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Michael Laws Appreciation Society

July 19, 2010

Looking Sharp

Michael Laws latest is one of his best in quite some time. While what he says is almost always wrong, I have come to admire and respect the way in which he argues. His columns used to simply irritate me, but I now believe they are the most entertaining thing in the Sunday Star Times.

This week’s column is about the shooting this week of some police officers and their dog. Laws’ argument that criminals are getting worse and the police now need guns to deal with them is asserted without any reference to statistics or facts, which is quite a ballsy way to argue. Given that he provides no evidence to support his case there’s not much point arguing with it. Instead I’d like to draw attention to some of his stylistic achievements.

…there are too many bad people these days. Evil has found us. Be they created by negligent or narcissist parenting, by drink or methamphetamine, by avarice or the anti-social malaise, we are now a country fearful of the dark. And fearful of people and places that we don’t know.

Nice alliteration, and good list of bogeymen to build the mood.

We are in the most violent times since the Maori Wars.

The comparison of violent crime to native people’s resistance to colonial invaders is something that would never occur to lesser writers.

The police know differently. They deal with our scum, our detritus, our drifters, the desperate and dangerous, every day. Whenever I’m tempted to judgement regards the sometimes bizarre antics of the thin blue line, I remember that I don’t know, that I can’t possibly appreciate, what it is to the see the worst of humanity every day. And how corrosive that must be to the soul.

More alliteration! I like the “forgive the police for everything because the bad guys are so evil” angle too, since it deals with silly civil rights/police brutality objections in one swift blow without explicitly having to mention them.

…even in deepest, darkest South Auckland, we demand police to patrol without firearms.

It’s hard to believe that someone could write this non-ironically, but Laws manages to have it double as ironic wit and “stick it to the PC brigade” truth-telling depending on the reader. Excellent.

Now even our police commissioner, the broad Howard, is conceding that the Police Association may just be right. Although he is still trapped within his headquarters’ political correctness. The outgoing Broad is promising a new arms policy by Christmas. He should be promising arms. Full stop.

What I get from this is that Michael Laws is mocking the police commisioner for being [a?] broad. In a transcendent pun on the poor man’s name, we get overtones of both fat jokes and the legendary “girlie man” hammer blow. Really great. Oh and notice how even though the beat police are perfect the headquarters is PC central.

I already had concerns for the police and their physical ability to protect themselves.

They are like the under-80kg rugby grade – a special preserve for skinny white boys and girls who can’t foot it with the bigger behemoths.

More well-veiled racism: those poor civilized white-boy police having to play against the big Polynesian crims!

The benign days of civil criminality are long gone.

Those easy days where all the crime was controlled by friendly mobsters like Fat Tony…

They are emboldened by the seeming feebleness of the police and the knowledge that we insist that our thin blue line observes etiquette and pacifism at every turn.

No more. Arm the police, properly, and be done with it. Give them the tools to do their job and to keep themselves safe. And us.

In Michael Laws’ perfect world armed police will take it to the evildoers and blast their uncivil brains out. Just look at the USA!

6 Comments leave one →
  1. BillyBob permalink
    July 19, 2010 12:18 am

    So you point out Michael Laws’ use of stereotypes and fear-mongering, and then end the essay with “Just look at the USA!”. Nice.

  2. July 19, 2010 12:22 am

    Thanks! I learned from the master. Maybe I should just have said something like “in many countries police use guns a lot more than New Zealand, yet their violent crime rates are more/same/less than ours [reference 1, reference 2]. Perhaps there are better ways to deal with crime than to arm police”. But that’s way less fun isn’t it?

  3. NoMeatSpinZone permalink
    July 19, 2010 12:35 am

    New Zealand has a fantastic tendency to recreate foreign phenomena, but in far less dramatic ways – a quantification of the Tall Poppy Syndrome ?

    Michael Laws is simply our version of Bill O’Reilly.


  4. Ned Gilmore permalink
    July 19, 2010 2:49 am

    Yeah Giles I have to agree. He writes well, and he fills that important little of ‘crazy guy who if they start making sense you know something is really wrong with the world/you.

  5. Thomas Jacques permalink
    July 19, 2010 12:36 pm

    Oh dear, not again. I’d be able to find this a lot more amusing if he wasn’t still mayor of my home town.

  6. July 19, 2010 5:54 pm

    At least Laws won’t run for Whanganui mayoralty this year!

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