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Bradford's Bill will create new criminals

Bradford's Bill will create new criminals
Ruby Harrold-Claesson
President of the NCHR

In an attempt to ridicule the Sensible Sentencing Trust, Anne Else writes in her piece, "Get It Straight: Repeal Section 59 And Cut Crime". She continues: "Wilful stupidity is really hard to deal with". I agree with her 100 per cent.

Being a lawyer and researcher I usually use neutral, sober language, otherwise I would use Anne Else's own words that she "has just managed to pull off a difficult feat. In a strong field of stupid statements, its [her] latest one on Sue Bradford’s Bill stands out for its utter idiocy."

How can someone who wants to appear to be in his or her right mind equate smacking with child abuse? The research that she cites from The US indicates that "child maltreatment, which includes both child abuse and child neglect" lead to children becoming criminals. This research is not about smacking; it is about child abuse. (http://www.nber.org/papers/w12171)

There are two very important historical Swedish sources that Swedish professor in Legal history at Uppsala University, Mats Kumlien, referred to in his PhD thesis (1994) on the subject "Upbringing and punishment". The sources are Havamal and The Hälsinge Law.
Havamal says: He who lives lawless and without smacking, he dies without honour. (Den agalös lever och laglös, han ärelös dör). A section in The Hälsinge Law says: He who lives without smacking, he dies without honour. (Den agalös lever, han ärelös dör).

Mats Kumlien showed historical examples of unpunished children who ended up as criminals. One mother was compelled to be present at her son's execution, and he spat on her and accused her of not giving him a good upbringing ie she had not smacked his bottom when he did wrong.

Anne Else is certainly not aware of the errors in logic in her piece. "Repeal Section 59 and cut crime", she writes. Well, the result will be the opposite. Repealing Section 59 will not cut crime but it will create young criminals and also a whole new category of criminals: the parents who take their responsibility and smack their unruly children when words and admonitions prove insufficient to correct their deeds or omissions.

Paul Craig Roberts wrote the article "Targeting parents". I recommend careful reading of the article.

I also recommend reading of the Newman weekly "The Smacking Bill A Con job" http://www.nzcpd.com/weekly74.htm

In all human societies parents have - during the history of our different civilisations - smacked their unruly children. Had smacking been detrimental to children and turned them into criminals, then the world would have been full of criminals. Instead the great majority of people in the world are sensible, well-behaved and responsible people. The greatest problems with some so-called modern societies for eg Sweden, is that they have too many undisciplined children. Their parents have no control over them at home, their teachers have no control over them at school and very few adults have enough courage to talk to them when they display disruptive behaviour in public.

In Sweden schools are being shut down because of violence and threats among the students. The first one was in Malmö in April 2006. http://mobil.svt.se/svt/jsp/Crosslink.jsp?d=22620&a=577543&lid=puff_577985&lpos=extra_0.

A second school, this time in Gothenburg was closed in February 2007

A third school, also in Gothenburg, was closed on March 21, 2007

These are unprecedented happenings.

Here is a little more info. about the chaos that reigns among children and young people in Sweden: Yesterday, the newspapers published a news item about a school stabbing in Olofstorp, where I live and two of my children were pupils. According to Gothenburg Newspaper (Göteborgs Tidningen, GT) it started with a fight between two boys. One was kicked in his face! and another boy (16 yr old) intervened and stabbed the other 16 yr old in his leg. See http://www.gt.se/nyheter/1.611855 and http://www.gt.se/nyheter/1.613601. Please note that in 1988 Sweden enacted a law forbidding knives and other cutting weapons in public places, in schools etc.

The Swedish smacking ban did not create a peace-loving, non-fighting generation. Instead it has created societal problems with unruly and even dangerous children. The recently published UNICEF Innocenti report gives Sweden 15th place in family and peer relations. See http://www.unicef-icdc.org/presscentre/presskit/reportcard7/rc7_eng.pdf

If New Zealand wants to be at the forefront of civilisation then you should learn from the mistakes that have been made by Sweden - not strive to make similar mistakes.

Gothenburg, Sweden, March 28, 2007.


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