OK, guys… This is something that I’ve been wanting to make a piece about for some time now. I’ve got the spare time so now I have the chance to write it.
Now, you’ve probably noticed that I don’t have a funny picture or meme to start this post off, nor am I being humorous. Well, that’s because this is an important issue that I want to be taken seriously. And when I say seriously, I mean that I want people in the relevant political positions to read this and not have an excuse to call me out on being cheeky.
Now, let’s get one thing PERFECTLY clear: I do NOT condone what Russell Packer did to earn himself time in prison. I am PERFECTLY aware that the person that he physically assaulted will have to live with that experience for the rest of his life.
But you know what, so does Russell. It’s not an easy thing, having to remember flashes back to that one event that’s changed your life so significantly for the worst. I highly doubt that Russell gets a grin on his face whenever a flash memory of that assault comes to his mind.
He’s also done a large amount of time in prison, isolated away from those that he cares about. His wife, his children, he’s missed a whole year of his life with them. And unless you’ve either been to prison and/or have had a relative who’s been in prison, I don’t think you’re going to understand how torturous that can actually be.
To give you a brief run-down, imagine being locked away from those you care about for a year. Yes you’ve got people in prison to talk to, but let’s face it… You don’t want to really be talking to a bloke who’s doing 20 years for murdering someone or the bloke who’s raped someone’s partner while she was walking home. You want to hold your wife in your arms, feel their warmth on your skin, and share in their love. You want to see your children running around, laughing, and get the chance to bond with them as a father.
One year without all of that… It’s maddening. Both to Russell AND to his family. They haven’t seen him for one whole year as well, they’ve suffered throughout this as well.
Yes, I know that the man that Russell assaulted is also suffering, but this is about how every action has an equal and opposite reaction. And that’s where my argument makes it’s point.
The Australian Government’s new laws are threatening to deport Russell under the basis that he’s committed a crime in Australia, therefore he should be sent home. Forgive me for my lack of tact in making this next statement but;
Are you fucking serious, mate?
Russell has done a year in prison, and when he was released, there were plenty of chances for our government to act at that time and consider deporting him back to NZ. If this had been done at time, I might have felt a little more differently than I do now. But as I said before, every action has an equal and opposite reaction.
Russell has taken courses to rehabilitate himself, with the St. George Illawarra Dragons giving him their support, in order to make him eligible to get back into his field, which is being a professional athlete. Apart from physically training his body, Russell has taken a course in Community Services, as well as swearing off alcohol, which I can personally attest to him keeping that oath.
I recall being at the bar across from WIN Stadium where the Cutters were celebrating a win. Justin Hunt was on a pokie machine next to mine (Sorry Mum, I only spent $20), with Yaw Kiti Glymin next to him, a few of the boys were eating up and having a beer… Not Russell though. He was sitting with his family, drinking some cola and eating pizza.
I’m not a psychologist by any means, nor am I one to judge someone based off a single interaction… But when I saw him sitting there with his family, eating pizza, I thought to myself:
This is someone who looks like he’s made a genuine change for the better.
And this is coming from someone who’s only SEEN the bloke once. I’ve never even spoken to someone. This is the first impression I got off of him.
So there is where my point from earlier comes into play:
“this is about how every action has an equal and opposite reaction.”
Russell Packer physically assaulted someone. Action.
Russell Packer spent a year in prison. Reaction.
Russell Packer has taken courses to make himself a better person, removed the factors from his life that were a negative, and want to restart his life.
Is the appropriate Reaction REALLY to deport him? I don’t think it is. Had he come out of prison and chosen to continue his life the way that he had before going to prison, some people do, I would’ve had very different thoughts. But this is a man who’s shown genuine remorse for what he did. He’s ashamed of it and he wants to move on from it and make his life a better one.
As I said earlier, the man Russell assaulted will live with that for the rest of his life. But so will Russell. Action. Reaction.
Therefore, with every action has an equal and opposite reaction, I believe that deporting him is NOT the appropriate reaction, given his effort to rehabilitate himself.
It currently has over 3000 signatures with MANY NRL players, past and present, also signing the petition. To name a few;
Those are just the ones who have shared the petition on social media, as well as had their comments on the petition liked by others. Rest assured, there are MANY more.
So, with all that being said, this is my final say on the matter, regarding Russell Packer. And, funnily enough, it actually comes from an Anime that bases itself on the principle of Action/Reaction:
“Humankind can not gain anything without first giving something in return. To obtain, something of equal value must be lost. That is Alchemy’s first law of equivalent exchange. In those days we really believed that to be the world’s one and only truth. But the world isn’t perfect and the law is incomplete. Equivalent exchange doesn’t encompass everything that goes on here, but I still choose to believe in its principle. That all things do come at a price. That there’s an ebb and a flow, a cycle, that the pain we went through did have a reward and that anyone who’s determined and perseveres will get something of value in return, even if it’s not what they expected. I don’t think of equivalent exchange as a law of the world anymore. I think of it as a promise.”
Alphonse Elric – Fullmetal Alchemist.