Sunday, 21 June 2020

The Enormous Damage Being Done By BLM Protesters.

The Black Lives Matter Protests.

On May 25th, 2020, a chap called George Floyd died because a policeman knelt on his neck for far too long, presumably in order to control him.  Floyd died, and although the actions of the policeman were probably a direct cause of the death, there were contributing factors such as drugs in his system.  The policeman has been charged with murder,  the three officers who stood close and did not stop him, have also been charged.

It was a white man killing a black man, and that was enough to start a series of protests, often very violent, that have spread across the world.

The white policeman should not have killed the man, even though it does not appear that he knew he was killing him.  He is now charged with murder, and the three policemen with him, (assorted races)  have also been charged.

A few days later, another black man was killed by a white policeman.  This was Rayshard Brooks. He was found asleep in his car, blocking the driveway of a fast food place.  He resisted arrest, injured a policeman as he did so, grabbed a taser and fired it at police as he fled. He was shot dead.
The one who shot him has now been charged with 'Felony Murder,' even though there is an argument that he acted within the law.

The subsequent protests are now causing enormous damage.

Firstly, they are causing damage by spreading the Covid 19 Virus.

Most countries have not yet emerged from the strict restrictions that were aimed at reducing the spread of Covid 19.  Gradually, carefully, the restrictions were being lifted.  But now there are mass gatherings, day after day,  and the care has all gone by the wayside, the sacrifices made by millions of people wasted.

In Victoria, Australia, community infections had been at almost nil, and restrictions were being gradually lifted. But three weeks later, three positive cases have been identified that were at that first BLM protest, and in the last three days, numbers of infections have spiked.  Restrictions are being re-imposed.

So far, other states of Australia appear to have escaped any spread, no thanks to the selfish and brainless activists  who decided to show their contempt for all of those who have so faithfully followed the rules.

In America, in Britain, in Europe, it is far, far worse.  There were still new infections appearing daily, their death toll was far higher than Australia's mere 102,  and now they have little hope of control.  Many more people will die because the protesters preferred to gather in large concentrations than to protest in a different way.

A surge of infections is being reported in America. It is a bit over three weeks since the demonstrations started.  There will be more to come, and more in other countries.

Secondly,  damage to lives and to property.

The initial demonstrations, as reported,  were very violent. People were assaulted, a few killed,  there was a great deal of looting,  and businesses were set on fire.

May 28th, Fires in Minneapolis

During riots in London

A figure for Minnisota alone:

'The property destruction and looting during some of the protests over George Floyd’s May 25 death in police custody will cost insurers at least $25 million dollars — and that’s in Minnesota alone.  That estimate is according to Property Claim Services, an insurance industry company that monitors “catastrophes.”  But that report was around a fortnight ago.  The figure would be far. far higher by now.

And now, incredibly, the rioters have been allowed to take control of six city blocks in Seattle.  They declare it a 'police-free area,' and no longer part of America. They call it 'Chaz,'  (or they did for a day or so, now 'Chop.')  There is more damage there, fires, looting, and a sort of 'taxing' of any resident who has the misfortune to be white.

Businesses owned by blacks are not exempt from attack. There is a video that went viral, a middle-aged black women who was saying "Just whose black lives matter?" Because her life and her business did not appear to matter to the rioters at all!

On the 7th June, they began targeting statues. The one that we heard of first was a man called Edward Colston, (died 1721) who had a statue erected in Bristol, UK. He was a philanthropist, but is said to have been involved in slave trading. On the 7th June, the statue was toppled.

But the mania for destroying statues has spread, and as the destroyers do not appear ever to have taken in anything of their history classes, their targets are increasingly random.

I saw an interview on BBC TV,  (UK)  A discussion of why the statue of Winston Churchill had been targeted.  The woman was apparently speaking on behalf of the activists.  She said that she wasn't sure,  - 'I have never met the man.'   I find such ignorance astounding.

For those victims of poor education, Winston Churchill died in 1965.  He fought Hitler, who was a true fascist dictator.

Statue of Matthis Baldwin
with a particularly ignorant activist

The ignorant activists have even attacked a statue of man who fought for the Abolition of slaves, one Matthias Baldwin.

And they attack those who are simply explorers, Captain James Cook and Christopher Columbus.  I am assuming it is a general expression of hatred of everything that we expect of a civilised society.  Some of those who protest for 'Black Lives Matter' are good people,  but some are savages, and by that, I am not referring to blacks, though they can be savages as well.  But too many innocent bystanders have been attacked by rioters, just because they were there.

Police defending the statue of Captain Cook

A statue of Abraham Lincoln is being targeted, although so far with a petition rather than with violence. He stands with a freed slave. I didn't bother reading the rationale for objecting to this. A rational person would assume it to be totally non offensive.  Sadly, there are few rational activists, at least in this movement.

And now a statue of George Washington has been toppled.

George Washington, 1st president of America

Casualties resulting from the movement are not only white.

From website: 'The Conservative Hippie.'

But sadly, her image has been taken off a brand of cake mix.  She is now a 'stereotype,' and no longer politically correct.

The film 'Gone With The Wind' has been criticised as racist.  I guess the slaves were not shown as sufficiently  miserable.

