19 April 2024

Why there's no better time than today to cherish you and yours

| Sally Hopman
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oFlowers outside Westfield Bondi Junction

The garden of flowers, in memory of those who lost their lives in the tragedy, grows outside the Bondi Junction shopping centre in Sydney. Photo: YouTube.

Years ago, Bondi Junction was a favourite stomping ground. The place where we’d get off the bus to catch the train to go to school.

It was a place where nothing much happened, except that it was the place to buy your Levis 501s, where the hamburgers in the food hall still came with beetroot, and because it was where you’d meet boys. It was a good place.

Today, and forever, it will be famous for the worst of reasons. How can you not think about that mother and what she did to save her baby? How can you not see that bloke standing on top of the escalator brandishing a plastic bollard at a man with a knife? How can you ever not see that policewoman running towards the man with the knife while everyone else couldn’t head off fast enough – in the opposite direction?

Despite a multitude of requests, police later issued a media statement saying the policewoman would not be giving any interviews, asking that her privacy be respected and that she was being supported by family and friends. After what she did, to have journalists ask her how she felt killing a man should never happen.

The only saving grace in that glut of distressing coverage was the occasional glimpses of the growing garden of flowers outside. You could almost see the love.

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Then there was the footage in the Sydney church. How can that be allowed to be played over and over again when who knows who is watching it? How can anyone anywhere think it OK for it to be broadcast for all to see? How can that minister, who can never be labelled a victim, have a heart so big that all he wanted to do was forgive his attacker?

But it got worse. People, behaving like wild animals, started attacking the police, the health care workers, all the first responders who brave all elements every shift to help people they don’t know. What do they get for their efforts? These ones became patients themselves, some with broken bones and other serious injuries.

Politicians called for calm, which they do when they don’t know what else to say. South-west Sydney was again in the news for the wrong reasons and more people retreated inside their homes to decorate them with even more bars on the windows, cameras on the doors and fear in their hearts.

Then there was Canberra. Most of us woke on Wednesday morning to be told not to drive near Parliament House because, the first radio news reports said, there was a single vehicle accident where a car had flipped.

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Clearly a bad news story, a car accident, driver and/or passengers likely hurt, but it wasn’t until later that we heard the worst of it. Police said the car was driven by a boy, 15, who was in breach of his bail conditions. The car was reported stolen last week and since then, attempts to stop it had been abandoned as it had been deemed too dangerous in urban areas.

The critically injured boy was placed on life support after being found “badly injured and unresponsive” almost 10 metres away from the vehicle. The car was described as “catastrophically damaged”.

For heaven’s sake.

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