ACCORDING TO the Paul Howes Rule it is a miracle this shaken Bunyip remains alive to report how policing is done these days in Victoria. Remember the union man’s narrow escape – how he wrote of attending gatherings of young leftists in Australia and was therefore lucky to have survived Anders Behring Breivik’s rampage in Norway? Well the Professor’s close call was even more of a heart-stopper: a mere two months ago and in the company of Double Bogey Daddy and Doctor Yowie, a round was played at Altona’s Kooringal Golf Club, which is no more than a mile or so from the Harrington Square Bookshop where an unknown assailant beat the owner into a coma.
We know about that attack because, almost three full days later, Victoria Police finally announced that a potential killer – the shop’s 62-year-old female owner remains in a coma – is out and about. The attack didn’t make the news until reporters collected Monday’s press releases for transcription, and it seems none of the newspapers is too upset about being kept in the dark by the state’s defenders of life, property and public safety.
One can understand official thinking, of course. If detectives had lucked out and caught the offender over the weekend there would have been no need for an announcement at all and the public would have been spared needless alarm. Better to keep these things neat and tidy and very low key, that’s the shot. Why, if citizens were to learn of crimes, there might be an outcry to see them solved! Worse, there could even be calls for more pro-active measures to get miscreants off the streets before they can beat additional matrons to a pulp.
Why Melbourne’s two newspapers accept this situation isn’t much of a mystery. Unless the attacker turns out to be a fellow driven mad by (a justified) fear of rising tides, The Age would regard a simple matter of attempted murder and terror in a quiet suburb to be beneath its dignity. And anyway, if people who live in Altona were worth writing for and about they would live in North Fitzroy. At the Herald Sun, as neither puppies nor footballers appear to have been involved, there would have been no reason to interrupt the serious business of making sure News Ltd.’s ballyhooed transition to the Digital Age does not extend to the publication of Andrew Bolt’s reader comments.
The Billabong is at least seven speed-cameras distant from the scene of the crime, so there will be no lost sleep. In Altona, though, residents are right to worry, not only about a maniac being on the loose but also because no one seems to think them worth of the effort of warning.