Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Sixteen hours of misery


I don’t want to diminish the agony and anxiety of those who were locked up in Sydney’s Lindt Café for the other day. It was a terrible day for them and for so many who were affected by one sad, mad man’s actions and threats.

The immediate outpouring of floral tributes at Martin Place testifies to the widespread empathy of the Australian public for the victims of the crime. The horror of the situation has been felt by vast numbers. The moving hashtag #illwalkwithyou has been picked by people all over the world who want to work against any possible racial and ethnic hatred. 

So it is appropriate that NZ should “review” the anti-terrorism laws it has only just recently rushed through the parliamentary process. Perhaps there is more we can do to try to prevent random as well as carefully planned acts that can do so much damage. Parliament has a duty to our people to see that they are protected to the greatest possible extent from such catastrophies.

But it is a little ironic that we respond so dramatically to a 16 hour ordeal and two or three deaths when we still require hundreds of our dying citizens to suffer days, weeks or more of pain, indignity, frustration, loss of connection and quality of life because a well-drafted End of Life Choice bill may not get onto the parliamentary agenda.

The terminally ill do not get the kind of publicity given to the Lindt Café affair. Indeed, they don’t seek it. But they deserve at least the opportunity for the issue to be discussed in parliament. 

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