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.