Friday, June 02, 2006

Hassall hits out

Former Commissioner for Children Ian Hassall has been busy over the past couple of days creating an argument to destroy my NZ Herald article.

My article is here.

His article, published this morning, is here

He compares child discipline with Tana Umaga's handbag assault in a Christchurch bar. I wonder if Hassall is aware that the hand bag is available on Trade Me Perhaps he could bid for it and use it as a prop for his speeches against physical discipline.

Dave Crampton is a humble blogger with no degree. Ian Hassall is a senior researcher at the institute of Public Policy at AUT. It's a David v Goliath debate and David is surfing Trade Me to see if he can cheaply secure five small stones and a sling shot.

I`ll be fisking him tonight.


Anonymous said...

The reason the Police are not charging Tana with assualt is that no compliant was made.

If a compliant was made then I suspect they would charge Tana with assualt.

The guy is a dumbass.

Anonymous said...

Wow, I knew AUT was struggling, for good people, but what planet is this cretin Ian Hassall on?

What an idiot. Repeal of s59 is not about smacking at all (actually this aspect is conspicuously absent from these blogs). It's not about violence. It's about the "use of force", which will become illegal if the idiot bill goes through. So, all the following will become technically illegal actually if they aren't already.

1. Giving birth (requires the mother to use force)
2. picking up a child
3. breaking up a playground scrap
4. buckling a kid into a car seat when they don't want to be.
5. teaching a kid to associate pain with putting their hand on an element, or in the fire, or poking metal objects into a power point.

People only talk about "reasonable" or "unreasonable" force. How about necessary force? Necessary force will be made illegal as well. It will become illegal to save your kid's life if it uses force. It's obviously preferable to have twisted neurotic psychotic kids who expect to get away with everything, than well-adjusted happy kids who know that they need to consider other people as well as themselves.

As for Mr Hassall's "matter of record" statements... well whose records? That just means some idiot wrote it down, not that it's actually true. Maybe he wrote it himself...

His argument "Adults are safer because of the prevailing belief that in most circumstances assault upon them is not justifiable" is also the work of a mental midget. That's like saying we're safer because we feel safer. Feeling safer doesn't make us safer as history has proven time and time and time again. I'm sure the people on the Titanic felt pretty safe.

How such retards get any sort of credibilty let alone press-space is beyond me.

weizguy said...

Hey anonymous - maybe you should have checked your examples...

1. Giving birth (requires the mother to use force)

Use of force is not the definition of assault - look it up. In addition, by your definition, all surgical procedures are culpable assaults. Medicine is one of the few areas that we can consent to bodily harm.

2. picking up a child

How is this assault? Following this example, do you also believe that a consentual hug is assault?

3. breaking up a playground scrap

Self defence or the defence of others. Already have a defence there. Sorry.

4. buckling a kid into a car seat when they don't want to be.

Same as above

5. teaching a kid to associate pain with putting their hand on an element, or in the fire, or poking metal objects into a power point.

How exactly are you teaching your kids? This one disturbs me.

Anonymous said...

Ian Hassall's lies start in the 3rd paragraph if not earlier.

"Both are technically assaults" he says.

The law however may class his latter example as not an assault by virtue of the defense of reasonable (presuming in this case it is reasonable) force.

He then displays a serious deficiency in his powers of logical reasoning by stating that s59 of the Crimes Act is the law that says "you can go around hitting people as long as those people are your children". It does not. Any first-year law student would be quick to point out the word reasonable in the act. But I guess Mr Hassall has never studied law, nor been confronted with an uncooperative 2yr old.

Heaven help us that he made it to the post of Commissioner for Children.

He carries on to say that repealing s59 will stop assault from being legitimate. However, assault isn't legitimate with the current law. Unreasonable force is still illegal. There's therefore no need to do anything to it. We should be spending the millions of dollars on something more productive than politically-driven social engineering..

I could go on, but he just gets more ludicrous, a previous poster has already covered some of the gems from Mr Hassall's fertile imagination.

I want to know if Ian Hassall or Sue Bradford will take responsibility for the actions of my children if I'm not to be allowed to enforce any rules. I can still be prosecuted if my child doesn't attend school, and any damage my child does I have to pay for. Not vice-versa. Children do not have the same rights as adults for the obvious reason that they don't have the same responsibilities, let alone capabilities, wisdom, knowledge etc. Life requires training, just like flying a helicopter requires training.

With the current track record of CYFS, I'm terrified of this bill being passed, and people like Ian Hassall running my family life. Not everyone has the luxury of being able to leave the country if it turns to idiocy.

Anonymous said...

Hey Weizguy. Maybe you should look up common assault in the Crimes Act 1961 Section 2.1

"Assault" means the act of intentionally applying or attempting to apply force to the person of another, directly or indirectly, or threatening by any act or gesture to apply such force to the person of another, if the person making the threat has, or causes the other to believe on reasonable grounds that he has, present ability to effect his purpose; and "to assault" has a corresponding meaning.

So, no mate, you look it up.

weizguy said...


Maybe you should respond to my post, rather than giving me the definition of assault.

What you have done is provide the statutory definition of assault, without any thought to the context of assault (defences and common law).

Care to respond to my actual post rather than simply the first sentence? It appears from your response that you either stopped reading at that point, or are being deliberately obtuse.

