I felt ashamed.
It was The Examiner's Twitter handle that informed me a car had been stolen. And not just any car. The Northern Suburbs Community Centre car used to assist people to learn how to drive had been pinched - again.
Obviously, feeling ashamed for the behaviour of my fellow humans did not return the car, nor did it solve the problems we collectively face as a society.
And although there must be consequences because criminal behaviour deserves to be punished, gaol time or youth detention will not stop people stealing cars.
But is not my role, via this weekly column, to be the moral arbiter or the moral compass for readers. Rather, as provocateur, these words should be about raising awareness and putting forward solutions.
IN OTHER NEWS:
The response from most of our community will be to punish those who committed this rotten act, and I agree. But the solution to the underlying issues we face is more nuanced and perhaps even counterintuitive.
In response to criminal behaviour, we must build more neighbourhood houses and community centres. More Child and Family Centres, Men's Sheds, information technology, training hubs and libraries.
We must provide more interventions such as employment driven industries and police officers and teachers, along with teacher assistants, nurses, occupational and speech therapists, psychologists and social workers to deliver the services that we already know are desperately required.
It is a matter of priorities and until we fully comprehend that prevention is better than cure, we will continue to traipse a well-trodden path with reactionary spends at the wrong end of the human cycle.
Investing before entrenching learned behaviours appears common sense, and yet it is difficult to make these types of fiscal decisions palatable to the broader community.
The stolen car was provided to the centre through an initiative known as the Learner Driver Mentor Program and supported by Towards Zero - A Community Road Safety Initiative.
The program is aimed at supporting those who cannot afford lessons or do not have access to a car or for those who have no one to teach them how to drive.
Instructors volunteer through Driver Mentoring Tasmania where they are trained to provide driving tuition.
Thousands of vulnerable Tasmanians including new arrivals to our shores have benefited from this generosity and sense of giving back to the community.
Fortunately, the Hyundai i30 was located by Tasmania Police at 8.30am on Viewbank Road, Newnham after being stolen the evening prior on May 9 about 8.30am. There was only minor damage to the car.
Sadly, the car used for driver training for more than 20 locals with more than 40 already on a waiting list will be out of action as police forensically examine the vehicle. And to top it off, the thieves also attempted to steal the community car.
The Examiner reported: Centre general manager Fiona O'Duffy, who is in just her fourth week at the helm, said the centre would be impacted by the car's theft but the community was the one that had most to lose.
"It's one of those things that you just shake your head at because it's the community members that suffer the most from this," she said.
The thieves showed a total lack of respect which is regularly evident across our community, but does not always result in criminal activity.
However, criminal activity undoubtedly demonstrates a lack of respect.
Ironically, the thieves who stole the vehicle were probably among those who most desperately required the services of a community centre or may have even been clients.
Respect is a feeling coupled with actions that is a perplexing virtue. Trusted community leaders gain respect, but so can prisoners behind bars from their fellow inmates.
There is a school of thought that says you must earn respect. Yet that may well be an outdated saying in a modern society where there has been intergenerational disrespect tragically manifesting as the scourge of domestic violence across our communities.
Not a day goes by where we do not read or hear or see examples of violence and its impact on families. And even though we have become better at recognising and addressing the issues, the cycle of behaviour does not appear to be changing.
The root cause is a total lack of respect, where the only way to break the cycle or protect people from the constant threat is to flee in fear or to incarcerate the perpetrators.
It does not matter where you are from, respect is free. The challenge is that you must recognise it to show it to others.
But state budgets are not cheap and as the upcoming statement approaches, due in August, we must champion initiatives that focus on prevention.
And just as importantly, we should be able to access a set of budget papers that are underpinned by respect - acknowledging the hard work and achievements that have come before but looking ahead to a more fundamentally accessible and inclusive economy that attempts to deliver equality.
To that end, respect will be the driver, and the instructor on the road to our future prosperity.
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