How Australia sees us

In normal times, the United States can do worse than having Minnesota portrayed as the image of America. But these are not normal times, thanks to a cop who shot an innocent woman — an Aussie — in a Minneapolis alley on Saturday night.

It’s not as if Australia hadn’t heard of the various controversies surrounding police killings in the United States. The killing of Justine Damond is no more tragic than others, but this one is different, Australian broadcaster and writer Richard Glover writes in a Washington Post commentary.

“She’s ours,” he writes.

Australians are astounded and baffled by U.S. police shootings and by the level of gun crime generally. We also cannot understand how the officer concerned has — so far at least — refused to give evidence about what happened. The mayor of Minneapolis, Betsy Hodges, is also concerned that Noor has refused to give evidence. In Australia, as a serving police officer, Noor would have instantly been required to answer the questions of his superiors.

In Australia, about 300 people gathered at an early-morning vigil on Sydney’s Freshwater Beach, near where Damond grew up — the haunting sound of a didgeridoo playing as the sun rose. Attendees said they were there to “honor, love and respect” the life of an “extraordinarily kind, funny, smart and loving woman.” Speaking on television Wednesday morning, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull asked, “How can a woman out in the street in her pajamas seeking assistance from the police be shot like that? It is a shocking killing, it is inexplicable. … We are demanding answers on behalf of her family and our hearts go out to her family and all of her friends and loved ones.”

He writes that police in Australia have a less aggressive strategy for dealing with people than cops in America, but it’s not without controversy and it’s not settled that it’s a better strategy.

In January, a young man, having his stabbed his brother, drove his car erratically through the city of Melbourne. Police, armed with guns and Tasers, were set to pull the driver over on one of the city’s bridges, but the attempt was called off as part of a “no-pursuit” policy — part of a rethink after a period in the 1980s in which police shootings, particularly of the mentally ill, had spiked alarmingly. Later, the man drove into a pedestrian mall, killing six people and injuring more than thirty. One police officer labelled the no-pursuit policy “a disgrace” — with much agreement from the public. An inquiry into the tragedy begins in Melbourne this week.

“Right now, like our prime minister, we are just keen for answers from Minneapolis about what seems to be the incomprehensible death of a wonderful Australian,” he concludes.

  • Gary F

    “In Australia, as a serving police officer, Noor would have instantly been required to answer the questions of his superiors.”

    We have that pesky thing called the Bill of Rights. Check #5.

  • AL287

    As we can see from the Australian comment in the Washington Post, there are no easy answers to gun violence. Adopt a strategy and there will always be exceptions to the policy.

    No one ever planned for a huge jetliner crashing into a skyscraper or the effects of burning jet fuel on building infrastructure (which is what caused the towers to collapse). It came out of the blue and caught everyone by surprise including the architects who designed the World Trade Center.

    No one can plan for each and every eventuality but some common sense can be followed in putting a plan into place and being willing to adjust the plan is the key to making it work.

    Mohamed Noor might be a great guy but he probably should not have a dangerous weapon in his hand if he reacts at the slightest sound. It was nice while it lasted but he needs to find another profession that does not involve guns.

    Nothing will bring back Justine Damond but the public at large needs to hear what happened and the only person right now who can give us that information is Mohamed Noor. Fear of reprisal is probably why he is not coming forward. His fear is absolutely justified considering the current social climate in the country.

    Let’s hope he changes his mind—eventually.

    • Jo Stewart

      There are many “easy answers to gun violence”, which is why no country in the civilised world shares the problem that exists in the US.

      • AL287

        Show me a country with the right to bear arms as a guaranteed right with a multicultural/multi-ethnic population like ours and then we can start talking about “easy answers.”

        It’s very easy to sit in your ivory tower in Australia and tell us what we are doing wrong when your population is less than 10% of ours.

        Europe is discovering firsthand the issues that come with massive foreign immigration, legal or illegal. The U.S. has been dealing with this for the entirety of its existence.

        You totally missed the point of my post.

        • Jo Stewart

          The “right to bear arms” is a nonsense in a modern society. Easy answer number 1.

          I think you might find Australia is a more diverse multicultural country than the US, but gun violence is rare….so clearly that’s no excuse for gun violence.

          Your assumption that I’m currently in Australia is curious. I spend northern hemisphere summers in Europe, where our population is more than twice the size of the US but, again gun violence isn’t anywhere near the problem it is in the US… population size clearly isn’t a problem. There are around 1000 gun homicides in the EU annually…..US police alone, kill more civilians than that per annum.

    • Jesse

      I hope he finds longterm employment in a prison laundry.

  • Gary F

    Of course, England’s Daily Mail now gets involved.

    • Pretty irresponsible of Power Line.

      • Jim in RF

        Very out of character for them.

        • Gary F

          And it could be the reason why our elected officials are acting so funny over this.

          • The subtext of this story is the shifting of attitudes of a police shooting because it involves a chance to “get” elected officials. Everything else is collateral damage to the ultimate reason some people even get up in the morning. Politics.

            That part is kind of gross too.

    • RBHolb

      The Daily Mail has been labeled an unreliable source by Wikipedia.

