well... We're back from a relaxing weekend away in the North Queensland sun, only to find it was a weekend filled with unprecedented violence in Sydney. We live about 15 minutes from the main flashpoint and about 5 minutes down the road from the secondary area to which the violence spilled over - in fact Laurette grew up in the "Sutherland Shire" region to which Cronulla is the heart. To say that it's a nasty shock is an understatement, however, I think with many things like this, once it happens you can use 20-20 hindsight to suggest that it was becoming more and more likely.
In some cases you see that it started with a weekend of young Australians "taking back the beach" in an area which had become more and more dangerous - there were recent attacks on the iconic life savers by youths in the area recently which is a cheap shot in anyone's language - attacking those who volunteer so many hours to making the beaches safer for others. Some of the "rioters" initially appeared no more dangerous than the crowd at a football match following their teams victory - it was hard to consider them to be capable of turning to such violent acts when they were in the middle of singing our national anthem - a song with "girt by sea" is not exactly what you would consider "hard as nails".
I don't really want to add too much at the moment as it's still sinking in as to the impact of the riots, the driving force behind them and to just what extent people have taken advantage of the opportunity to rebel against so many constraints in today's society.
As for the Australian "Lucky Country" image - sadly, I think it is under threat of being revised following our recent track record - international drug smugglers, terrorist activity and now racism riots have become the imagery attached to this land that I love so much...