Saturday, February 19, 2005

Violence, migration, violence: Saturday's stream of consciousness 

Is new wave of European migration about to hit Australian shores? (hat tip: Joseph G)
"It is not just Britons, fed up with overcrowding and poor weather, who look to another continent for a new life. Across the Channel, the Dutch middle classes are quitting clogged roads and street violence in numbers unheard of in living memory.

"Australia is a top destination for a wave of migration among educated Dutch people, sparked by racial strife and increasing unrest in the Netherlands. The murder of homosexual populist politician Pim Fortuyn and film-maker Theo van Gogh are seen as linked to the exodus. More people left Holland in 2003 than arrived."
Give me your scared, your middle classes,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
Escaping the wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the overcrowded, tempest-tost (or a least bad weather-tossed) to me
I lift my lamp beside the Sydney Harbour Bridge!
(with apologies to Emma Lazarus)

Indeed. But somebody forgot to tell the Brits and the Dutch just how dangerous Down Under really is - and I don't mean sharks, snakes and spiders, either:
"While the US is the murder capital of the world, Australia still has the worst prevalence of crime among 17 industrialised countries, according to a United Nations-sponsored survey... The 2000 International Crime Victims Survey used a telephone survey to assess the prevalence and incidence of crime in industrialised countries. About 30 per cent of Australians told researchers they had been victimised one or more times in 1999, compared with 26 per cent in England and Wales, 21 per cent in the US and 15 per cent in Japan."
Local stats suggest you're now more likely to get beaten up than have your wallet stolen: "Property crimes such as breaking and entering and vehicle theft traditionally accounted for much of Australian crime, but that is changing. There were 145,420 violent crimes in 1996. By 2002, the figure had grown to 198,722 – and 80 per cent were assaults."

The experts know what to blame: "Youth unemployment, alcohol and the active, mobile Australian lifestyle could be contributing factors to the violence, according to criminologists." But how about lead?
"Lead left in paint, water, soil and elsewhere may not only be affecting children's intelligence, but may also cause a significant proportion of violent crime, according to a US researcher."
Remember all the theories how the Roman Empire declined and eventually fell because the aristocracy got lead poisoning from using lead pipes and utensils? Well, maybe not, but is sounded pretty good at the time.

At least, you couldn't blame the fall of Rome on violent computer and TV shows games, although you can always blame them for today's real-life violence: "Children are more likely to act aggressively or feel upset after they have watched violent films or television programs. British scientists have also found that children who passively watched television were as likely to be distressed by violent images as those who played interactive computer games."

But there might be positive spin-offs, as James Dunnigan notes at "Strategy Page":
"For generations, troops spent hours playing cards with their buddies. Now, the favorite form of interaction is playing against another GI on a video game, or putting together a network and doing a multiplayer session of a violent video game. The army and marines even provide modified versions of commercial games for training purposes. The commercial games often depict incorrect combat procedures. The modified versions show how to do it right, and not make a mistake that could get you killed in combat."
So, at the end of our journey we come back to the beginning: Islamofascism and how to react. Some flee, some fight.


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