Tuesday 16 December 2014

Kreskin Cosh

Well, Colby Cosh called this one before it happened, didn't he?

Cosh from last week:
The point is not that Bismarck [subject of many assassination attempts] was particularly hated, although he was. The point is that this period of European (and American) history was crawling with young, often solitary male terrorists, most of whom showed signs of mental disorder when caught and tried, and most of whom were attached to some prevailing utopian cause. They tended to be anarchists, nationalists or socialists, but the distinctions are not always clear, and were not thought particularly important. The 19th-century mind identified these young men as congenital conspirators. It emphasized what they had in common: social maladjustment, mania, an overwhelming sense of mission and, usually, a prior record of minor crimes.
From the Sydney Morning Herald on yesterday's hostage incident:
Manny Conditsis, a Sydney lawyer who represented Monis last year when he was charged with being accessory to the murder of ex-wife Noleen Hayson Pal, told ABC News that Monis was an isolated figure and "damaged goods".

"His ideology is just so strong and so powerful that it clouds his vision for common sense and objectiveness," Mr Conditsis said.

"Knowing he was on bail for very serious offences, knowing that while he was in custody some terrible things happened to him, I thought he may consider that he's got nothing to lose," he said.

"Hence participating in something as desperate and outrageous as this."

Monis had an extensive criminal history, which included being charged with 50 allegations of indecent and sexual assault. He had also been engaged in a protracted battle to overturn his conviction for sending offensive letters to the families of dead Australian soldiers between 2007 and 2009. 
BK Drinkwater also claims, ex post, to have gotten it right:
One potential lesson from the whole thing?
I could support shifting funds from spying over to mental health support. I doubt it would have helped in this case, as Monis looks to be somebody who really should have stayed in prison for a very long time. But it does seem a better general-purpose technology. This image sticks with me:


  1. I'm surprised your endorsing a value for money argument that can't be substantiated. The GCSB and SIS budgets combined would represent a rounding error in what we already spend on mental health, so I strongly doubt there's any reason to anticipate major gains from the proposed shifting of spending. Also, figures on the number of mentally ill in prison tend to include a large proportion of anti-social personality disorders. I'm not sure about the Economist's numbers, but a lot of the numbers used in the NZ system literally include psychopaths among the mentally ill who it's suggested should be somewhere other than prison.

  2. Agree that we need some measure of cost effectiveness of different treatment options, and that incarceration of psychopaths is a good.

  3. "... incomes at the top jumped ... and in part due to that folks with the skills to adjust to the new environment started being compensated for it."

    Hmm, So people earning ridiculously high salaries are merely being compensated for their skills? This sounds like standard apologetics for inequality (the mega rich 'deserve' it) ...presented without facts to back it up.

  4. I agree. Deinstitutionalization was a rotten idea. One of the few things Powell got wrong (though it was admittedly not implemented as he had planned it).