Justice is “the principle that punishment should be proportionate to the offence”. Well, that’s a dictionary definition anyway.
For many innocent victims of dangerous driving in South Australia, justice would seem to be a myth. In March last year, John Swindle was walking his dog when killed by a 17-year-old speeding along Saint Bernards Road, Magill. Under the effects of alcohol and cannabis, the P-plater panicked and fled.
In February, the Adelaide Youth Court spared the boy a jail term, instead handing down a suspended sentence, a $1,000 fine and a 10-year licence ban.
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The most terrifying moment of my life was about six years ago in broad daylight on a back street of Sydney’s inner-west when I was pushing my then baby daughter in the pram on a walk to the local shops.
We’d just turned a corner and were crossing the normally quiet street when a bloke in a souped-up Ford muscle car came fanging around the curve on the wrong side of the road, forcing me to yank the pram backwards with and jump on to the footpath.
As I did this I shouted “Hey!” at the top of my voice and waved a fist in his direction. He slammed on the brakes, reversed at speed, and pulled up right next to the pram. “Did you say something arsehole?” he asked.
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“If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.” - Abraham Maslow
I was driving through Sydney on Friday around midnight and found myself surrounded by cars filled with youngsters. I’ve never felt so conscious of my own space.
The drivers were like roosters standing over their nests: music pounding, windows down, making their presence felt. I glanced over at one or two of the drivers, their glares were nothing short of threatening. It was a distasteful blend of “I’m out on the town with the boys” and “If you stare at me again I’ll have you.”
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Congratulations hoons: you are officially the most annoying people in Australia, by a statistical mile. Almost half - yes, half - of all Australians believe dangerous or noisy driving is a problem in their neighbourhood, according to data published today.
At first it might seem staggering that 45.3 per cent of Australians say hooning is a problem in their neighbourhood but when you think about it, how surprising is it really? How often are phone conversations or the break-up line in Sex and The City drowned out by some tool gunning his Subaru down the street? And for every single person in the street who has settled in for the evening, the experience is exactly the same.
(While we’re at it can I add to that the guys noodling about on their Harleys, not just the bikies who have an excuse but the middle managers from accounting firms who take out the Chopper after a stressful day of Excel.)
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