IT was my intention today to sit down and write a column about something friendly, something to make you smile a little, but I can’t. I approach the keyboard today too damn angry, let me tell you why.
One evening last weekend I was driving down the Hume heading home after a very long day in Sydney, when a large log came flying through the air and hit my car. As I fought to keep my car on the road, I saw two people beating a hasty retreat in my rear view mirror. It seems that throwing the log at my passing car, was someone’s idea of fun.
Had the log landed on my car at an angle other than the one it did, I may not be writing this today and my children would be without a mother. I don’t care about the damage to my car; I care about what this act would have taken away from my family.
Naturally you can see how one would see red over behaviour such as this. The consequences of such an action could be enormous, and while we might be able to write something like this off as the behaviour of misguided youth, this was not necessarily an act carried out by children.
In 2007 a 25-year-old Australian father confessed to throwing a one kilo rock from an overpass that struck a car and seriously injured the passenger inside. He served two years in prison, and even today cannot explain why he did it, and has lived with guilt and remorse ever since that day. That passenger survived but has a serious brain injury.
The action of throwing an object at a vehicle now carries a sentence of five years’ imprisonment. Five years, for what I think is tantamount to attempted murder.
How does the thought of doing something so stupid and dangerous, enter someone’s head as a fun thing to do? A public service announcement that says ‘throwing objects at cars can kill,’ may be timely, but are people really that stupid they don’t already know this? What is going on? After looking at police reports from around the state I find that this sort thing is still happening, despite changes to the penalties. Which leads me to ask: are bigger sentences really a deterrent for a crime? The reality is that a criminal isn’t out there planning their crime spree, weighing up the sentence against what they may gain from the crime. I’m not saying the big prison sentences are not warranted, they are just not an efficient tool to deter people from committing a crime.
As for my log throwers, the only thing I can think of that may have made them stop and think could have been a sign that said: ‘Before you throw that, imagine someone you love is in the car you’re aiming for’.