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Where vigilantes roam the streets

By WillowJim - 5 January 2010 57

[Ed] – We’ve had 3 stories submitted about the Canberra Guardian Angels. Damien Heffernan first wrote to RiotACT back in March 2009 asking for volunteers.

When I first read that the Guardian Angels had set up a chapter in Canberra, I dismissed the story as a beat-up: one sole whiner who likes the thought of wearing berets does not comprise a vigilante force.

But the New York-based organisation seems to be genuinely behind this push; it lists Canberra as its only Australian chapter.

Canberra? The only city in Australia in need of the Guardian Angels? I agree with Simon Corbell on this one: we don’t need it. The only time I’ve ever felt unsafe here is when I’m on the road near some Cro-Magnon who is about to explode because the traffic is only travelling 10km/h above the limit. I’ve never felt threatened in Civic, even in the wee hours.

But judging by talkback yesterday and the letters to the editor in the paper today, many disagree with me. So would the red berets be of any use in Canberra? Or would they just attract/cause trouble?

Other submissions below

From PBO

VIGILANTES! Woo Hoo
I was having a read of our great local rag when i came upon an article that made me giggle. We are getting “Guardian Angels”! Now it struck me as a bit over the top, being that Charnwood and Kippax are not at all like the movie “the Warriors” (70’s urban apocalypse gang flick).

I believe that the presence of these folk will only lead to games of keepings off involving red berets as opposed to making the streets safer.

Has anyone heard anymore than what has been reported?

From Moneypenny2612

The Goon Squad comes to town
Recently the Canberra Times carried an interesting story touting “vigilantism” with the Guardian Angels establishing a presence in the ACT.

Who are the Guardian Angels? Apparently they walked the mean streets of New York City and fought crime where police feared to tread. In the ACT, it looks like they’ve been putting it appearances at neighbourhood association meetings (if a recent Cook chapter meeting is any indication). Have they been promoting their wears in other neigbourhoods too?

But seriously. Is Canberra really comparable to NYC (c. 1980s) when it comes to violent crime and vulnerable law abiding citizens?

Do we really need to form gangs to take the law into our own hands? Discuss.

What’s Your opinion?


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57 Responses to
Where vigilantes roam the streets
sloppery 12:29 pm 06 Jan 10

Maybe they can help the cops find and stop speeding drivers.

hellspice 12:07 pm 06 Jan 10

Special G said :

Why not. If people want to get out and about and provide eyes on the street, good for them. The Police can’t be everywhere and too many people don’t want to get involved so turn a bling eye.

agreed. with the amount of thuggery going on of late etc in the ACT it probably cant hurt

Rawhide Kid No 2 11:55 am 06 Jan 10

An interesting. article from The New York Times 1992.

http://www.nytimes.com/1992/11/27/opinion/curtis-sliwa-s-confession.html

Rawhide Kid No 2 11:18 am 06 Jan 10

colourful sydney racing identity said :

Nothing but some profile raising for Mr Heffernen to assist his tilt for the next Legislative Assembly elections.

ROTM (Right on the Money)

Hank 10:37 am 06 Jan 10

With their little hats on, I hope they don’t become targets.

dr phil 10:33 am 06 Jan 10

look at the bottom of this page http://www.guardianangels.org/index.php Its the all seeing eye, so they have got a secret… maybe they are mason’s?

PBO 10:25 am 06 Jan 10

If this takes off i can see a conversation like this taking place down the track:

Jim Gordon: What about escalation?
Damien Heffernan: Escalation?
Jim Gordon: We start carrying semi-automatics, they buy automatics. We start wearing Kevlar, they buy armor-piercing rounds.
Damien Heffernan: And?
Jim Gordon: And sigh, *you’re* wearing a beret and jumping off rooftops. Now, take this guy: armed robbery, double homicide. Got a taste for theatrical, like you. Leaves a calling card.
[Gordon presents Damien Heffernan with a clear plastic evidence bag containing what appears to be a single playing card; Damien Heffernan turns it over to reveal a “Massey-Joker face”]

From this point on ACT criminals will start wearing costumes and using stupid code-names like Ultra-Massey Man or Ice-Bitch.

See what costumed crime fighting does Damien?

P.S. Get a chinstrap for your beret or you WILL lose it to some kids/adults/whomever who have a taste for keepings off.

dr phil 10:20 am 06 Jan 10

So does that mean Canberra will have its own Gestapo?

Will that also mean the the Security Officers that get $15 an hour to do the same thing may be out of a job?

And will it mean that 3 RAR will be upset that someone else will be wearing a red beret?

colourful sydney rac 10:00 am 06 Jan 10

Nothing but some profile raising for Mr Heffernen to assist his tilt for the next Legislative Assembly elections.

Special G 9:34 am 06 Jan 10

Why not. If people want to get out and about and provide eyes on the street, good for them. The Police can’t be everywhere and too many people don’t want to get involved so turn a bling eye.

icantbelieveitsnotbu 9:19 am 06 Jan 10

Juice Terry said :

Hahahaha, oh dear. Are these people serious? Canberra is about as dangerous as soup. I think these vigilantes are going to get a bit bored of wandering about Kippax and Charnwood doing precisely nothing.

I once had soup from a shop (will remain annon) in Canberra one Christmas lunch and I got very ill from it… I would consider that dangerous 🙂

Oh and I live in Charnwood (heights) and your spot on, nothing too bad happening round the area nowdays…

ramblingted 6:44 am 06 Jan 10

Wouldn’t it be easier for them just to get an Xbox live subscription- then they can bust gangsta ass in the comfort of their own home..

Juice Terry 4:12 am 06 Jan 10

Hahahaha, oh dear. Are these people serious? Canberra is about as dangerous as soup. I think these vigilantes are going to get a bit bored of wandering about Kippax and Charnwood doing precisely nothing.

Swan 1:21 am 06 Jan 10

What we REALLY need is a group of vigilantes protecting Intoxicated Persons from police in civic.

If you are drunk and walking around in civic the police can do anything they want to you based on you being drunk and – according to them, if they wish – disorderly.
If you’re drunk and if you say anything that a police officer would find inappropiate, even if its not directed at police or a random, they will beat you and send you to the watch house.

I have seen too many times police using physical violence against those that are only verbally “violent”.

When did it become some kind of crime to speak?

The people need protection from the conservative bullies that roam civic during the night out time.

peterh 11:32 pm 05 Jan 10

Charnwood was, circa 1980’s. not now, nor is kambah a hotspot, nor is the causeway. interested to learn where these bad areas are. I certainly haven’t seen any for some time, unless there is a dark side to yarralumla or red hill…

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