Richard Moore: 'Do what we want' attitude must end

By Richard Moore

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Beraiah Hales (left), pictured with Joseph Parker, left school in May last year after police inquired into claims of an incident involving another student.
Beraiah Hales (left), pictured with Joseph Parker, left school in May last year after police inquired into claims of an incident involving another student.

Doesn't the whole Roast Busters saga shine a spotlight upon just how morally warped society has become?

Let's look at it bit by bit.

We have a group of teenage scumbags who boast about getting underage girls drunk, having sex with them and then shaming them on their internet Facebook site.

It could be the arrogance of a youthful generation that thinks it can do anything without censure or punishment, or is it that these particular lowlives somehow see themselves as special beings who are beyond the law and can publicly admit awful acts with no fear of consequences.

How did they come to have so little respect for basic rules of decency in our society they infest?

When did they develop such utter contempt for the law at such a young age?

And how on Earth did they turn into awful creatures that think young women are of such little value they can regard them only as being sex toys?

Toys to be played with, humiliated and degraded.

In my teenage days in the late 70s naughty stuff went on. But, it was between legally aged teens and, usually, you were in a relationship of sorts.

Yes, you went out hoping to have an exciting time with a new girl but, among my peers, forcing someone to have sex, or getting them boozed or drugged up so they'd be "easy" was not regarded as being the way to go.

And, unlike today, booze was hard to get - the legal age being 20 - and the penalties for being caught with dope were pretty scary. How that has changed.

Due to the lack of backbone among Parliamentarians in not increasing the age to buy alcohol, very young teens are getting boozed in our cities.

Young bucks cause trouble and young women put themselves at terrible risk of being preyed upon by tormentors like those associated with Roast Busters.

Apart from firmer personal boundaries, in the '70s we still had the cane at school and if you wanted to misbehave in the real world there were coppers who would give you a short, sharp lesson in behaviour and manners.

Before they could say: "You can't do that ..." young smartmouths would be reeling from a whack around the ears.

If you complained to your parents they would just as likely give you a smoosh for being cheeky to the police.

Nowadays, a young woman can complain to the police about an alleged sexual assault involving Roast Busters and two years later nothing will have been done. Senior police commanders stated they had no official complaints so they couldn't take greater action against accused Roast Busters - despite the fact the youths had pretty much done all the hard work by publicly confessing to outrages.

Of course it turned out four girls had complained - those reports just hadn't been handed up the police leadership chain.

And we discover that a Roast Buster's step-father just so happened to be a policeman in the district the offences had occurred in. There have been lots of mixed messages from the senior boys in blue about who didn't know and whether investigations were done, but one thing comes through very strongly.

They will protect those accused of heinous acts from usually law-abiding citizens outraged enough by the Roast Busters to want to sort them out privately. If only the police had spent as much energy dealing with the tormentors in the first place.

While I may point my finger and waggle it at the police, some in the media haven't exactly shone over the affair.

Shock jocks Willie Jackson and John Tamihere have earned the ire of both listeners and advertisers with their less-than-sympathetic questioning of a teenage girl who had dealings with the Roast Busters.

Their usual bad taste, you could say, but then it is reported Tamihere knows the family of one of the Roast Busters.

I know that in New Zealand there is only one degree of separation between anyone and everyone, but if there was a connection JT should have disclosed it on his show.

At the time of writing this column 63,000 people had signed a petition to the Prime Minister demanding action against this nasty little group.

It's good to see the community unite against the Roast Busters and all I can say is that those predators deserve whatever comes their way.

Just as in our society we are now reaping what we have sown with a couple of generations of young ratbags who have either been set no boundaries - or think there will not be any consequences to their appalling actions.

It is beyond time that our MPs, parents and the community realised that allowing children and teens to run wild with an exaggerated sense of self-importance, no desire to obey the rules and a "we'll do what we want" attitude will only continue society's downwards spiral.

After all, when we have retired it will be those of the Roast Busters generation who will be running the country. That's not a pleasant thought.

Richard Moore is an award-winning Western Bay journalist and photographer.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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