What does one do with 1,000,000 camels?

Did you know that parts of Australia’s Outback are becoming overrun by wild camels? Yep, the country is now home to around 1 million camels roaming the vast tracts of desert. Camels in Australia?! Where on earth did they come from in the first place? Apparently camels were first introduced to Australia in the mid-1800s to transport goods across the desert.When trucks and trains made the beasts of burden unneeded, their owners simply turned them loose. The camel population has now exploded in parts of central, northern and western Australia. “The feral camel population is growing by about 10 percent each year and doubling in size every eight years,” says a local expert. These wild beasts are beginning to encroach on agricultural land, causing extensive damage. Camels used to be out of sight, out of mind, living in the more remote desert areas but now they are moving out into better country, to pastoral land. So in a nutshell these poor camels were deemed useless, thrown out to fend for themselves, they got annoyed and now they’re chomping back. There’s too many of them to manage easily and if one decided to do something along the lines of ‘eliminating the problem’ then animal rights activists from one end of the globe to another would be up in arms.

Where am I going with this………..

Yesterday afternoon I opened the door with my normal joy at seeing my son return home from school. He was standing on the doorstep, tall and tidy but his eyes were filled with tears, ‘Mama I just got mugged’. He was so calm that at first I thought he must be joking (he’s going through that strange 12-year old sense of humour bypass stage where he thinks the most peculiar things are funny) but when he fell into my arms I realized this was serious. ‘Are you alright?’ ‘Did they hurt you?’ ‘What happened?’ ———- the stock questions all come tumbling out. But what you really want to ask was ‘Why wasn’t I there?’ ‘How could I let this happen?’ ‘Why don’t I take him to school, sit outside his classroom door and bring him home in the evenings?’ – Well of course you don’t because you can’t and you shouldn’t.

My son was walking along minding his own business, 5 minutes away from his home. He was not using his phone (a Christmas present from his father). He was not playing his gaming console (a Christmas present from his godfather). He was not waving around his new watch (a £20. watch I recently bought him as reward for doing so well on his last school report). He was just walking home after a hard day at school, getting ready to have a snack, a 15 minute break and then beginning his nightly revision. 6 older teenage boys surrounded him ‘Keep walking!!!!!!’ – apparently this is the new method that way the incident attracts less attention and just looks like a group of boys walking along while they threaten you and relieve you of your possessions.

The police arrived at our door shortly afterwards and bless his cotton socks he was brilliant my boy. He was calm, unruffled, remembered lots of details. But I sat there quietly to one side realizing that his innocence is now firmly gone. My Baby Boy has experienced yet another rite of passage that is sadly oh too familiar in today’s society. He told me that he will be the 4th boy in his form room in the past few months to be mugged – and the only one who wasn’t hurt. Apparently the logic is that you see a boy in a private school uniform then that means he is rich and ‘has stuff’. Well of course that couldn’t be further from the truth in most instances. It might just mean, as in my case, that I thought if I work hard and sacrifice to send him to a good school then maybe he won’t be hanging around on the streets with 5 other fellas looking to harass other kids intimidating them and stealing their belongings.

What does my son being mugged have to do with 1,000,000 camels?…………A small segment of society that no one cared about? Ignored and put on the periphery of society? Left to fend for themselves? Multiplying? Running wild? Invading territory where the pickings are more abundant and there is more to feed on? Situation now way beyond the point of an easy solution…….

We all know that on many subjects I am just to the right of Genghis Khan. And I am certainly NOT going to give the ‘let’s give them some hobbies so they won’t be bored’. More inclined to say ‘let’s give them some morals so they know right from wrong’. But we have got to do something. These 6 kids aren’t out there mugging my son because they’re bored. Though there was a conversation between them about the wisdom of taking his Oystercard, you somehow know it wasn’t so they could have free transport to go to the nearest museum or library. These kids are out there mugging and getting up to all sorts because they have no sense of decency. No pride in themselves. Nobody putting a boot up their backside and telling them to toe the line. And I do NOT want to hear ‘and nothing to live for’. You don’t get an envelope with your birth certificate containing a slip of paper with ‘What you are here to live for’. You find that out yourself. And please don’t tell me ‘That’s not our job that’s what they have parents for’. Good theory – isn’t working as a reality – we’re picking up the pieces, or wiping the dust of our children’s knees.

We can think it’s not our concern as much as we want – it is now most places, and ‘soon to becoming everywhere and to a leafy lane by you.’ There are no ivory towers anymore and remember : If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.