An actress, Hattie McDaneil, was granted an Oscar for her role in that film, so I guess that is going to be written off as well.

Objections to things described as 'racist' are becoming more and more ludicrous.

'Colonial Beer' has been targeted for its somehow racist references, and, cravenly, is planning a change of name.

Even the cereal, 'Coco Pops,' how now been called 'racist' because it features a brown monkey.  Now any rational person would have always seen that as a monkey.  Only a true racist could see it as a brown person, so maybe those objecting to it are are the real racists.

I do hope that Kellogg's do not decide to cringe to the twit who complained. There is far too much cringing going on and we are the poorer for it.

There are threats to the song 'Swing Low, Sweet Chariot,' even though written by a freed slave, and mostly performed by blacks.


No more cringing, no more kneeling. 

Winston Churchill once said that appeasement is like feeding a crocodile in the hope that it eats you last.

And so it is.  Give way on little things,  and bullies will demand more and more.  They cannot be appeased, no matter how many people 'take a knee,' and no matter how the authorities concede to more and more unreasonable demands.

'Defund the Police?'  How utterly ridiculous!

Kneeling to the mob,  or 'taking a knee' to protest racism and police brutality - it will make not the slightest difference.

Humiliating the authorities and  grovelling apologies for offences both real and imagined - it is not going to make a difference.

Oxford's  Oriel College has decided to remove the statue of Sir Cecil Rhodes. Rhodes Scholarships have helped thousands who would otherwise have had no opportunity of an Oxford education.

From a letter to the editor in The Australian,' (June 20-21)  about this -  'For ingratitude and intellectual and moral cowardice,  that will take some beating.'  (John Stone, Rhodes scholar, 1951)

Voluntarily removing statues, paintings, music or films  - it will make no difference.  The bullies are merely emboldened.

People have to stop kneeling and they have to stand up for the rule of order and civilisation.  They have to stand up for the importance of our history.  It should not be whitewashed, but equally, it should not be smeared with untrue allegations.  We have to stand up against the pretend morality we know as political correctness.  And we most definitely have to stand up against the lies.


A grave effect of the wide-spread demonstrations are the effects on both the morale and the safety of police.  We used to play cops and robbers.  Who would have thought that one day, so many would be on the side of the robbers?

So how does it feel when you try and do your duty, face potentially dangerous situations in the course of your duty - and are reviled for it?

Well, some simply quit. 14/6/20.  Every SWAT member resigned from a team in Florida over safety concerns and ‘police chief taking a knee’."   A quote from that article - “The risk of carrying out our duties in this capacity is no longer acceptable to us and our families. The anguish and stress of knowing that what we may be lawfully called upon to do in today’s political climate.”

The link below will take you to an emotional video made by a resigning police officer: After ten years of service, 'There's a lot that would rather see you dead just because of the uniform you wear."

This article below speaks of more police quitting - a 'Massive Exodus.'

Some demonstrators carry signs that openly advocate violence toward police. And on 21st June, there was news of a human effigy, one depicting a policeman, hanged from a bridge.

Australia, June 15th, 2020, 

Craig Kelly, MP.  wrote 'Last Monday night, the ABC broadcast the lie that 400 aboriginals were ‘’murdered’’ in jail.   Tuesday night, a Moree police officer was almost killed when a large rock was thrown which smashed through the window of her police car.  We reap what we sow.' 

Police are injured and killed in their performance of their job.

When the media join in with the activists and the frank criminals in reviling the police, it is an encouragement for more people to attack them.

'Police Officer Shot During Las Vegas is Now Paralyzed, Family Says.''

'Shay is just one of the many who've been wounded or killed during the now nearly three weeks of unrest that followed the May 25 death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer. Among those killed is 77-year-old David Dorn, a retired police captain who was shot to death on June 2 while trying to protect his friend's pawnshop from looters.' 

CNN, January 13th, 2019,   Headline: Two female rookie police officers have been shot and killed in two days.

An incident in the UK when police officers are attacked just for being police officers: 13/6/20

Abuse and insults, too: 

This was written by the wife of a policeman. The family made a routine trip to Walmart, and were insulted - because he was a policeman.  "My husband is a good man. My husband is not perfect. My husband makes mistakes. My husband is the type of person that would help anyone at any time. My husband is a police officer. Today I watched the light in my husband and my son's eyes leave." 

And yet, we still have police willing to stand and do their duty as best they can.  

Sometimes, it is harder than at other times.  And maybe the hardest times are when instructions come from above that tell you not to interfere in crimes, as seems to be happening in these criminal demonstrations.  They sometimes calling it 'de-escalating' the situation.  Seattle police abandoned a police station rather than fight.  That was 'de-escalation.'  The ex police station is now surrounded by a lawless  'Autonomous Zone.' 

I have seen British policemen running from the mob.  That was a sad sight.  

What sort of people are these police who continue to do their duty? 

Fellow author Donald Tate put it better than I can.

