The Paua Palace

My royal blog, life, opinions and me, it’s all about ME.. Right?

Definition of a Victim

Posted by pauaprincess on September 27, 2007

Last night in Christchurch, a man involved in a family violence incident, armed with a hammer, he smashed up a home and when Police arrived he was smashing up a car.  A warning was given that armed Police were there, the man continued to make threats to Police and was shot.  That’s the bare bones of the story so far.  No doubt more will come out and the Press with their usual relish will interview everyone who ever came into contact with him, including the man who served him at the local shop.

Except he is already being labeled a victim, the 21st victim shot by Police.  Is he?

I guess by strict definition of the word he is: Victim, noun

1. One who is harmed or killed by another: a victim of a mugging.

2. A living creature slain and offered as a sacrifice during a religious rite.

3. One who is harmed by or made to suffer from an act, circumstance, agency, or condition: victims of war.

4. A person who suffers injury, loss, or death as a result of a voluntary undertaking: You are a victim of your own scheming.

5. A person who is tricked, swindled, or taken advantage of: the victim of a cruel hoax.

Personally I tend to subscribe to the view that victims are people who through no fault of their own, are harmed, killed or otherwise afflicted.  Using the word victim to describe someone who with weapon in hand, threatens the life or well being of an armed Police Officer, seems to give the offender some avoidance of responsibility card.

I wonder how long it will be before the friends and relatives come out of the woodwork to say their piece.  Till someone says, ‘they didn’t have to kill him, they could have just shot the hammer out of his hand.’ or as with Steven Wallace, “Police shot an unarmed man”, conveniently ignoring that a hammer, golf club or baseball bat are weapons used quite often to inflict injury/death on members of the public, and that Police Officers have been killed with less, for example Constable Murray Stretch, a Police Officer in Mangakino who was beaten to death by an offender.  In NZ Police history 26 Police Officers have been killed while on duty.

While I agree that Police should be accountable for their actions and it is in the public interest to scrutinize such occurrences.  I dislike the trial by media process that is the current attitude of the media.  Police don’t get the luxury of hindsight, they act for the public good with moments to formulate their plan. The media never portray an innocent until proven guilty bias for Police, their actions are condemned from the outset and the media freely whip up a fever of public outrage.

It’s only in recent days the public have begun to strike back, outright telling the media to back off in the your views section of the NZ Herald over the condemnation of Police in the Xue case, the death of Luke Wooster etc.

Let’s see how this one develops.


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