Stateside With Rosalea: Law And Order
Law And Order
Many a Wellington moon long hence, I lived in one of a group of houses that lined the driveway leading to the home of a Justice of the Peace. At any time of the day or night, members of the vice squad, drug squad or other manifestation of the NZ Police might drive by on their way to get a search warrant signed by the JP. The granting of such a signature is never automatic, which is why it's required--as a check on the powers of the Police.
So it was with some surprise that I read last week that the "law" half of the "law and order" equation in NZ now has to get the approval of the "order" half in order to have its warrants served. Thinking that perhaps I've been watching too many US crime programmes on the telly and have muddled my understanding of NZ's laws, I turned to the Immigration New Zealand website to check out the relationship between the judicial system and the police, and found that:
"New Zealand has an independent judiciary" and "The Police may not act arbitrarily; the public is expected to act responsibly."
Irrespective of last week's particular circumstances regarding the alleged war criminal, there's something very disturbing about allowing the Police to intervene in the judicial process. Is NZ now trying to lure immigrants from fundamentalist states who would love nothing better than to thumb their noses at the very notion of a judiciary being independent?
All that was being requested was the opportunity for the due process of law to take place. There should be a commission of inquiry into the Police action. What kind of precedent has now been set?
::Life isn't cheap; bullets are::
I have a solution to the United States' horrendous problem with violent crime, and Mr George W. Bush is free to claim it as his own idea and be remembered in history as a great, great president! At midnight one night, he should go on the air and use his executive powers to declare that, as of one minute past midnight, the price of bullets is $5000 each.
Would police departments allow their officers to expend 50 x $5000 of their operating budget in one traffic stop? What gangsta with a whole lot of bullets wouldn't rather sell them at $5000 a pop and get a life instead? Nobody's rights would be infringed, because people who already have guns and bullets would still be able to own guns and bullets. And if they become the target of bullet burglars, well, they've got the means to defend themselves on hand.
Who knows? With bullets fetching $5000 each in the US, maybe the whole world will disarm!
::How to recognize a Kiwi accent::
That great French department store, Tar-chez, has some of the most eye-catching ads on TV and this "giving season" it seems to have hit on the idea of distinguishing itself from the clutter even further by being ear-catching as well, using non-US voices. A couple of weeks ago, it was the voice of a Scandinavian designer.
Last week, it was an Antipodean. Those who want to know how to tell an Australian from a Kiwi should listen to how the lad pronounces the "a" in "last"--a rounded, long "a" in words like "chance" and "dance" is what distinguishes the Kiwi accent. Oddly, Americans pronounce "dahlia" with that kind of "a" sound, whereas Aussies and Kiwis both say the "a" in dahlia as in "day". (Is this column useful or what!)
Speaking of giving, you could send your friends a calendar of pix of San Francisco by going to http://www.zazzle.com/Rosalea and buying the one I just created there. Actually, don't. Some of those photos are from an Internet camera and they might look OK on the screen, but I'm not sure if they'll turn out well calendar-sized.
Nonetheless, you can look at the pretty pictures and wonder why you haven't yet booked your 2007 vacation in the heart-filled City by the Bay. Looking at the calendar will show you which dates are US holidays. The back page lists where the photos were taken.