Don Tate
By Donald William Tate: 'But I have to ask- who would want to be a police officer? Imagine fishing out a drowned, bloated body from the water. Or standing guard over a suicide victim hanging from a tree or the rafters of a house. Or rushing a battered baby to hospital? Or standing in the emergency ward of a hospital as a rape kit is applied to a victim of gang rape. Or picking up the pieces of bodies destroyed in a car smash or a suicide in front of a train? Or finding a decapitated murder victim in a home, like some have. What about turning up at a domestic violence situation where a woman is being bashed only to have both parties then turn on you? To have to remove items from the vaginas or the anus' of drug addicts? Or to allow a speeding, stolen car to proceed and put the community at risk because to try and stop it might result in an accident and the offender becoming a 'death in custody'? Would you like to deal with anti-social louts and thugs who commit crime and then when caught, think they can resist arrest and assault you? Where else does an employee only have to deal with the dregs of society, and rarely with decent men and women? Imagine the sights and smells they have to take home with them from the deaths that they investigate, and which will haunt them all the rest of their days. And all the while, knowing that you are always subject to vexatious complaint, always having to justify each of their actions as they do their best to keep the community safe? Imagine how you old react with a manic protestor screaming and swearing and spitting in your face in the most aggressive of ways and not be able to sit that person on his or her backside. So who wants to be a police officer? I'll tell you- men and women of principle, courage, and a sense of civic duty, that's who.'

'Defunding the Police.'

Some try and defend this absurd demand by saying that they do not actually mean 'defunding the police.'  What it really means, they say, is that the police should be re-organised and 'systemic racism' expunged.

Where would we be without police?   'Chaz' or 'Chop' in Seattle is some demonstration of the chaos and crime that comes from no police .

June 13, 2020  -  'Police have been unable to respond to “rapes, robberies, and all sorts of violent acts” occurring in Seattle’s East Precinct, which authorities abandoned on Monday, leaving the area in the hands of activists who set up their own police-free “Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone” (CHAZ), Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best said Thursday.

The police chief is now working on a plan to reopen the precinct, telling reporters calls for service “have more than tripled.”

“These are responses to emergency calls — rapes, robberies, and all sorts of violent acts that have been occurring in the area that we’re not able to get to,” she said.'

The 'Autonomous Zone,' ie no police.

There was a shooting, which killed a man and injured another. (20/6/20)   Violent crowds did not permit the police to investigate.

Today, 22nd June, early reports are coming out of gangs going door-to-door within the zone, raping and stealing as they will.  There is no confirmation yet, but it is likely. There is no law, and for the criminals, no fear of retribution.

The damage to race relations:

By far the biggest damage caused by these 'Black Lives Matter' demonstrations, whether violent or peaceful. is the damage to race relations.  I wonder if we can ever recover.

The problem is that some blacks feel aggrieved at unfairness, even when in most places, most times,  it is more a perception of unfairness than reality.  And many whites have hopped onto the bandwagon in pursuit of what they see as equality and to protest racism. 

Some blacks are very annoyed at this, and there are several videos appearing that point out that they are not discriminated against and are actually doing quite nicely.  In the You-tube video, link below.   Deron Slater (black man)  says that blacks have to start looking for the truth.  He is well spoken, and very well informed. He is highly critical of BLM, which he says is based on a lie - 'Hands up, don't shoot.' He is also critical of the Liberals (American Liberals)  for their ignorance and their hypocrisy.   "The first blacks that were in Congress were all Republicans."  

The video is well worth listening to.

The protests are not being criticised in the way they should be by the media,  and what is presented as fact is often not so at all.

For example, in Australia, our own national broadcaster, the ABC, did not challenge the claim that over 400 Aboriginal people had been killed in custody since the 1987 Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody.  They have even called them 'murders,' although most deaths were from natural causes, some suicides. The findings of the Royal Commission were that Aboriginals in custody died less often than whites in custody.  Less often.  Every year or two, there is a review, and those reports are the same - that Aboriginals in custody are dying less often than whites in custody.

But marchers in our cities wave placards saying that 432 murders in the past 30 years and no convictions.  There were no convictions because not a single one of those people was murdered.

As for George Floyd and Rayshard Brooks, they have been presented as innocent victims,  almost as saints - saints and martyrs.  A massive funeral was held for George Floyd. They called him 'a gentle giant,' even though he had served time in prison for armed robbery, and even though drugs were found in his car.

And Rayshard Brooks.  I saw an ABC report (Australia)  that said that Atlanta police had found him asleep in a car, and had then shot and killed him.  They omitted to say that in between finding the man asleep, there was a 'sobriety test',  (which he failed)  an attempted arrest, a struggle during which one of the police was injured, and that the man managed to take a taser from one of the police and fire it at them.

The reports are slanted.  A fellow author wrote about the reporting on George Floyd.

Lorraine Cobcroft -

"Why doesn't the media, worldwide, broadcast that two coroners' reports declared George Floyd did not die from pressure on his neck? Why did they cut the part of the video that showed him raising his head? Why did they not quote the study that validated the police force instruction to police that they SHOULD use the exact tactics Chauvin employed when a suspect resisted arrest and was a danger to either themselves or the arresting officers? Why did they not expose the fact that Chauvin was following procedure - and perhaps it's those who devised or endorsed the procedure who should be held to account? Why did they claim Chauvin 'has a history' when in fact that history was of only one complaint against him (average is 3 per year against a policeman) and being decorated for valour? Why did they not emphasize the fact that Floyd was heavily affected by multiple illegal and quite deadly drugs and that he had a weak heart? Why did they not show him actively resisting arrest?Because it's all about making a story that stirs up public anger and drives people to act in ways that create more stories. The truth is boring! There's no news in peace and stability, and there's no profit when there's no news.
What is sad is that so many simply swallow the lies and make no effort to search for the truth."

