Thursday, April 3, 2014

April 3. Day 93. Risky business

I listened with interest today to an interview with a International Student representative commenting about the tragic deaths of four international students in Brisbane since November. He could easily have bought into the media hype and questioned the safety of Brisbane as a destination for international students - but he did not. In fact, he said Brisbane was an incredibly safe city and he felt safer here than in any of the other places he'd studied. That, he said, could be part of the problem. When you feel so safe, you can be lured into doing things or going places that you might not at home.
Without wanting to either downplay the absolute tragedy of these recent events or prejudge what has happened in any of the cases, I think there is a truth in what he said.
I'm pretty sure I have been in places and situations overseas I would not have found myself in at home. Somehow you can either forget the rules when you are off your own turf or do things because you don't understand the local customs.
But even on the home ground, a feeling of being in a safe city can lead sensible people to do not so sensible things. And that's what today's photo represents to me. Two of the recent murders involved women in or near parks after dark. So a sensible person might now think that while it should be everyone's absolute right to go about their business not in fear, perhaps right now it might be prudent to go round not through parks if possible if walking alone at night. Perhaps. But with time to kill and a desire to get a good angle to photograph the Wheel of Brisbane I walked down the dark, isolated and uneven path through Miller Park to the less than desirable night time destination of the Queen's Wharf area tonight. It was still early and my only fear was I might trip so when I was done I did the same in reverse. On the return journey I passed a security guard shining a torch around. I assumed he was checking the doors to the businesses that abut the park. As we walked by each other he said "you don't look like who I'm looking for" to which I replied "I take it, that's a good thing?" He agreed and laughed before adding "You take care of yourself, now". The implication was quite clear. What he was really saying was "Do you think it is wise to be walking through here alone at night?" And the answer is probably "no". Even in safe cities, it is not wise to take personal safety for granted. Let that be a lesson to me.

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