Living outside the box


It has been a massive week in the Brack household.
We found out what happens when two worldviews clash.
I'm still too raw to comment much. I will leave the space for Cris who has written this powerful story.

Terrorists Everywhere

"Come home. The police have just been here and want to charge our son." A message no parent wants to hear. We certainly didn't expect such a call. Our son is only 14 years old and has always thought that police were nice people, most of whom were probably called "Bobby". So, what went wrong?

Our son was playing outside, in a public place. He was playing with a wooden toy he had carved himself. Quite proud of that he was - he'd learnt how to use a jigsaw and a sander, a rasp, and to measure twice but cut once. Well, actually, he didn't measure at all - he has a good eye. He also was wearing a "gilly's suite" which was supposed to make him invisible: a suit that he had tracked down himself on the world wide web. The problem was that the suit didn't work and someone saw him.

An adult male with a female alongside - possibly on the way to pick up a child at the local school, or maybe just enjoying a walk - saw him hiding under a tree and made the obvious conclusion that my son was a terrorist. Screaming obscenities, the man charged. The woman cried "it is only a child with a wooden gun", but the man continued, screaming that he'd smash that wooden thing over my son's head. Sensible boy that he is, my son ran home - distressed and confused - never having been confronted by such rage in real life.

Before he can finish telling his story to his mother, the police arrive. They are not too forthcoming and we can only assume that the adult male followed my son home before calling them. My son, it seems, had broken the law and it was at the discretion of those police whether they will charge him. The police wanted to know if he had other weapons - no, but he had done more woodwork - click, click, click went the police camera. Had he been painting his bedroom with its artistic spiderwebs and fake cracks - click, click, more photos. Did he have internet friends who he talked to about guns and weapons - no - oh, a loner and solitary eh? Why guns they ask. He is interested in World War 2 and studying all aspects of it - that is very serious he is told to be interested in fighting in a war.

Eventually the police leave and my wife is able to call me. What impression do the police have of my son? The word from the adult male who called them; photographs of wooden toys that range from a German lugger through to a Russian antitank rifle; photographs a bedroom painted in spiders and cracks and abandoned things instead of puppy dogs and flowers, and a belief that he is a loner.

It is logical then that my son is told that he will need a psychiatric assessment; that his parents will be contacted by Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services to see if we are coping with him; and the local social worker will "invite" him to the Police Youth Club to help him with his socialisation and emotional issues. In this time of fear of terrorists and terrorism, such actions are so necessary and designed to make us all safe.

But who should we be focusing on if we really want to make Australian society safer? My son and the woman in the park at the beginning of this story are much more likely to be killed in a domestic violence incident by the adult male than they were of being in a terrorist incident. The number of woman and children injured in domestic violence incidents in only a couple of weeks outnumbers all those Australians ever injured in terrorist activities. The adult male clearly overreacted while his female partner kept telling him to stop. Even when it was obvious my son was only a child with a wooden toy, this adult male continued to rage and threaten. He even followed my son home. Surely these are indicators of a much more likely problem than a child playing outside?

We don't know what impression the police have of the adult male who threatened and followed my son. We don't know who he is or where he lives. He knows where we live. We don't know if the police interviewed him about his overreaction and threats of violence against a child, and his anonymity is protected so we can't find out. We don't know if he is living in the unreal world of television news which convinced him that everybody he sees is a potential threat to be taken down. We don't know if any social workers are checking on his socialisation and emotional issues. We don't know if any Mental Health Service people are checking on his female partner to see if she is coping with him. We don't know if he is feeling big and emboldened to continue letting his emotions have free range.

I suppose if he had followed through on his threat and broken my son's wooden toy over his head then the police would have pursued him and disregarded any plea that he was just protecting his woman from terrorism. But just like domestic violence in the real world, by then, it would be too late.