Some placards seem to assert that no blacks should never be put in prison because they might die there.  I doubt if their victims would agree with that ambition.

Certainly blacks in America, in Britain and in Australia, are over-represented in incarceration rates.  And that is because they are even more over-represented in criminal statistics.

America -  According to the FBI, black men make up 6.5 per cent of the population in America and they commit 52 per cent of all murders


The statistics on Aboriginal crime are even worse.  This is not a 'national disgrace' as we are so often told, it is a disgrace that all of the money and all of the programmes for the benefit of Aboriginals only appear to make the problem worse. This is an Aboriginal disgrace.

Aboriginal victims, mostly the victims of Aboriginal men, have reason to hope that their co-called 'Loved Ones' are not let out of gaol early.  According to a Curtin University analysis:  'Indigenous females and males are 35 times and 22 times as likely to be hospitalised due to family violence related assaults as other Australian females and males.'    

Jacinta Price

Aboriginal lady Jacinta Price speaks a lot about the problems of Aboriginal violence toward other Aboriginals. She does not regard racism as any sort of a problem.

She says:  "It’s time to stop feeding into a narrative that promotes racial divide, a narrative that claims to try to stamp out racism but applies racism in doing so and encourages a racist over reaction. Yes, it is time for some truth telling." 

The other side:

The police force does contain some men who are natural born bullies.  Probably, they are drawn to it as a place where they get to throw their weight around. But even then, most of their duties, most of the time, are for the benefit of the public.  There is seldom space for any real police brutality, especially not now when cameras are everywhere.

But there are some practices that really are worth questioning.  For instance,  is it really necessary for American police to handcuff those they arrest as a matter of routine?  Australian police do not routinely handcuff those they arrest, although they may if they make themselves a nuisance.  Most British police are not even armed, although when I see them running from, or kneeling to the mob, I think that maybe they should be. But being handcuffed behind the back - it would not be just a humiliation - it would be uncomfortable for most, and painful for some, depending on body type. It was when he was being handcuffed that Rayshard Brooks stopped cooperating and ran.  And that resulted in his death.

'Stereotyping' is often criticised. But all experienced police 'stereotype' on the balance of probabilities.  In Australia, for instance, we have  'random breath tests' to check for those driving under the influence of alcohol. Usually, they are particular places and everyone going past is pulled up for a check. But sometimes, they are more targeted.  A young chap in a fast car will be stopped for a 'random' breath test rather more often that his parents in an ordinary car will be stopped.  That is because a young chap in a fast car is more likely to be speeding or under the influence of alcohol or drugs than his parents would be.

Looking for the more likely culprits of a crime saves time.  It is not worth bothering the ladies of the Christian association checking for signs that they may be Islamic terrorists. It would be a waste of time.  And they are not likely to be home invaders or car-jackers, either, while the young men of the Sudanese community are something like 77 times as likely to commit those offences as other people.  Some may call it 'racial profiling.'  Some places, that is banned.

But if you are a victim of such 'profiling'  or 'stereotyping' and you have not done anything wrong, then you will feel it as unfair.  And if you are convinced that if you are black and that the police are perfectly likely to beat you up or even kill you, then you will be terrified when there is an encounter with the police.  

A fellow called Jim Trainer describes an encounter. He was pulled up by the police because he fit the description given by a victim of a burglary close by.  He was afraid.  The police were careful, and instead of trying to take him to the police station for the victim to identify, they brought the victim to him.  She said it was not him, and he was free to leave.  But he was very shaken.

But his story gives no credit to the police, who probably suspected that he would resist arrest, and so went to the trouble of collecting the witness instead.

He was afraid, and the police are very wary of every man they have to arrest, probably especially black men, as they kill policemen more often that white men kill those whom they arrest.  And that is fact; it is not racism.

When a frightened man has to interact with another frightened man, the results can be tragic.  These demonstrations, with their exaggerations and sometimes frank lies of the dangers of black men dying in police custody, are making blacks more afraid of the police than they should be.  In one of the Australian demonstrations, there was a placard being carried by a child - 'Please don't kill me.'  Statistically, that child is far more likely to be killed by one of his own family than he is of being killed by police.

The 'Stop Killing Us' message is frequent in these marches.  When children believe it to be true, then they will regard police as enemies, not protectors.

And this is a very bad thing.

"What did you do?" 

Look at this cartoon. It has no truth in it.  What it does do is  generate fear and hatred.

Sir Martin Luther King, Jnr

Sir Martin Luther King said, 'I have a dream.'

'I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.'

20 or 30 years ago, it had largely come true.  There were black teachers, black hairdressers, black lawyers, black congressman, and in 2012, a black president was elected. Nearly always, blacks and whites (and any other race)  treated each other by the content of their character, not by the colour of their skin.  Culture was still relevant, race was not.  Most of us were effectively 'colour-blind.'

