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Jo Chandler, the Catholic Church, paedophile priests and the suicide of the mentally ill

Sadly during my life I have lost one  good friend to suicide and helped prevent the same end for another person I cared about. Its never as simple as many want to suggest to prevent people taking their own lives. Nor is it easy to pinpoint the reasons that they develop the self-destructive ideation. The fact that mental illnesses like clinical depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia have a high suicide rates and that these are all organic disorders of the brain should stop people seeking to  attribute  external triggers like sexual abuse all of the blame for the subsequent death of these unfortunate individuals. Don’t get me wrong I am not seeking to make excuses for or to downplay the pernicious evil any kind of sexual abuse but to use the suicide of the mentally ill as a tool to emphasise the gravity of the abuse is likely to ignore the fact that sexual predators do not choose their victims at random.

Thus I find the latest piece from the Age’s senior writer Jo Chandler both incredibly patronising and disingenuously misrepresenting the nature of mental illnesses like schizophrenia. (my bold in quote)

Jo Chandler Photo: Penny Stephens

It emerged he had been abused.

”And then he told me that if I told a soul he would kill himself.”

The roller-coaster of illness, madness, anger, absence and homecomings continued, punctuated by suicide attempts. Ms Watson gradually pieced together the story – it was not until very late that Peter confided the identity of his attacker – and tried to get psychiatric help for her son.

Then one day in March 1999 he was finally given a diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia. He told the medical staff he was just going to move his car. He was never seen again. He was 24.

”I never stopped looking,” Helen Watson says. For six years she was left wondering what became of him, though she was almost certain he was dead.

In fact his body was found hanging in a boat shed in Aspendale late in 1999. Police couldn’t put a name to it, and he was buried as a John Doe.

But the case preyed on one of the police officers, Rod Owen. When some new fingerprint technology arrived, he tried it out on the records from the body in the boatshed, and came up with a match. Ms Watson finally got the knock at the door she had wished for and dreaded.


There is no doubt that many people who are abused carry the scars for the rest of their lives and I for one thank God that I am an atheist who will never let the God-botherers anywhere near my children not because I am worried about sexual abuse but because I don’t want my children to develop an irrational belief in the supernatural. that said I have my doubts that the recently announced inquiry into priestly abuse of children in Victoria will achieve anything of substance. Of course there are those like our regular commentator Craigy who will both welcome the piece of political show and tell and denounce its impotence. My problems with any of this sort of thing is the inherent  difficulty in proving the relevant allegations because they essentially boil down to verbal conflict  between the accuser and the accused with almost no evidence other than the competing testimonies. A legal can of worms in other words. Add to that the time between the alleged abuse and those crimes being reported (if they have been reported at all) and any possibility  of justice seen to be done becomes rather remote.

Of course none of this matters to the author of this rather dull attempt at pulling the heat strings of the Age’s readers. Jo Chandler clearly does not care about those with self-destructive mental illness who would be just as likely to self harm even if every priest was taken out and made to emulate the fate of their saviour and every building and church entity were reduced to rubble. The underlying subtext here is just the same as  that which were evident in Chandler’s sneering piece about Mary Mckillop Ah well it makes a change from the last few pieces from the Sandpit’s favourite senior writer at the Age where she has just rehashed the opinions of Fuzzy Wuzzy bloggers about their dysfunctional democracy. Still it makes me wonder just why she keeps her job at the Age and what qualifies anyone to be a “senior” writer for Fairfax.

Cheers Comrades

Anti-social behaviour at the football

I totally agree with the sentiments in thsi post even though I have less than zero interest in sport. The way that so many corporate gumbies insist upon filling every possible second with noise helps feed the stimulus addiction of the masses who could well benefit from some time to appreciate the joys of quiet contemplation and conversations that don’t need to be shouted above the roar of the greasepaint.
Cheers Comrades


If our neighbours played their music too loud, so loud that we couldn’t have a peaceful conversation in our house, I would ask them to turn it down. And if they refused I might call the police and I would expect them to attend and ask the neighbours not to be so anti-social.

So when I was at the football yesterday and the music and commercials and crass announcements from the public address system were absolutely deafening I had no hesitation in texting the number provided on the scoreboard to “report anti-social behaviour.” This is what I wrote:

Please stop the people near me in the Ponsford Stand who are playing music so loud that I can’t hear myself think…no, hang on it’s the MCG public address system! Tell me, why is this anti-social behaviour tolerated? Why can’t I hear instead the noise of my fellow football supporters? Please reply…

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“There but for the Grace of God go I” , Tim Ferguson, and Multiple Sclerosis

There is a certain courage in necessity, the necessity of making the most of a very bad had dealt to you by fate, and this morning I was rather moved by the story of Tim Ferguson‘s battle with MS.

Click for source

Of course for me this brings back memories of my late  father  who eventually died of this much misunderstood disease, so naturally I dips me lid to those like Tim who find the courage to make the most of their lives despite Multiple Sclerosis and the havoc it causes to their bodies and their lives because I have seen the wreckage and it certainly ain’t pretty or at all “nice”.

Yes there is only one thing that comes to my  mind here and that is the old adage that helps us all find some measure of humility “there but for the Grace of God go I” 

With the deepest respect Comrades




Our learned friend fails to meet the cut in circumcision debate

What I love about reading the musings of our learned friend is that his posts are consistently predictable, Like this one about circumcision:

Jezza, mate, genital mutilation is mutilation no matter what the gender of the victim  and the fact that you can’t see that when it comes to the circumcision of boys says heaps about your real commitment to the concept of equality. There are a very small number of conditions for which circumcision is the indicated  treatment and none of them are the things you cite in your post all of those can be addressed by teaching boys to do a couple of simple things, firstly to properly clean their genitals when they bathe and secondly to discourage  promiscuous behaviour.

  Finally I just love the fact that you admit that it is your totalitarian tendencies dictate your moderation decisions and at the time of writing you have received or approved precisely zero comments to this post!

Oh the Humanity!!!

  Cheers Comrades

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Economy through lightness

I have previously suggested that the future of motoring lays in  reducing the weight and improving efficiency, well blow me down if I didn’t come across a piece in Popular Mechanics that makes  that argument. after a bit of searching I found it on line, click on the link above.


Worth a read Comrades


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