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David McLaughlin’s family and friends get their say

By johnboy - 23 September 2006 91

The Canberra Times’ Paul Malone has done a lengthy and detailed story on the final days of David “DJ” McLaughlin.

McLaughlin’s family feel they could have prevented his suicide if the police had let them talk to him. Franklty it beggars belief that the stepfather, Andy Hammond, feels “I could do anything with that kid” when you consider the abject failure of the Spence butcher to prevent his stepson going on an armed car thieving high speed rampage the night before.

The real question for mine is why police didn’t shoot DJ dead the night before after he rammed a police car and was pointing his squirrel gun at them.

What’s Your opinion?

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91 Responses to
David McLaughlin’s family and friends get their say
Big Al 10:59 am 24 Sep 06

Full agree with you JB – I guess all I’m saying is that if the step-father thought he could do a better job than the cops then why not let him have a go – its not like he could have misunderstood the personal risk.

johnboy 10:45 am 24 Sep 06

I dunno Al, that manual has those boxes in it due to a lot of hard won experience with dealing with these situations.

If DJ had actually wanted to hand himself in there was nothing stopping him just driving up to a police station and walking in un-armed, so I think there had to have been a lot more going on his tiny mind than that.

The family’s response frankly seems delusional at best at manipulative at worst

Big Al 10:28 am 24 Sep 06

If the guys step-father was there and prepared to talk to this DJ chap on the phone, or to go and have a face-to-face chat with him, and there’s a fair chance that in doing so could resolve the stand off and get the chap safely into custody I don’t see the problem. If the guys prepared to do it, give him a vest and let him through. It’s not like his step-father could misunderstand the risk – he knew what was going on. Obviously its not an option that would appeal to process driven incident controllers more concerned with ticking off boxes in the manual than achieving an outcome. That said – there’s still a lot of accountability that fell on DJ, as I said before he was the one with the gun so he was in a position to call the shots (pardon the pun) in terms of how the situation might be resolved … and the rest, as they say, is history.

TAD 9:46 am 24 Sep 06

You’re right Al, the negotiators should have offered poor DJ a cuddle and everything would have been ok.

What would you have done differently?

Thumper 9:13 am 24 Sep 06

And society has an obligation to look after the weakest….

Pandy 8:52 am 24 Sep 06


“Power belongs to the strongest”

kurt1 3:02 am 24 Sep 06

Fair call Pandy. If you’re ever in trouble, remind me not to help you. I’ll let nature take its course. If you’ve survived, congratulations! You’ve proved your genetic vitality. Seriously…..

Pandy 12:13 am 24 Sep 06

Big Al,

I agree with you on this.

The bloke topped himself and the gene pool got cleaned.

kurt1 10:51 pm 23 Sep 06

thanks miz…

Big Al 9:40 pm 23 Sep 06

Looks like another case of the police treating every problem as if it were a nail – do that an of course your solution will inevitably be a hammer … the other side of the coin is obviously that this DJ chap was the one with the gun and was therefore the one making most of the big decisions … very sad for the family he left behind but he was no Clea Rose – the big portion of the blame lies with DJ on this one.

miz 7:36 pm 23 Sep 06

So we should write off all kids who might have a few home life issues? Glass houses, people.

Kurt you were a child at the time you interracted with DJ. It’s OK to feel sad, but it’s not for you to feel guilty as an individual. What could you, a child, have done?

However there should definitely be a sense of collective guilt that society did not assist this family more than it did.

My condolences to the family. Young DJ, ‘issues’ and all, was clearly loved, and is missed.

Swaggie 6:12 pm 23 Sep 06

Kurt, the School and Community failed him?? Any thoughts that his family might have failed dismally in bringing him up? Guardians / parents have a responsibility as well however much it appears to be neglected in this day and age.

Special G 5:47 pm 23 Sep 06

Oh boo hoo, what a sob story. Mel I think you got it right.

kurt1 5:23 pm 23 Sep 06

Thought provoking post Mel. “DJ” McLaughlin was in the year below me at North Ainslie Primary School. Since Year 6 I hadn’t heard anything about him. I only skim-read Malone’s CT article then.

He was a very troubled kid. So was his brother Cameron (two years above me in PS. Cameron regularly bullied me and my friends. My friends and I fought back occasionally and DJ and Anthony (a cousin?) would sometimes help Cameron.

I agree with your last point Mel, but some people need more help than others to act responsibly. I know during his childhood DJ didn’t get enough help. We (the school and local community) failed. As the responsible, it’s our responsibility to make the irresponsible accept theirs.

I for one feel slightly guilty over DJ’s death, and sad for the McLaughlin family. DJ needed better direction. As an older student I could of given him some but didn’t. I didn’t even try. I only re-inforced his ‘living involves conflict involves violence’ mentality.

Mel 4:00 pm 23 Sep 06

I’ve read the Canberra Times and it does make for quite an interesting ‘story’. Stories of course being better described as “a fictitious tale, shorter and less elaborate than a novel”. I am actually looking forward to reading the truth, because I’m sure that will paint a much clearer picture of what happened. (Now I’m not suggesting that the CT has printed anything untrue… but it wouldn’t be the first time…)

There could be any number of reasons as to why Police didn’t shoot DJ the previous night, and we would only be speculating as to reasons they did and didn’t do certain things on that night. I can’t imagine the grief that the Police who were invloved in the situation are presently going through, and it was DJ who shot himself… Imagine if the Police had have done it….

At what point does somebody stop being a ‘petty criminal’ and become a ‘criminal’?? Does stealing someone else’s GT Falcon (a car that most of us could only dream of owning) make you a criminal or a ‘petty criminal’? Is ramming other vehicles, including Police vehicles trying to apprehend you constitute a criminal offence? What about brandishing a sawn off shot gun? Pointing said shot gun at Police? Surely the line is drawn a long way before that…

Now I personally thought the legend of Robin Hood is a great story, robbing from the rich to give to the poor…. It’s such a shame that poor Robin has now been tarred by the same brush. The CT goes on to mention how ‘DJ’ got a kick out of breaking into houses of known criminals. Just because these people may have allegedly had problems with the law, is it acceptable that their right be violated by this Robin Hood wannabe?? And didn’t Robin Hood give his loot to the poor?? Is DJ stealing to support DJ’s drug habit the same as giving to the poor?

When will people start accepting responsibility for their actions?? Granted, it’s a little hard in this particular situation, but why is everyone so quick to try to pass the blame onto somebody else.

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