But then those who think they are better than anyone else had to start looking for racism.  If you look hard enough, and imagine it hard enough, you can find it everywhere, even in a race-horse named 'Blackman' after an explorer.  (The owners changed the name)   There has not been enough true racism, so the term has been expanded and expanded and expanded until it has become total nonsense.  Sadly, it is dangerous nonsense.  This mania for finding racism is producing division, not unity.  The fear generated by lies about 'white supremicists' and police brutality and 'systemic racism'  are driving us further apart.

They pretend to be fighting racism. But they only produce division, fear and hatred. 

The Damage caused by 'Black Lives Matter' protests:

They are damaging our health by spreading Covid 19,  they are damaging property and they are causing injury, even some violent deaths.  They are harming our police and they are reducing the rule of law and civilised behaviour.  But most of all, they are likely to have a harmful and long lasting effect on race relations.

We need to return to the concept promoted by Sir Martin Luther King.  We need to judge people by the content of their character.  We need to render radical activists harmless.  They only cause hatred and division.

 Books by authors Donald William Tate and by Lorraine Cobcroft

They are both biographies, although Lorraine's is a fictionalised biography - a child taken to a Catholic institution as neglected. 

Don's book is an autobiography.  It includes his experiences in the Vietnam war.  He pulls no punches in his narrative.   

Two excellent books.  Find them online at booksellers such as Amazon and Smashwords.

Sunday, 12 April 2020

Covid-19, the first pandemic.

We are living in historical times, and one day, records will be important, what we are doing and thinking as the world changes around us. I think I should keep a diary. I think a lot of us should keep diaries.

One of my books ventured into the future and spoke of pandemics. It was published in 2014.  In my story, I called the first pandemic 'Pan 1.' I had it starting in 2023, but in my book, it took the young as well as the old, and its death toll was far higher.  What I imagined was more serious than Covid-19.

But  'Then came the next pandemic. This one was different. This one killed the healthy as well as the old and sick. This time, action was very quick, reducing the spread. Areas were quarantined, borders closed, international trade and travel ceased. The hardest hit were places that were over-crowded and with poor hygiene. It did mean that the last of the wars stopped - members of armies were either dead or had fled.'

And a slightly later excerpt -

'School and university buildings were empty. People studied now online or not at all. No-one knew how long that would last. Some drugs once deemed essential were no longer available. Some suffered because of it, others found, to their surprise, that their health improved. The import of illegal drugs had ceased, but as few addicts had survived the first pandemic, there was little demand. Law and order was maintained, in some areas, even improved.'

Australia has done very well so far, only 63 deaths as at 17th April, 2020,  but while the virus exists, and while there is neither cure nor vaccine,  the relative good fortune cannot last forever.

In my story, there were four pandemics, each a variety of flu, each slightly different. There was never time to develop a vaccine.  The population of Australia went down to around 12 million, even though Australia was less affected than most countries. The world's population went down to not much over two billion. 'It was an estimate. There was no census.'

I predicted that there would be a shortage of fuel and that this would happen quite quickly. So for transport, people turned back to horses, and old and historical steam trains were brought back into use, sometimes using the timber from abandoned houses to fuel the fires.

I predicted a flight from the cities, and a transformation of rural areas.  Sydney's population is currently a bit under five million residents. In my story, it dropped to 200,000.  There were whole suburbs with only empty houses, though some were being razed in order to grow crops and sustain livestock, especially horses.

Country areas were doing better.  For instance, in country NSW, there is a tiny place called 'Leadville.' There are only a few houses still occupied in Leadville,  no shops, no hotel or restaurant, no school. It seems dead. Leadville. Even the name sounds dead.  

But after the series of pandemics, things were different, and Leadville has become a thriving little town.  

A major character in my book is Shuki's niece, Meriam. She is now a TV presenter, doing a series of shows on the way that things had changed since the pandemics. This show centres on Leadville.

'It started the same way as it had the previous week, a picture of Meriam alone in the carriage of a train. She wore a face-mask; everyone wore a face-mask when on public transport. The train ran on steam, though diesel trains were beginning to make a comeback. Australia was now supplying its own fuel needs. A network of rail criss-crossed the country, most of it new. It carried essential supplies, but few passengers. There was no freight on the roads, and people needed a permit to travel out of their own district.

The viewpoint widened to show the countryside the train ran through. The crops and apparent prosperity belied the shortages that had caused a great deal of hardship. But almost everything that had been imported was now either made or grown in Australia, replaced with an alternative, or simply, people managed without. There were still minor outbreaks of disease, but they were treated as emergencies and very quickly contained. Australia had not experienced anything significant for the past two years. It was hoped that the bad times were over.' 

I predicted that production would become far more localised. It has never made sense that simple items should be sent across the world. The immediate shortages now, with this relatively minor pandemic, reinforce the foolishness of this. In my story, I had market gardens on the outskirts of the town, as well as small factories and warehouses to serve the needs of the immediate area.

Meriam spoke of crops that sustained the population of Leadville - corn, wheat, canola, sorghum. 

"And grapes for wine. Grapes grow well here, though they say - sadly - that they've not yet perfected the art of beer-making. They're working on it."

When every import is a risk, there would not be much coming in that is not essential.

