(Above: pick the real Superman. One was a wretched suicide betrayed by the lies of Hollywood; the other's a grumpy old man who hates the miscreant kids of today and stalks the trains of Sydney keeping notes on the ways of these evil doers. This hero has no need of cheap props like capes and costumes. Eek. There's a bear in there).
Sometimes it's necessary for Superman to put on the disguise of an ordinary mortal, and walk amongst ordinary mortals to discover what it's like to be an ordinary mortal.
So it was last weekend when that Clark Kent of federal politics, Tony Abbott, donned his every person disguise, and caught a train from Thirroul to Central. What he discovered, that fateful Mardi Gras night, sickened and astonished him, and you can read all about it in Miscarriage of Justice.
Young people, most smoking, some drinking, nearly all using language that would make a brickie blush (Tony of course, being wired, knows it's illegal to smoke or drink alcohol on a train). One young man even attempted to urinate in the carriage. At Hurstville, a large, very drunk boy aggressively embraced an elderly man trying to enter the carriage who, understandably, decided that this was not his train. Another passenger, an off-duty policeman on his way to work, remonstrated with him and received a fusillade of abuse.
Tony's Clark Kent solution. Make a citizen's arrest? Speak sharply to the uncouth youths in the lordly way he demolishes the Ruddster and send them on their way with a thick ear and minds reformed by his pious Christian platitudes? (You know, like the way he berated Chairman Rudd for being un-Christian for removing a Bush-inspired ban on abortion and birth control measures in international aid).
I wonder if any of the kids recognised Abbott? Or better still the railway cops? And decided to give him a taste of transportation, NSW colonial style, 2009.
Anyhoo, whatever, just blame the transport police, who elected to stay on the station, rather than tackle the ugliness in the train. Always going the soft cop these cops, who aren't actually meaningful cops, but what the heck. They're gutless. It's all their fault. If the transport police had put the first person who lit a cigarette or who swigged from a bottle off the train, there would not have been a problem.
Yes, that's what we need - zero tolerance, maximum policing. Any miscreant who does anything wrong must be punished to the full extent of the law. One cigarette out of place, one swig, one miniscule driving offence, and whap, hit them like beavers sticking their heads up in the wrong place. Tell us Tony:
Also last weekend, a friend was pulled over by the Highway Patrol and fined $343 for having a number plate obscured by children's bikes. Why do the police pick on soft targets but take no action against more intimidating ones?
Say again? Just how are traffic cops and transport cops connected? Aren't one lot on the road and the other on the trains? Doing zero policing at Tony's bidding?
Ah I get it now. Zero tolerance, except for nice friends of Tony Abbott who commit a minor error in a nice middle class way.
What's a person to do?
The off duty policeman explained that if he had tried to do more on his own, he would probably have been beaten up and quite possibly in official trouble for being "provocative". If there'd been a police squad on the train and arrests had been made, people would have been let off with a caution at most.
Welcome to the reality of Sydney public transport Tony. Now scuttle back to your Commonwealth driver and free car, telling horror stories. I think you got off lightly - you didn't get kicked, or punched, you didn't get stabbed, you didn't get spat on, the urine clearly missed you, if they vomited, they didn't hit your clothes, they didn't leave their half-eaten burger just where you sat down, they didn't spray you with drink, they didn't blow their smoke in your face, they didn't wipe their snot on the seat in front of you, they didn't start molesting a woman, thereby forcing you to assess your manhood.
Yep, you had a good trip. And all you can do is whinge about the urban jungle horror, the horrreuur, when the dudes have a little party on the train and the transport cops get a bit nervous about bunging on a bit of biffo. Like you and the off duty cop on board got nervous. And like me and any of thousands of others who catch trains at night in Sydney sometimes get nervous.
So easy to blame the cops, and not the management who run the system and the politicians who fund it.
Now seeing as how it's Mardi Gras, how a bit of ex gratia verballing and poofter bashing as a closer:
I see that the police officially congratulated Mardi Gras crowds for their good behavior even though more than 80 people were reportedly hospitalized after taking drugs. Who do we think we're kidding? It's no wonder people think that the law is an ass.
Yep those drug-infested gay boys are always an issue, holding up the law to ridicule. What's say next Mardi Gras we go downtown and kick some sense in to their sorry, silly, drug-laden asses? Or send them off to a Manly pre-season footy launch, to see how real men, real role models act? That'll learn 'em.
Personally I blame it all on Peter Costello for sitting on his arse, and John Howard for cultivating a shire-like macho posturing national socialist fervor in young people, but maybe that's because I think that politics is a game played for and by asses, and politicians are the chief ass class.
While ordinary folk catch the train all the time, and just ... endure. If the timetables don't get you, the lack of maintenance and the lack of cleaning will, and you learn that after hours vampires irregularly stalk the system, and you cluster close to the night guard, not that you expect that to do any good ... Not that it happens often, but when it does, it's unsettling ...
But hey it's called life in the big city Tony. You live on the north shore, and like the rest of the right wing commentariet, you know nothing ...
Thank god at least the cops nailed that law breaker trying to hide his number plate and his identity. For all the cops knew he might have been a serial miscreant bandit, trying an old trick to evade a speeding fine ... or worse ... But then what would cops know. I look forward to Clark Kent's masterclass for wayward cops on proper law enforcement techniques ...
(Below: keeping the theme of Liberal superheroes going, thanks to Nick and Andrew Charlton's book, which apparently called Liberal economic policy out as it was happening, and now he can say 'nyah, nyah, told you so'. These days of course Peter Costello has been struck mute and is incapable of saying anything to anyone in the longest, most record breaking sookfest tantrum in Australian political history . Or does he have a cunning plan to train his mind zen-style to deliver death rays, while apparently comatose on the back bench, and so strike down poor Malcolm in the middle, without even a hint of a facial tic to give away the fact he has become Lex Luthor? Ah well, it's Friday afternoon, and the loons can easily send one spiraling off into another galaxy. Have to catch a train now. Praise the lord, please let Tony Abbott be on it, to keep us all safe. There might be children, or worse teenagers on it, and they might be fucking swearing and all like the Rockdale gutter rats they are).