After the incident in Bourke street, the usual hero narrative has emerged and praise has been bestowed on an individual named Trolleyman:
“Police have confirmed they have spoken to the man with a shopping trolley who rushed forward to subdue a knife-wielding attacker in Melbourne. Police Commissioner Graham Ashton said authorities had spoken to the heroic individual, dubbed, “trolley man”, but warned the public not to get involved in situations like the Bourke Street attack.
“Look, you just have to be a bit careful about — in that situation how close you do get — because he could have been injured himself,” Mr Ashton told Weekend Today on Saturday morning.
“But certainly he was acting in the spur of the moment and looking to support the police.
“There was a number of people that did that and we are always grateful when the community are supporting our police members. Again, we just to be careful in the way that we do that.”
As was said before, kudos to Trolleyman. An easy sweep to the left or right reveals a swathe of bystanders with phones out or in general indifference. He made the choice to intervene and while his effectiveness may be validly questioned, he had a go when others wouldn’t and people’s lives were on the line. Sure, you can always weigh up the risk of intervening vs not, but that’s an entirely different discussion.
I think the possibility of being killed is a pretty good motivator, wouldn’t you think?
However, not so much that the fact Trolleyman intervened, it was that he was forced to use an unreliable piece of metal on wheels as his only option. We also saw Baseball Bat Man at the previous Bourke Street incident.
Sure, the saying “you don’t go to war with the tools you wish you had, you go to war with the tools you have” is true. However, in Australia you don’t even get that wish. Preparing for self-defence could end you a spell in jail.
It’s the fact that Trolleyman, and the other victims tragically attacked, were consigned to exactly that fate which is the sticking point. Knife encounters are extremely dangerous and if you’re not familiar with the 21 foot rule (aka the Tueller Drill) then you should be:
Police ultimately took him out. Sure, they put themselves in harm’s way to resolve the situation, they’re paid public servants who signed up for the role. Seconds count though and they turned up too late to help the other three victims.
Trained citizens can also assist Police:
“A licensed gun owner was hailed Thursday for his role in helping police in suburban Chicago stop a suspect who was firing a weapon, officials said.
Officials commended the unnamed civilian for his actions as they stood outside a hospital where Cicero police Officer Luis Duarte, 31, was undergoing surgery for four gunshot wounds suffered during the shootout, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.
“We were lucky enough to have a citizen on the street there’s who’s a concealed-carry holder, and he’s also engaged in gunfire,” said Cicero police Superintendent Jerry Chlada Jr.”
It’s not the government’s job to keep you safe, that’s your responsibility. Australians generally don’t like to hear that for some reason, be it part indoctrination and part hangovers of the old convict mentality the country is indentured with. But that’s the reality of it.
When you have 45 Senators voting against non-lethal self defence options being made available to the public, while retaining tax payer funded armed security, the problem goes deeper.
The first responder to any violent crime is always the victim and it’s not what the assailant has it’s what the intended victim(s) can do about it, that matters more. That’s where the cultural shift needs to be, not this endless screaming about America and Port Arthur.
As we will continue to say, the right to self-defence is irrelevant without the practical means to it. There is currently no choice in Australia, other than be a victim or be a victim.
Practical self-defence options need to be on the table now. Not more Police, not more laws, not more bollards, not more ridiculously intrusive and expensive government national security infrastructure and not more lip service from self-interested politicians and arse-covering Police Commissioners. And not more of someone else’s responsibility.
Self-defence is supposed to be about ending the threat, not a gentlemanly exchange or a version of the waiting game akin to Russian Roulette. Take a leaf out of the Czech Republic’s book.
The right to self-defence is universal but it seems Australia is in a universe of it’s own.