I assume the other anonymous poster is you too?

"However, assault isn't legitimate with the current law."

Yes it is. It is legitimate when performed on children under certain circumstances. I don't agree that a repeal is the right answer, but I understand where the bill's proponents are coming from. Their stand may not be pragmatic, but it is principled.

I wonder how much you resort to "reasonable force"?

Anonymous said...

Hey Weizguy

I'll give you point 3, I'd overlooked the defense of another. Your point 4 would be borderline to argue in court, since you can't argue immediate danger, but I'll give you that one too anyway.

However application of force is in fact the definition of assault, not smacking, nor anything else. That is actually what is written into our law.

Physical punishment is only one very small subset of all the cases of use of force for disciplining or raising of children, however it's the only case that proponents of the bill are considering - they wish to take all use of force for any reason apart from self-defence or defense of another away from parents.

I take issue with the fact that people are only discussing smacking, or what they insist on calling "hitting" or "bashing". They say it's wrong to "teach" kids that "violence" is an acceptable way to solve problems. However use of force (other than "physical punishment") is often necessary. Personally I think it's wrong for people to lie to each other, and these people are lying to us, deliberately skewing facts, avoiding truths, using spin and ignoring logic.

Any physicist can confirm that every person on the planet is exerting a force on every other person on the planet, by Newton's Law of Gravitational Attraction. So, for the law to define assault as use of force without qualifying any sort of intent is quite ridiculous. But that's a different problem. One addressed by case-law. But if the bill is passed, new case law and precedents will have to be made.

A parent's problem is to deal with the dilemma of having to discipline children. Any form of deterrent would be illegal to use on another adult - you can't threaten an adult to take away their property or rights. If you tried to put me in time-out, I could charge you with assault. If you even look at me threateningly I can charge you with assault under the current law.

So any method anyone uses to discipline a child uses a technique which we must then also teach the child is not acceptable to use on others. Parents must teach children this, because parents are responsible for the actions of their children. This is why parents must be granted the legal right to discipline children, and the current wording of the act simply recognises that sometimes force for this purpose is necessary, and is sanctioned as long as the force used is reasonable.

So as far as methods go, at least you can see a smack. You can see if a child is hitting another from across the yard. You can't tell from a distance if the child is using cruelty or manipulative techniques though. To correct behaviour one must first be able to see it. So at least with smacking, both parts of the disciplinary problem are actually possible to address. Kids are born with the instinct to hit out as well, they don't just learn it from tv. Anyone who ever had a cat that had kittens, or has seen a 1yr pull a 2yr old's hair and then get a biff from the 2yr old knows this.

Anyway in answer to your final question, it depends on how you define force. The way I define it, I apply a non-zero force every time I touch anyone, but that's not very useful is it. However putting clothes on a wriggly toddler, putting a kid in a high-chair, or picking him up off a swing because we need to go home are all cases that I might have been using force in the safe knowledge that I was allowed to because of section 59. So, if this bill is passed I will be breaking the law about 20 times a day, as will most every parent in the country. Not a nice feeling, especially given the consequences... worse than consequences of murder if you ask me.

I don't like to smack, and avoid it if at all possible.

And I think therein lies the problem. People don't like to smack. The kids don't really care if they get a small smack as long as they think they deserved it. That's soon forgotten. It's adults that have the problem with it, because it is unpleasant. So it should be. Any form of discipline/deterrence is unpleasant, we need to just get over it.

But taking away the rights of any parent to enforce any rule (yet still legally let alone morally requiring parents to enforce rules) puts parents in an impossible position. We want our kids to grow up and have happy lives. We know they will be miserable and cause misery in others if they grow up self-centred deceitful and manipulative.

So a loving caring parent has no choice but to break the law, at which point they risk 2 years in prison, their child being taken away (and running a 1 in 8 chance of death by suicide - only slightly better odds than Russian Roulette), being chemically lobotomised etc etc. This cure is better than the "disease"???

As for Sue Bradford's claim that she will put an "explanatory note" to the effect that the bill is not intended to ban light smacking????

Well, that's like writing a note on a nuclear bomb before you drop it saying the bomb is only intended to kill bad people.

Unless the bill is changed, it makes every parent in the country an ongoing criminal. It hurts us all, and hurts children the most.

History will prove it one way or another, but it's likely I won't be around to benefit, and my kids or grandchildren will have to live through it... It will make parenting a lot more difficult if we can't back up any instruction or rule with the inevitability of force. Makes all rules and instructions unenforceable.... no coincidence the use of force in the word enforce.

As for your "concern" about my previous point 5. Well some things you can do if you only have one kid. Like spend a lot more time removing things from them. For people with say 4 kids however, they can't be in 4 places at once, so other strategies are necessary. Like actually teaching the kid to avoid danger itself. Now there's an idea - teaching. Every animal on the planet uses pain as a teaching method. Those people born without pain receptors don't tend to live very long. It's in every animal's nature to use this. We can try and deny our nature, but passing a law like this will just increase stress in parents, which will make them more likely to snap and go over the line with application of force. I guess this will just disturb you more though. Ask your mother.

Having a mandate with boundaries, and tempered by reasonability makes it a lot less stressful, and therefore a lot safer for the kids, which is what we all care about in the end isn't it?