when they "ban" bikie gangs and "ban" those who have been associated with them from owning firearms?
Don't misunderstand me please. I don't want to see criminal gangs condoned and I would be much happier if nobody had a firearm.
Our state government seems to believe that "banning" these things is going to stop them. It won't.
I read a book once on "bikie" culture. It was a serious study of motorcycle gangs, those who belong to them, their activities and the way they function. It was something I was asked to read. I found it interesting - and disturbing.
"Bikies" are not necessarily bad people. I have met a few. They can be as kind and caring as anyone else. While I suspect that the annual Christmas "toy run" here is a public relations exercise for many there are times when they will just quietly go in and help.
The man who is the "key holder" for the hall where a group I belong to meets has never been able to work. He suffered serious burns as a child. His lungs were damaged and his skin causes him constant problems. He often needs to spend a couple of nights in hospital.
He doesn't belong to a bikie gang. He's never ridden a motor bike. But there are bikies who have had burns injuries and they have met him in hospital.
On a day when he's "not feeling great" it is not unusual for a couple of them to turn up quietly at the hall and check to see he's not in need of help.
One afternoon, after the meeting was over, I went out and found him with one of the bikies. They were standing by my tricycle. The bikie nodded to me and walked off.
"We put the new brake cable in for you," S told me.
I had left the new cable in a bag on the handlebars and they had found it and done the job without asking.
"Do I owe him anything?" I asked.
"Nah. He says he owes you - for helping some mate of his."
I thought that through and then realised that the bikie probably meant someone who had come off a motorbike and was a paraplegic or quadriplegic as a result. I have written a few letters and helped them fill out a few forms on occasion through an advocacy group. Who? I didn't know.
It was an experience though that has made me wonder whether just "banning" these groups is the answer.
They want to be seen as hard, tough people but some of them seem to have a softer side. Help someone they regard as a "mate" and they will help you it seems.