The Napier siege is now over, after police entered the booby-trapped house of the gunman, Jan Molenaar, and found him dead. The cause of his death is still unknown. The body of Len Snee has been recovered and the town of Napier is slowly returning to normalcy. At least, it will when all the explosive devices in Molenaar’s house have been disarmed.
The knee-jerk comments have weevilled out of the woodwork already.
First off the block is the tired old meme that the police brought all this upon themselves because they
a) disregarded Molenaar’s rights/privacy/mana/voodoo;
b) didn’t take the advice of Molenaar’s mother/partner/friend/neighbour/pet cat;
c) pissed off Molenaar because they were rude/intrusive/annoying/breathing loudly
d) had insufficient intelligence because they didn’t spy on him/check with his mates/ask his pet cat.
All of which is utter nonsense. This was a routine drug bust for a minor offense. It is not as if they were coming to arrest the man for murder. And the moron shot three unarmed men. That does not make him irritable, scared or startled. That makes him a murderous coward. Which brings me to the second stupid reaction.
He was really a nice guy.
You know, he was just a “softie” who snapped. This would be why he shot three unarmed men merely because they angered him. EARTH TO DOMINION POST: This is NOT a normal reaction. Normal people do not shoot unarmed policemen. Normal people are argumentative, bloody minded and not averse to some fisticuffs, but they do not shoot down a policeman like a dog. Regardless of whatever imagined provocation, this was the reaction of a very disturbed individual. He was not a normal person who “snapped”.
You can paint idyllic pictures of his childhood and postulate about trigger factors all you want, but the vast majority of people who have been through exactly the same thing are normal and do not shoot policemen. This is not something that “could have happened to anyone”. How many people do you know who have “thousands of rounds of ammunition and explosives”? Which brings us to reaction three.
It must have been the guns. Cue the frenzying of the antigun lobby. Whale-oil points out that no-one called for a ban on air-rifles when Don Wilkinson was shot to death with one, just as no one called for a ban on screwdrivers a few years ago when a road rage victim was stabbed to death with one.
Such was Molenaar’s obsession with guns that he would almost certainly have accumulated his collection even if it had been entirely illegal. The majority of his weapons were, of course, illegal anyway. It is absurd to suggest that banning guns would have prevented this tragedy.
But if you truly want absurdity, then look no further than Peter Cresswell’s argument that this all could have been avoided by legalising cannabis. Superficially, this is true. But it has to be the most pathetic and meaningless argument I have ever heard. We could prevent Meth lab explosions by legalising “P”. We could reduce drunk driving convictions by raising the legal alcohol limit. We could stop statutory rape in a heartbeat by reducing the age of consent to three. You can always reduce the legal consequences of a crime by legalising it. But that does not make it the right thing to do.
I very much doubt if the police did everything perfectly here. No one ever does. But now is not the time to be pointing fingers. Now is not the time for the media to stir the public into a blame frenzy (if there is ever a time for that). Now is the time to let the police and Len Snee’s family mourn the dead in peace. Let Molenaar’s mother lay her son to rest.
Time enough later for recriminations and lessons learned.