In the real Australia, domestic violence is an infinitely bigger threat than terrorism. In the real Australia, we should be intervening before adult males overreact and move to violence than making grand gestures about stopping terrorism. In the real Australia, inappropriate intervention, even when well intentioned, will lead to children who loose faith in the police and adult males. In the real Australia, an irrational fear of the terrorist may lead to children who are afraid to play outside - because of terrorists or because others may take them to be terrorists.

I must consider myself lucky though that my son is not obviously Muslim or aboriginal or different. That angry adult male, lost in his world of artificial fear spread by the constant reporting of terrorism and stranger danger, would probably have followed through on his threat. Then I would be mourning more than just my son's lost innocence.

And finally, to lighten the mood, here is the video for the week, showing the pure innocence we really live in.
And a big thanks to all my friends and family who are helping us remember the light at this time.
You guys are awesome.

Here's to living in the light!

Til next time,
Keep on creating.

Jazzy Jack and The Bracks


  1. Jazzy Jack and Cris, what were the credentials of the investigators, their interests in promotion or higher salary! There are numerous subjective components that sit below the surface in a society. Hopefully we are all faced with people and reactions that have balance.

  2. OMG, I'm so sorry. What a horrible story. People overreact based on psychological illness and contemporary themes. In the past, this jerk would have called your son a "witch" or "demon" or some other ridiculous thing. And the government's overreacting, too. I hope they settle down and realize that childhood has fantasy-play in it which is healthy, normal and creative. I did similar things in my youth and nobody dragged me off for psychiatric assessment. So sorry, JJ.

  3. That's awful. That man must be sick. Or an idiot, or both. To go after a child like that, no sane person does that. He's the one who needs psych evaluation, not your son. That's not a very politically correct thing to say, but maybe it's time we ditch polite language and call a fool a fool...

  4. My dear, I am sorry you had to experience it. Your video and words about pure innocence you live in are so precious. I only know you through your words and pictures, but I just know how pure and innocent you are - and your family is beautiful, any sensitive soul can see it.
    Only peaceful encounters and love your way!

  5. I am so sorry your son and your family had to endure the ignorance and stupidity of this man. I worry about where our Australian society is heading , with its intolerance of any person who happens to be different from what is considered mainstream. I agree so much that family violence is so much more of an issue for our society.My thoughts are with you and your family.

  6. OMG I'm so very Sorry that your Child and your Family have had to endure this terrible incident! I wholeheartedly agree with the Post and what is a greater problem in society right now, having retired from the local DA's office I saw the carnage Domestic Violence creates daily. Our Grandson endured a similiar over-reaction last school year when he made Artistic Necklaces out of Salvaged empty Cartridge Shells and some Friends asked for some, which he presented as Gifts to them and then was turned in for having and distributing 'weaponry'! He had shown me the necklaces when he Created them, they were Beautiful and completely harmless, I didn't imagine the outcome of what happened... and his 'Assessment' by Police and School Officials was judgmental in a negative way as well being he is a Special Needs Child and 'different'. I Pray your Sweet Son is not too damaged by this incident, Children are resilient and I know you have a great foundation in your Home for him to build his Positive viewpoints of the World around him upon. Big Hugs from the Arizona Desert... Dawn... The Bohemian

  7. What an horror for your family and for a sensitive boy! I've always thought, such thing happens only in Germany, the paranoia about terrorism is here very strong and there are a few of reasons in Europe at this time, sigh! But it seems a global problem now, even without refugees from "unsafety" countries.
    Make the best from all (I cannot write all my thouhgts in English)

  8. sigh, unbelievable, but true, I know. I am so sorry you and your family have had to suffer such stupidity. As you say, it's easier to focus on the mass fear factor than face the reality of situations that can and should be dealt with. Blessings.

  9. Oh my goodness, what an awful thing to happen. Truly awful. There is a lot of paranoia about and that is so sad. I am so sorry it impacted your family so awfully. How is he doing now? Sending many best wishes.
    I love your video and I wondered if that was you singing at the start? Very cool!x


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