Former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has challenged the status quo saying "It's time we stopped being apologetic about the values that made our country free, fair and prosperous," calling for an Islamic reformation.
This News.com article surmised he is positioning himself for a backlash – back toward conservatism - which may occur as the ISIS drama continues with a highly concerned Australian public after recent terror events in Sydney. Last weekend's French regional elections have also illustrated this.
Australian news casts are airing the question whether a form of vigilantism is in effect being encouraged, authorities turning a politically correct blind eye while the politicians dither to avoid a 'screaming left' who shouts to high heaven with anything that smacks of common sense.
Since 9/11 citizens have been taking matters into their own hands when physically threatened. The brave passengers on the hijacked plane headed for the White House overpowered the hijackers. The plane crashed into a field in Pennsylvania. All on board realised they would die in the crash.
Paris 2015 followed by Belgium 2015 where the city of Brussels was shut down, then Mali a few weeks ago – it's all getting too much for the citizenry. There is a sense that the local police have way too many protocols to follow. Instant response is not always their strong suit.
Moreover, 9/11 illustrated modern electronic communications as family members had text and called some of the passengers on the plane on their mobile phones. They had been informed planes had already hit the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon. They knew that they were saving many lives by being vigilantes in that situation.
London this week saw citizens and officers bring down a knife weidling man who had already stabbed several people and we all saw it on television as citizens were filming it on their mobile platforms.
The idea is an old one, the story in the Book of Nehemiah chapter 4 verses 17-18 where the people rebuilding city walls were instructed to carry their swords, in order to protect themselves from any attackers from outside the city.
President Obama's State of the Nation address this week placed a huge dampener on any reaction that would create disharmony. News casts are questioning his politic of giving succour to those families who have lost loved ones through terror attacks without an announced methodology to prevented such acts. News casts happily publicised Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump methodology.
The very idea of vigilantism is alive and well. A few years ago an incident involved the suspicious behaviour of a passenger with a Yemeni passport (but that was not known at the time) who was seen rushing for an airline door during a flight, and was detained by passengers and crew members. He was handcuffed.
What is happening in our very presence, whenever there is something significantly suspicious or seemingly untoward going-down, citizens are taking matters into their own hands, with or without the authorities being complicit, to ensure their own safely and the security of others.
Remember how the then 72-year-old AFL legend Ron Barassi in 2012 tackled the man who was striking a young woman in a Melbourne city street. However it is sometimes not a good idea to intervene; as back in 2010 in a similar incident, a Dutch tourist died while protecting another woman who was being attacked.
In Sydney the same year three family members held down a home invader until police arrived. In a similar incident, a young man tried to stop his friends fighting on a suburban railway station, two of them fell onto the tracks and one of them died. Earlier year US servicemen on a European train took matters into their own hands and from what is understood, saved many lives.
It's drama filled
This is reminiscent of the character Mercutio in the Shakespeare play 'Romeo and Juliet', who died when trying to stop a fight between Romeo and Juliet's cousin. This fictional incident led to the famous quote 'A plague on both your houses!'
Recent world events have 'woken up' private citizens as to the danger they and their fellow-citizens may find themselves in, and have alerted people to be more pro-active in defending themselves (and those they see weaker than themselves) more than in recent decades.
Many of these actions have been seen as good and heroic, for the benefit of society as a whole. So many of those in Paris saw that something was going down but felt powerless. Many feigned being dead.
However, whenever this vigilantism is practised, there are dangers that there might be an over-reaction. The atmosphere can have a multiplier effect, where everyone becomes suspicious of everyone else. As two of the incidents above show, there can be personal danger as well. Moreover, in America where guns are more available, this can have even more disastrous results.
Australians are on alert, and are taking their duties as good citizens seriously as did Nehemiah.
Australian news cats have 'awareness' as the in-word.
Citizens need to be aware
a) they may in fact be either putting themselves or others in more danger.
b) they need to be aware they may be over-reacting due to prejudice,
c) they need to be aware they may not have all the evidence
d) they need also be aware they may save a life! Their own, their loved ones and associates and members of the public.
Those who have been physically threatened (as this writer has been in recent weeks with police intervention and issuing a victim of crime letter) it is no longer an academic issue but very personal with lasting emotional and physical health effects.
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He mentors young writers and has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html