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Worzel's World - A Time to Kill


Give a man a fish and he’ll eat for a day but give a boy a gun and he’ll become a complete menace. My boyhood air rifle was a prized possession, second only in value to my bicycle. The problem was that in an Auckland suburban back yard there was little that needed killing.

Instead I honed my skills as a marksman with endless target practice. I progressed to shooting clothes pegs off the clothesline, a skill which was in no way appreciated by the household management. It is in the nature of hunters to be forever wanting bigger and better conquests.

One bored school holiday afternoon I sat on the porch, rifle in hand and a fresh box of slugs before me. On a whim I commenced culling white-eyes from the guava bush. It was the wanton killing of innocent creatures, the unnecessary destruction of life, the cruel preserve of the Stalins, Hitlers and 13-year-old boys of the world. It was great fun sitting on my superior perch picking off whiteeyes and telling myself what a good shot I was.

The pellets knocked the birds off the branches and into oblivion. Like horseback injuns in Hollywood westerns, they flapped helplessly down and bit the dust. Indeed, via war film and western, Dirty Harry making his day, and James Bond knocking off the baddy, I expect that up to this point in my life I had witnessed several thousand killings. This though was different. It was real. After I’d killed a few and scared the rest away I swaggered down, very much the great white 
hunter, to the scene of the carnage.

When I saw the inert dead things on the ground, flitting, twittering birds no longer, I felt a wave of remorse and guilt.

Unlike catching and killing a fish that can be cooked and eaten this killing had been for no purpose other than assuaging my boredom. Like Adam and Eve after knowing good and evil, shame overtook me. I didn’t want anyone to discover my destructive handiwork and quickly gathered the still warm bodies that would never fly again to bury them in a common grave behind the shed.

Death is inevitable and killing is sometimes necessary. Yet it is never pleasant. The people of today with constant exposure to killing – yet equally constant shielding from the reality of death – have become desensitised. It is not unusual for school children to engage in computer games where thousands are killed but nobody dies. Hollywood and television have become badder, bloodier, crueller and more callous.

The gory carnage is as realistic as virtual reality and computer-generated special effects can make it. The real dead arriving home from real wars raging around the globe are nicely kept from view in sealed body bags to be properly interred with flowers and formality. Chief censor David Shanks has allowed any amount of violent and perverse filth to be released into the public domain. Most are sick imaginings made manifest by profit-driven studios and video game producers. Such fiction glorifies death and destruction. And the hero still gets the girl.

Strangely enough though, when real footage is available that may provide an insight into the gruesome reality of gratuitous death and destruction, it is banned. The published manifesto written by the Christchurch shooter that might provide some insight into what factors inspired these actions and what measures might forestall such incidents in future was banned.

A man who merely forwarded the live-streamed video was sentenced to 21 months in prison. Common New Zealanders it seems cannot be trusted with any reality deemed ‘objectionable’ by those who have appointed themselves our moral arbiters.

Ms Adern’s ‘Christchurch Call’ is merely a new spin on the old lie that the state knows best what we should and shouldn’t see and hear. Please remind me. When was this ever true? When did this ever work for the good of the people? Or is it as it always has been – an attempt to control the narrative and manipulate public opinion? As humanity draws the curtains on the cinema house of life, the light of reality is gradually extinguished in favour of a dark fiction, fantasy and folly.

It seems reality – hidden behind a veil of censorship and fake news – is R-rated, and cannot be entrusted to the mindless masses who must instead return to their Call of Duty video game and learn to kill without consequence or compassion, in preparation for next time. 

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