R.I.P. Darcy Freeman, age four.
May your brothers and mother somehow find a path to healing. My heart also goes out to the witnesses and healthcare and police staff involved.
Trigger warnings for horrific family violence. Link.
There are no words. My heart goes out to the mother.
Yes. I keep thinking of the paramedics who tried so hard to save the little girl as well.
Dear God… I’m really hoping that it was because she was crying or something rather than her father deciding ‘the girl’ was disposable while the boys should be handed off to someone else. Doesn’t make it better, just less worse.
Deus Ex Macintosh’s last blog post..Peace in our time? [aka Moral Equivalence 102]
Oh my god.
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Oh, baby girl. 😦
I just heard about this on the radio this morning. It is awful beyond belief. I’m not sure barriers on the bridge would have stopped it – research on suicide by bridge-jumping in Auckland has shown that when barriers go up on one bridge people just use another one 😦
@DEM I suspect he meant for all of them to go including himself and she was the closest then he lost his nerve. From what I’ve heard of his actions after – driving to the courthouse and asking the security guard to take the boys – he realised what he had done and took the boys to safety so he couldn’t hurt them too. I don’t think he would have been thinking clearly enough to worry about the gender of the child.
“I don’t think he would have been thinking clearly enough to worry about the gender of the child.”
I don’t think anyone, embedded as we are in patriarchy, needs to be *thinking* about gender – gender difference is embedded in every level of the unconscious mind. My thought when I read about the circumstances – the custody dispute – was that men own their daughters, in a way that they don’t (as much) their sons. Perhaps he thought that if he couldn’t own her, he’d stop anyone else from owning her.
Dear god. My sympathies to the mother and siblings. How horrible.
Tears. Those poor boys. That poor mother. A little one lost. Dear god, I hope someone looks at *why* this happened, and doesn’t just apportion blame.
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That’s my guess as well. He may well have been so dissociated that he thought the kids wanted to die as much as he did, and it was possibly only the boys’ reaction to what he did to their sister that broke through and made him realise that they didn’t want to die after all.
Or it may have been yet another paternal murder-suicide grudge-blitz that didn’t quite come off, as others have suggested. We may never know.
How absolutely horrible for the boys either way.
I just saw this – apparently a witness ran at them, shouting, after seeing the girl go over, which may have saved the boys.
The place where she fell is one of my favourite spots for sitting and peacefully watching the boats and ships go by. Not that it’s about me. But it increases the suckitude and living nearby means frequent reminders.
See I don’t see how you separate the “why” from the notion of responsibility. He was probably in a state of extreme distress but his actions were not self-directed – he did not seek counsel from a chaplain or a psychologist, he didn’t go to a friend or doctor, or lawyer, he acted his distress out upon the body of another. A profound inability to take responsibility is part of the “why.”
Adele Horin on the front page of today’s SMH writes that “men suffer a deep sense of humility and powerlessness when their marriages fail”. Of course she means “humiliation” – humility is the very last thing a man who commits a brutal act against his family is displaying. Such an outrageously sloppy malapropism should never have got past the sub-editors, and it shows how careless journalism damages the telling of a story in profound ways. One more Could Do Better mark for the Herald.
“See I don’t see how you separate the “why” from the notion of responsibility”
I wasn’t suggesting ignoring responsibility – the man needs to be locked up, but if we don’t look at how someone gets into such a state without anyone intervening, recognising warning signs etc, we can never hope to avoid repeats.
I am also not saying “someone should have done something”, I’m not sure we are yet capable of seeing the warning signs and knowing how to intervene, but if we don’t take the opportunity to examine this man’s life and try to understand all the contributing factors, we never will. Our current approach of locking them up and forgetting about them seems a terrible waste of information to me.
And yes, no doubt a complete lack of ability to take responsibility was a contributing factor.
Feed him to the sharks in goal and see how he feels ,I can only imagine what that poor little girl was thinking after being thrown of the bridge .
I dont care what anyone say there is no excuse for this
,for god sake she was a child and couldnt defend herself ,put him in with the big boys and see how he goes.
Deepest sampathy to the rest of the family
That’s if they’re locked up at all.
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Is it just me, or does ‘put him in with the big boys’ suggest that gang rape is okay when a ‘just punishment’.
I am *not* excusing this. I don’t know what provoked this, none of us do. Could be another controlling male attemtping to hurt his ex, could be extreme mental illness. While the outcome is the same, the way that we handle that can and should be different depending on which it turns out to be.
And either way, I’m not relishing the thought of anyone no matter how evil their actions, being gang raped.
Fair point DEM, our current approach of not actually being able to decide universally *what* to do with them might be a better description. Since we have no understanding of the mental states involved, I fail to see how anyone could determine that anyone who has done this sort of thing once is certain to never do it again.
And it’s more evidence that we have to take vengeance out of the legal system – the concept of “legal responsibility” is fatally flawed. Just because your emotions overtook your rational self, doesn’t make your whole self less responsible, but if juries see the legal process as punishment, they are more likely to exonerate in this sort of case. In the end, there should be two goals of the legal process – protecting society and fixing people (not that we are currently very good at the latter). Nothing else is productive (especially gang raping).
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The legal systm already acknowledge that their are multiple purposes for criminal punishment and rehabilitation is one of those. There are any number of well tested rehabilitation programmes for different kinds of offending. Not adequately resourced of course and every time some tabloid runs a story about “prisoner perks”, they make it more difficult for the people wh0 advocate for more rehabilitative services to be heard. Along with the general scoffing at psychology that forms a hostile environment for any discussion of rehabilitation, anything that humanizes the prison population, including any kind of therapy is seen by some as mollycoddling.
I don’t see that there is any problem with punishment or retribution as one of the goals of the justice system, it is still necessary for justice to be proportional with the crime, for the victims to see that justice has been done and for the sentence to act as a deterrant to further offending by the individual and by others. All of those goals require that the justice system be seen as punishing offenders, especially violent offenders. What is needed is more work on explaining to society at large that punishment should not mean dehumanisation, abuse and violation of the offender, that that is not only morally wrong but against the interests of society. Then we need more jails where the staff themselves believe that. I think Kempsey prison has put a lot of work into this area but the attitude expressed at 16 is still distressingly common in the media and in public opinion. That just makes it harder for politicians to reform the prison system, and it desperately needs reform.
The other thing is that if prison is the first time that someone is ever forced to introspect upon their behaviour then society is failing people badly. Again the media blather about navel-gazing subjects in school is really unhelpful.