When Kangaroos Attack

‘It’s a lunatic ninja coming through the window!’ That’s what Australian, Beat Ettlin, apparently thought as a kangaroo burst through the window of his Canberra home two weeks ago. To be fair, he was half asleep and a marsupial Chuck Norris had just started a home-invasion, but the fact is, he was wrong. And, by gum, if that isn’t a neat way to tie together some stories from the past week: how people have got it wrong.

It sounds rather negative, I know. But, if we can apparently have ‘elephants’ in almost every room these days, then I propose that we might also have ‘ninjas at the window’ – unsubstatiated but popularly held incorrectitudes and wrongnesses that, by simple and ubiquitous repetition, can become a kind of ‘wikipinion’, if we’re not careful. And as people who hopefully love truth, we should recognise them.

A massive ‘ninja’ was revealed to be a kangaroo last week, when Sean Hodgson was released from prison, where he had languished for 27 years. Hodgson was convicted of a murder he did not commit. There are several ninjas at the window here. The fact Hodgson was convicted at all was clearly wrong, though to be fair to the courts, DNA techniques were not available at the time. But when Hodgson’s defenders attempted, ten years ago, to get evidence re-examined with new science, they were either lied to or given a bungled answer that prevented further investigation. Ninja. Perhaps the greatest ninja is the idea of bringing back the death penalty whenever something in the news (like the horrific Fritzl case last week) arouses public ire. Clearly our legal system sometimes gets things very wrong. Giving it the power to kill is as stupid as allowing a vast majority of people to carry guns.

Another spectacular ninja peered through the window of the Nuclear deterrent issue last week. A spokesman from the defence community, championing the view that the Trident nuclear weapons system should be replaced and updated, trotted out the usual nonsense about how it was important that ‘moral nations’ held weapons of mass destruction and prevented immoral nations from having them. That was, of course, a ninja. I know of no country, nation or race that any thinking Christian could consider particularly moral. Particularly not ones that go to war on false pretexts or oppress through trade. As Noam Chomsky points out, the only reason other nations do not commit the crimes the USA, Britain and Russia commit is because they lack the power to do so.

A related ninja popped up again when the pro-nuke eejit actually suggested that funding shortfalls for Trident could be bridged by taking money from elsewhere in the nation’s budget. You know, from grossly overfunded and unimportant sectors like health and education. It was a revelation to finally hear a hawkish commentator actually say such things out loud, but smart Christians must recognise such views as wrong wrong wrong.

Perhaps not an anti-ninja, but at least a positive point from last week’s news was the fact that most Christians didn’t riot in the streets when a cartoon of the Pope with a condom over his head was published. What remains to be seen, as we congratulate ourselves on how much more tolerant we are than Muslims, is what our more hot-headed congregants do when similar cartoons focus on Jesus. Prepare to repell ninjas!

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