Meriam again - "No fish and chips, of course. Fish would have to be brought in. Plenty of fried chicken though, if that's your fancy. And potatoes are easily available, so naturally, you can have chips - with anything you like. Leadville has an excellent variety of produce," and she laughed, "Not caviar." 

There were more snippets in my book. Shuki goes by train to Sydney, though even the station master is surprised that he is making the trip. 'You're a bit rash going to Sydney, aren't you?'  There are no physical tickets, and the station master is behind impermeable glass.   

And the routine instructions -  "Hand sanitiser before boarding and available in each compartment. Avoid touching anything you don't need to. Seat covers are changed after every trip, and surfaces washed down, but you can't be too careful."

Conditions on the train -  'There was no heating, no air conditioning, and Shuki remarked that he couldn't complain, as he was the one who'd said that they could no longer afford to risk the transmission of infection through air conditioning systems. They were alone in their compartment, and only caught a brief glimpse of another passenger who boarded at Leverson. He'd be alone in his own small compartment. There was only one passenger carriage, though several freight carriages that would be taking country produce to the city. There were still two hundred thousand Sydney residents, a tiny fraction of its former population.'

The hotel in Sydney:

Their hotel was stark, with no unnecessary furnishings or decoration. 'Very expensive, but there was heating - self-contained in each room. The rooms would be scrubbed and fumigated on their departure. There was no such thing as a cheap hotel any more - the regulations made it too difficult.' 


Obviously, it is too soon to say how many of my predictions have been accurate, and for us, in April, 2020, it is likely that things will soon be back to normal - at least until there is a far more serious pandemic.

Communications -

In my story, I said that most homes had a 'communications room' as well as the public one in every town and village. 'Internet connections were routinely excellent. It was a necessity.  Schooling and meetings were invariably by internet unless unavoidable, for example, practical training.'

And right now, April, 2020, most teaching is now online, and so are meetings.  I was correct in that prediction,  but that was an easy one.

I predicted that imports and exports would largely cease, and that production would shift to more localised production.

This is happening, but only to a limited extent. There are still shortages of some essentials, even though it would appear those items should be very easy to make locally.  There is a lot of talk of ensuring that our supply lines should not be so easily broken next time, and there is talk that we should absolutely definitely, NOT be so dependent on imports from China, China where the pandemic originated.

But this is not a severe pandemic, and I expect that this resolve will be forgotten quite soon.

The handshake - My prediction was that no-one would shake hands any more. 'He held his clasped hands forward in the gesture that had taken the place of a handshake.'    

We are yet to see what gesture will replace the handshake in the long term, but I like my idea better than the silly looking elbow bump, usually performed to the accompaniment of embarrassed smirks. 

And besides, it is only suitable if people are physically close, and these days, we are 'social distancing.'

My predictions for life after the pandemics?

According to Meriam -  "We've survived the sad years, the Pan years. We've survived Pans 1, 2, 3 and 4. With the quarantine provisions and the closed borders, we will survive if there is a Pan 5.'  

In my story, Meriam's daughter was called Laleh. She was watching her mother on TV.  But then afterwards...  

'Laleh sighed and turned the screen to her schoolwork. Things may have improved, but there were drawbacks. No-one could have a lot of children for instance. There were no actual laws against it, but even the new young pope said there should only be two children for each couple, that the world must never again become so over-crowded that contagious disease was so difficult to contain. The biggest regret for her was that it was so difficult to meet people. She was in her teens. A generation ago, she would have been actively socialising, and within a few years, the socialising would have been with marriage in mind. There had been few marriages made ever since Pan 2, and almost no babies. People were waiting. Laleh was an attractive young woman of eighteen. She'd never been kissed.' 

But some years later, Meriam was on TV again, another special. There had been no further pandemics, and this time, she speaks of  the progress that was being made all over the world. Borders are still closed to non-essential travel, but some international trade is being re-established and some people were being permitted to rejoin their families when they'd been separated by the abrupt closure of borders. 

Meriam said, "It will be a while before large gatherings such as rock concerts or festivals are permitted, but one day, we will enjoy that again. One day, we will enjoy travel again, even travel overseas.

"And now I want to show you something very special."  She turned and the camera view widened to show Zahu holding a tiny baby. He came to her side and Meriam continued, "We waited, all of us, afraid to have children, afraid to trust in a future."

The camera zoomed in on the baby, and Meriam's voice softened. "This is Ben, our baby. We made the decision, my husband and I, that it was time to trust in our future. We had a baby. It is the best thing I ever did. I think all of us should now trust in our future. We need a new generation of children. My uncle, Shuki Bolkiah, told the world that each couple should only have one or two children. He was right. But now, now it is time.' 

In the next year, there were many babies. People had been waiting, but now it was time. 

I named that book 'The Frost and the Sunshine.'  There is a theme running through it, that bad times happen, 'the Frost,' but then the sun comes shining though, and the good times return. 

Cold and frosty morning in Gulgong, NSW

'And yet, in spite of the continuing catastrophe, except for some third world countries, infrastructure and government remained intact and communication online or by telephone was quick and easy.

The world had changed. It had not ended.'

And this is direct from my book. 'He (Shuki) wondered sometimes - Pan 1 had been cruel, but if there hadn't been that warning, if the more severe second pandemic had come first, would civilisation have survived? People lived differently these days. Other infectious diseases could not spread, and even the normal coughs and colds that had been taken for granted, no longer happened.'

