for organised crime but an Australian outlaw motorcycle club has never actually been successfully prosecuted under organised crime laws. Most bikies will state that individuals may commit crimes but not under the banner of the club they belong to.
If this is not the case and the police argue otherwise, then Detective Sergeant David Caphorn, Don Hancock, Roger Rogerson, those two West Australian policemen charged with a sex attack during the Victorian bushfires and Detective Sergeant Shervill are all participants in a criminal organisation, having used their position within an organised structure to (allegedly) commit rape, murder, withholding evidence or just plainclothes covering it up.
Stylistically, the police and outlaw motorcycle clubs have a few things in common. They are groups with a rigid structure of rank and a militant ethos, albeit an opposing ideology and a mutual dislike. "They have become natural enemies, to the point clubs regard the police as a gang, driven by the same motives as any other gang - power and domination," writes Arthur Veno in The Brotherhood.
This is a digression really, an interesting one but I'm not going there today.
Check out the Criminal Investigation (Exceptional Powers) and Fortification Removal Act, 2002. There was little outcry from West Australians when that doozie went through, thanks to a rabid scary-bikies campaign by the only newspaper in town.
Some of these laws revoke the right to silence, the right to privilige against self-incrimination and provides police with powers to enter a premises without a warrant and to photograph, search and detain for questioning anyone found there.
There's still a Sedition legislation festering in the law archives, thanks to scary-terrorists. As far as I know, that one hasn't been repealed with the changing of the guard.
It took a media and public groundswell to help politicians pass these acts, acts that affect every single one of us. They are not passed in secret.
It makes me terribly sad to think that we are so bovine as to let an insidious little monstrocity such as 'Dob in a Bikie Day' slide by, without throwing ourselves on the floor and screaming until we turn blue. Are we so well trained by the media's cattle prod to accept these undignified transgressions of our own society?