Please send postcards with solutions/ideas to : Miss Morag Mindbender and her son, Close to Leafy Lane, Close to Your Home, Next Door to Your Children.



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11 responses to “What does one do with 1,000,000 camels?

  1. Ray

    My sweet Morag,

    all my best to you and yours.

    Hope the little one is feeling better.

    (I hate to disagree with you, but you say “If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem”. Not sure about that. :))

  2. I’m so sorry this has happened to your son and, consequently, to you, Morag. It is just awful and no excuses whatsoever can be made for the perpetrators. Yes, the only thing they are crying out for is some discipline.

  3. As a victim of bullying in school, which my parents either chose to ignore or thought that it was normal, I can empathise. As for camels, plans are afoot to turn them into sausages and hamburgers. I just posted on this.

  4. dolbyn

    ok first before i read this post i just want to make a mental note to not make a joke about camels “humping” like rabits.

  5. dolbyn

    read post now – have only been mugged once and to this day i dont know if i would count it as such. walking from the office to the station when i was working in north london a few years back – took a short cut i had taken for month by some old tennis courts, i had my laptop in a laptop bag and was on the phone talking to friends who were at a nearby pub.

    3 ‘kids’ of about 18 years were walking towards me and as i passed made a grab for my laptop, instinctivly i pulled it back at which point one of them pulled out a knife, i stupedly still resisted, and was using the laptop bag as a shield/wepon – f it had gone on longer than 60 seconds i’d have ended up far worse than i did, but luckly a mother pushing a buggy called out – whats going on and they ran off – so all i ended up with was bruises and a laptop bag with cuts/gashes in it. it shocked me for days. since then i only carry my laptop in a regular backpack and i dont draw attention to myself. I take the longer route because its better lit and i always seem to hold my breath as i pass a group of kids that seem to up to no good.

    My solution or responce to your post? Before i say this – i hope that you know me well enough to know i am not being cruel or trivializing to your son. I dont know him and i dont really know you, but i do count you as an “online friend” and somebody i am honest with…. its a rite of passage, one that no child should go through but knowing its inevitability its one that am gratefull ended without loss of anything important. Its not your fault, its not your sons fault, you do a great job from all you have said, and your son sounds a good lad. Yes hes always going to be mroe warry , more ‘aware’ than he may have been and i think thats good, like falling off a bike, it changes you a little.

    As for the muggers, theres a line, there are several lines, but there is a line in morality which poeple feel is a barrier, sometimes people cross that line and do things that are bad. be it robbery, murder, rape. Things that knowingly and deliberatly hurt another person. Once that lines crossed it kinda fades and is replaced by a line further along. I dont really believe in rehabilitation. I believe you can train a person to keep rules because of fear, i believe you can teach a person to “act” decently, but i have yet to be convinced that you can make bad into good. so my answer ? Build more prisons. I could have suggested moving somewhere better, saddly i dont think such places really exist, they just seem to, like the green grass in the next field.

    best wishes to you and your son.

  6. I’m sorry to hear your story, Morag and I hope your son is feeling okay. Nearly every person I spoke to during the election campaign mentioned law and order as an issue. One couple – who moved in to a nice area – were subjected to loud music, beer bottles thrown at their house and general threatening behaviour. I was shocked to hear their story, as this area is fairly affluent. It goes on everywhere. The response they got from the police was lukewarm to say the least, however when the police move them on they only create problems for someone else. I will be visiting this couple in the next few days along with one of our new councillors to see what we can do for them, but it is a problem deeply rooted in to society now, so there are no easy answers.

  7. Ted

    First thought is that perpetrators should be sought and punished. As New York showed you can cut crime by enforcement.
    Second is how do we stop good becoming bad as its hard to convert bad to good. Seems to me it is social breakdown and the causes of that which must be addressed. Small steps perhaps to start with but it’s the fatherless families, the drugs, the poverty both in money but also in hope that needs addressing. Hope of a better future and support in getting there, not just cash but help that stregthens the parents and through stronger families and family love and discipline reduces the number drawn to street crime.

  8. Sharlene Y. Velazquez

    The disparity in distance is due to John walking back to his home in Geelong after reaching Cape Byron . Both the ALCMF and ALDS help children with progressive degenerative brain disease, which gives rise to mobility problems. The progress of John’s second journey was broadcast by Ian McNamara’s ABC radio’s ‘Australia All Over’ program on Sundays. John completed the walk in 200 days, finishing on 3 January 2009.

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