Our current pandemic, Covid-19, has a very low death rate compared to the 'Pan 1' in my story. But there will be good things come out of it - a greater self reliance, a greater preparedness.

When more pandemics follow this one, the lessons of early closures of borders, of hygiene and 'social distancing,' and of being able to source essential supplies from within our own borders - these will all be important.

Humankind will prevail, in spite of nasty bugs.  There will be victory, as there has been before when we are faced with powerful enemies.

But some of us should keep a diary. Whether or not the death rate of Covid-19 is low or high, our whole world has been changed.   These days are significant days.

To buy any of my books, go to Smashwords, or The Book Depository or Amazon or any other online bookseller.   Look for M. A. McRae.  The Shuki series starts with 'Not a Man,' and concludes with 'The Frost and the Sunshine.'  Each can be read as a standalone.


Sunday, 2 February 2020

Staying safe from bushfires.

1st Principle  -  Don't be there.

Note this is my own first principle, and not always possible.

Others do not share this opinion.

Joan Webster, OAM "My principle is for householders to learn thoroughly of the choices of safe reaction to bushfire. 'Not being there' is a far from universal necessity and to be a reasonable choice depends on many factors: the severity of bushfire; a person's physical state; viability of evacuation destination etc., etc., and leads to far more house losses than need be. The cliche 'lives matter more than houses' is not valid; the saving of either is definitely not mutually exclusive." 

And that is very interesting as so much of the usual advice is to leave early.  Sometimes, it is even to leave before a bushfire happens.  For a while, Victoria's advice seemed to be to tell everyone to leave merely because it was one of those rotten hot, windy days.  But how and where to?  You couldn't possibly have all the cars of all the people in all the country areas trying to go from one area to the next, where it is just as hot and windy. I assume they didn't actually mean that, but that is what it sounded like.

So now to the really valuable stuff.

What if you are threatened by bushfire?  

 You need to know how best to try and protect yourself.  These are guidelines by Joan Webster, OAM, who has made herself an expert on fire safety.  Thank you to her for giving me permission to use her words.

This is a lady who has made a study of the subject and has been honoured for it.  She received the Order of Australia Medal in 2010 ‘For service to the community in raising awareness of bushfire safety', and was presented with the Australian Fire Protection Association Community Service Award in 1990.  Her books include: The Complete Australian Bushfire Book (1986) and The Complete Bushfire Safety Book (1989, 2000).There are other awards and achievements, and a lot of the official bushfire safety advice is based on her work.

She has a facebook page called 'Bushfire Safety Awareness'  which has more information.[0]=68.ARCxzf7pPVFz3zL9xEj06WiiZKMMXleICm5x28Y9yEH7YIjbsRwxihKZFsi8pWC2e1_0NjIDkWd5JnQQxrnuOx_hcSqVA5vuyjJs5bEdmnWA2ViPls65LPW-lVu3agEHD8xuk9Ilwf2DgOVkr_RAOvoCDlLFze6hKKLIKsc_GKEFb0VmcfdbCX1x8gg7AL3u9Hw3-2OGalgyZp8vDmnMjathcAuXja4HbEeeYI6zf5hzgEWYmbSlueIBSfTnLTPQotFeH0sI4s-xMseQ-HPusT3MScUNaD6a4zVejL5xjV03NEggY2VAvQJZFBMO6nYDERU8cyYW2vmK2SjLWKVGKKDkxQ

Joan Webster,   Bushfire Safety Awareness

She writes:  "Although data states that 2/3 of Black Saturday fatalities died while sheltering in or near their house, research by bushfire scientists revealed that they did not die BECAUSE they were sheltering. They died because they did not know how to shelter safely.

SO WHEN THE BUSHFIRE EMERGENCY MESSAGE IS “It is too Late to Leave, You Should Take Shelter and Stay Indoors” - WHAT SHOULD YOU ACTUALLY DO?


* Shelter behind a wall; beside a large fire resistant tree (that has no flammable undergrowth); in or beside a car; in a dam (if no vegetation is near either), in a ditch, (cover yourself with earth or blanket); crouch beneath a blanket (must be PURE WOOL and DRY) on bare ground or an already burnt area.
- Dry pure wool has the quality of extinguishing sparks and embers.


Before you go inside

* Shut off gas and electricity at the mains.
* Put pets inside: dogs on leash, cats in covered cages.
* Take in outdoor furniture, doormats, hanging baskets, plastic pot plants.

When you are inside:

* Make sure all doors and windows are securely shut.
* Turn off air conditioners; cover their internal vents.
* If windows are unshuttered, cover with blankets (must be PURE WOOL), heavy quality quilts, foil or wet towels.
*Move flammable furniture away from windows.
* Close internal doors to limit fire spread if embers enter and ignite inside.
* Put on protective clothing and nose mask and drink often.
* Keep blankets (must be PURE WOOL and DRY) handy.
* Cool off when possible.
* Watch the conditions outside if possible through a small window or peephole. Do not open a door or window to look outside.
* When you are sure flaring shrubs have blackened, it’s safe to go out again. (Burning tree trunks do not generally emit killing radiant heat.)


