Futile Mass Surveillance

lindtA lone gunman takes 17 hostages at Sydney’s Lindt Chocolat Cafe in Martin Place on 15 December 2014. The Iranian gunman has been identified as Man Haron Monis. After 17 hours of suspense, the hostage drama ended with the gunman and two hostages dead. According to news, the lone gunman started to doze off at around 2 am. Seizing the opportunity, the cafe manager, Tori Johnson tried to disarm the gunman while the hostages took the opportunity to storm out of the cafe. In the scuffle that ensued, firearms were discharged and the heroic attempt was only partly successful. The gunman and the cafe manager were shot dead, so was another hostage, Katrina Dawson. In all, 15 survived the siege. It is not known who shot the dead people during the scuffle. The bullets could have been from friendly fire.The armed police was reported to have reacted in the incident with firearms too.

According to reports, Man Haron Monis is a known “terrorist” who is still under bail for more than 40 sexual assault charges involving seven alleged victims and as an accessory to the murder of his former wife. The Sydney Morning Herald reported that “The NSW government has called for an investigation into why Monis “slipped through the cracks” of the judicial system and was released from custody.” The real question is: Did he slip through the cracks or is he allowed to go free with the knowledge that he may commit crimes? The circumstances of his release (without being monitored) is a little suspicious. Tony Abbot hailed that Man Haron Monis is not in his security watchlist. If this man (with such colourful credentials) is not in Tony’s watchlist, maybe your name is.

For one lone gunman to hold 17 hostages is no easy matter. He has to be extremely vigilant looking after them constantly. Unless the hostages were tied or locked, keeping so many hostages at bay by just one lone man is no easy task. At any moment, a well trained hostage could turn offensive and take him on. Especially after 17 hours of siege and into the wee hours of the morning, a tired and sleepy gunman could be overpowered once he let his guts down.

The Lindt Cafe is a clear exposition that governments cannot prevent suicidal maniacs from committing atrocities. With such detailed knowledge of a known criminal, he was allowed to be set loose. There was apparently no subsequent monitoring of his activities. This “terrorist” managed to evade security forces to commit another hideous crime. It is pure propaganda and illusionary that the state can protect its citizens using pervasive surveillance done with all the billion-dollar state-of-the-art technologies. These measures implemented by governments are means of population control rather than for the protection of the man in the street. Mass surveillance cannot deter determined criminals. In fact, the effect may just be the opposite.

People must learn to protect themselves from simple acts of violence like learning basic self-defence skills. Young women especially should equip themselves with potent defensive skills like Krav Maga (Israeli art of self defence) and protective gears. This gunman is only one man with 40 sexual assault charges tagged to him. There are many more stalking the streets because the law allows them to and the billions spent on security are not effective. In the case of the Lindt Cafe incident, one burly trained person in the hostage group may have been adequate to disarm and neutralise the gunman. The manager of the cafe may have been alive today and three young kids may still have their mother.

The Lindt Cafe came to a tragic ending. Innocent lives were lost. Many others may suffer trauma from the event. Those who must grieve over dead ones deserves support. Grief should not be allowed to be transformed into murderous anger. It is this vicious cycle of murderous anger that has caused the pains of many people. Violence begets violence. While it is tragic, let grief turns into hope. A hope that a nation so far away from the rest of the world will not be allowed be turned into a murderous land just because of unforgiving people and foolish policies that the leaders have instituted.


Romans 12:19
Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.


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