And something, therefore, shall be done.
Some complete and utter idiot stuck pins into strawberries somewhere between the farm and the supermarkets in Australia a week or so ago.
Because the idiocy is contagious, there then followed a spate of copycat cases and other soft fruit was tampered with, presumably by other parties.
The culprits and their motivation have yet to be identified but significant police resources have been mobilised to apprehend them and throw the full force of the criminal law against them.
“Fair enough”, one might think, “a bad actor commits a crime that deliberately risks bodily harm of others. There’s definitely a law against that with a penalty to fit the crime. Let the police get on with their job and let justice be done”.
Except it’s never that simple in Australian politics.
No, in Australia when something bad happens at a state or federal level, a brave and decisive politician must rush to the nearest phone booth (increasingly harder to find these days), make a rapid change of clothes and emerge, Superman-esque, and announce plans to change or write new law.
And that’s precisely what This Month’s Prime Minister ™ has done;
Ten years in the clink isn’t enough disincentive to not tamper with people’s food, so we’ll make it 15 years.
This prompts just a couple of questions from curious minds such as ours;
1. How many cases of deliberate food contamination do we think an extra 5 years in jail will prevent? ie will those extra potential years of incarceration be a factor in the mind of a person who has decided to bring needles to work and deliberately stick them in to soft fruit?
2. Will the legislation go against Common Law precedent and be retrospective, or will the current culprits not be subject to the new penalties?
3. How long will it take for this legislative change to be made and will it be in time to be applied in the prosecution of the current culprits?
There are two ways of looking at this lunacy.
The first and most obvious way to view this is that it is pathetic virtue signalling that will have absolutely no effect, positive or negative, on the current spate of crimes. It’s an incredible piece of Dunning Krugerism by the government to think that, after 803 years of Common Law, suitable legislation doesn’t already exist to cover a situation of deliberate bodily harm.
But let’s ponder more on the situation; consider how much time and resources will be expended to plan this change of law, announce it to the press, have the legal team draft the new legislation, plan the parliamentary time to debate it, sign the legislation and communicate the change to the judiciary.
Now consider what that big parliamentary machine could be doing instead. It could be employed to create far more intrusive laws in areas that would actually impact the general population, ie, the people who wouldn’t stuff needles into fruit. Laws like a tax on energy production, or to force bakeries to bake cakes for same sex marriages, etc.
No, as daft as This Month’s Prime Minister’s idea is, it’s far better that he and his team are spending their time amending previously adequate laws rather than imposing their incompetency into other areas of public life.
Please, carry on!