* DO NOT SHELTER IN AN INNER ROOM. Not in the hallway. Not in the bath. If you shelter in ANY kind of inner room – no matter how many doors it has – you could be trapped. Embers may have ignited sub-floor or wall cavities or rafters in the ceiling space,. Flaming walls or ceiling could collapse on you. Toxic fumes from smouldering furnishings, synthetic furniture or wall linings could overcome you.

* STAY BY A DOOR THAT EXITS TO OUTSIDE in protective clothing and with blankets (must be PURE WOOL and DRY).

* It is vital for passive shelterers to exit as soon as the potentially killing radiant heat from flames has died down.


* Take hose, sprayers and ladder inside with you.
* Fill bath & troughs with water, immerse towels, roll up and place at door gaps and window ledges. Plug keyholes with play dough, blue-tack or soap.
* Fill containers (e.g. garden sprayers) with water; put these, with dippers, mops etc, in each room.
* Watch for invading embers. Particularly in the ceiling space, through windows, gaps under doors. Spray or hit with wet mop any sparks, embers or smouldering furnishings.
* If any ignition cannot be extinguished, close the door of that room.
* Maintain easy access to an exit door.
* Never go outside during a flame front to douse an outside ignition.


* Exit with great care, preferably from a door that is sheltered from the wind.
* Wear protective clothing & nose cover, cover yourself with your blanket (must be PURE WOOL and DRY), crouch, lower your eyelids and open the door gradually.

The quintessential bushfire survival resource is a HEAVY DUTY DRY PURE WOOL BLANKET.
Covered with such a blanket and with a flask of water,  people have survived the most catastrophic conditions."

Extracted from Joan Webster's Essential Bushfire Safety Tips (CSIRO 2012),

She says, "When I wrote my first book, The Complete Australian Bushfire Book, in response to many unnecessary tragedies of Ash Wednesday, 1983, bushfire authorities provided extremely little safety advice for the public (NSW had only an A4 flier).. A great deal of that which they promote now came from that book and from my suggestions to them. These include: Having a family bushfire safety plan, need for a Plan B, the step-by-step actions lists of what to do at various stages of bushfire threat, a personal Survival Kit (1964) window shutters for house protection, the concept of three safety options: Leave, Defend, or Shelter (rather than the official two: leave or defend), how to shelter safely, travelling and holiday safety in the bushfire season, the special needs of children and the frail, care of pets, safety of precious possessions, the need and potential dangers of community refuges … and more."

Joan Webster, OAM

Joan has been studying bushfire safety for the householder, and urging authorities to provide information for the public, since 1964.  How many lives she may have saved, of course, is impossible to know.

Additional comment about my first principle of 'Don't be there'. Certainly it applies to myself as I am ever only a visitor in bushfire areas. But here is what Joan says.

" 'Don't be there' is a one-size-fits-all blanket term that is the biggest cause of unnecessary loss of homes. Research has proved it. With no-one there to douse the initial ember that penetrates your house, it burns its unhindered way through all you hold dear. Each burning house sends off embers to ignite others, in a domino effect. These house-to-house embers can destroy more houses than embers from the bushfire itself. The bushfire trauma from losing one's home - and all that is in it - is greater than any trauma from 'being there'. We see this on TV news after every bushfire. You can learn to 'be there' safely. To protect your home safely. To thus prevent the loss not only of your home, but your town. Others have."  

I think she is right. If all of the residents leave, the houses are quite unprotected, and far more are likely to be lost.  So it depends on circumstances, including your own fitness to stay and whether you have young children who really should not be there if at all possible.

For those interested, here are some details of my books.

'Not a Man.'

'From boy of the slums to Oxford Graduate. This is the story of Shuki Bolkiah, modern day eunuch.

'Not a Man' is set in an unnamed country of Arabia. Shuki is aged ten, and a 'bed-boy.' His master wants his beautiful boy to stay beautiful, so arranges for him to have 'a small operation.' This traumatic event changed forever the life of a clever, determined boy.

Shuki learns to manipulate his master. He learns to read and write, he gets his master into the habit of giving him large sums of money, and he makes friends with the master's sons.

Shuki becomes more beautiful with every passing year. His master becomes more possessive, more jealous, and Shuki is guarded. When his master takes him to England, he escapes and starts a new life with the money he's saved. He is fifteen.

This book is complete in itself, but like many of my readers, I loved the character, and wrote three more books to complete the series. In the last, I move Shuki from Arabia, where he is too well-known for his own good,  and placed him in Australia, actually between Uralla and Armidale, NSW, though different names have been used.

So "Not a Man,' 'The King's Favourite,' 'To Love and to Protect' and 'The Frost and the Sunshine.' They they are the Shuki books.

The Penwinnard books are about the adventurous boys who live in a Boys' Home. There are six stories, each of them complete in itself.  They are in chronological order, but I regard them as a series of stories rather than a true series.

And then there is 'The Death Mother,' which is completely different.

What would you do if  you suddenly found you had the ability to make someone die just by thinking it? 

The protagonist is a middle-aged lady, a volunteer in a Nursing Home. It starts with euthanasia, but doesn't end there.

More about my books can be found on previous blog posts and on these online booksale sites.