      • So should Powerline. :/

      • Jo Stewart

        Hilarious…that you need such an unreliable source as wikipedia to tell you the the Daily Mail is a ridiculous tabloid rag, finds me wondering why you don’t simply read one of their ‘reports’ and reach that conclusion under your own steam.

        • RBHolb

          Why are you making this comment?

          • Jo Stewart

            Why do you ask? Can’t you see the irony of your comment?

          • RBHolb

            You’ve never heard of intentional irony? I’ve known there was something “off” about the Daily Mail ever since “Paperback Writer” was one of the sing-alongs on The Beatles cartoon show.

            “Even Wikipedia regards the Daily Mail as an ‘unreliable source.'” Better?

          • Jo Stewart

            We clearly speak a different language, although your final sentence does suggest a little more awareness on your part.

  • amightywind

    How Australia sees us? How do you see yourselves? This cop had no business being out there armed. This is wanton incompetence off the slaves to political correctness that recruited Noor, and lethal panic on the part of cop who should not be out there. I wouldn’t give this fool a night stick.

    • Kassie

      Wow. So anyone who is a minority recruit shouldn’t be out there, or just Somalis? I’m trying to figure out if your view is racist, Islamophobic or xenophobic…

      • amightywind

        I am all of the above, but this incident can be chalked up to simple incompetence and cowardice in the police force nurtured by political correctness.

        • Kassie

          Or it could be blamed on poor training and a culture of shoot first and come up with a story later and have nothing to do with “political correctness.”

          • amightywind

            Occam’s Razor suggests my accessment is more likely.

          • Jerry

            How is that the simplest answer? What does “political correctness” have to do with this at all?

          • KTFoley

            Not so much, unless you’ll accept equally simple terms for how you get to a conclusion by ignoring the reality & experience of the people in the situation itself.

        • The last thing the Minneapolis Police Department has ever been accused of, it’s being obsessed with political correctness, which, by the way, is a stupid bumper-sticker term that everyone uses because life is complicated and demands more thought.

          • Jerry

            When people use the term “political correctness”, they assume everybody is just as bigoted as they are, but too polite to express those opinions.

          • amightywind

            No PC when the police chief is a militant lesbian? LOL!

          • What’s a “militant” lesbian.

            She’s a lesbian, but that doesn’t make the department controlled by PC unless you believe that lesbians shouldn’t be cops and shouldn’t have jobs, in which case, that conforms to the “anti PC” crowd which uses the perjorative as a cover for their own character issues.

          • Jo Stewart

            I have no idea what a “militant lesbian” might be, but it says more about your insecurities that you feel this person’s sexual preferences are any of your business, or relevant to anything.

            My concerns, find me hoping she isn’t the sharpest little pencil this force can find to lead it.

            Her moronic comments that “this shouldn’t have happened” and “Justine didn’t need to die” are simply stating the obvious and could only imaginably be uttered by an American.

            This cop has murdered an innocent civilian and is free to walk the streets…anyone care to explain to me why he hasn’t been arrested? If someone shoots a cop in the US are they treated with such astonishing leniency?

        • RBHolb

          Non-ironic use of the term “political correctness” is tantamount to saying we have no reason to take anything you say seriously. Draw your own conclusions about its use twice in one day.

      • Jo Stewart

        I agree Kassie…the reference to “political correctness” is an irrelevance and less than helpful. I do, however agree that this cop’s actions make his selection highly questionable.

        • Jesse

          It’s not irrelevant I know someone who was in academy with him. It’s going to come out his instructor wanted to fail him not because of religion or race but ineptness. But the department needed a Somali poster boy and passed him due to race religion.

          • Jo Stewart

            That’s not “political correctness” Jesse. If your story’s true, that constitutes criminal negligence and your fellow attendee has a duty to disclose his concerns to investigators. Naturally, being a US cop, he lacks the integrity to do so.

          • Jesse

            They know, that’s why they had to get warrent for training info. it’s normally publicly available. Politically correct? I never said he shouldn’t be a cop based on anything but his ineptness. it was the city’s affirmative action policies that are at issue. They killed a Somali kid few years back and needed a Somali officer it appears they cut corners. I tend to take Morgan Freeman’s view on race. I don’t talk about it i don’t give special consideration to it.

          • Jo Stewart

            What nonsense! You talked about race in your first comment to me….you very clearly do give it “special consideration”.

  • Ralphy

    Very anecdotal, but in my travels I have had many conversations with folks from the other side of the world, from England to Australia, and points in between. Without exception, they do not understand our culture of fear and guns. Most have asked me if I have a gun, and why. Our gun culture is a very difficult paradigm for them to understand.

    • Jo Stewart

      You are very restrained in your use of “a very difficult paradigm” Ralph. We simply see the gun ‘culture’ as utter insanity.

      • Jesse

        Guns are important, for many reasons, 1st and most important police cant protect you from someone intent on causing you harm, they show up afterwards and take a report (or shoot you). You have to protect yourself. Do you really want to entrust your families safety to the police? How successful have they been stopping the Petty crime in your neighborhood?
        2nd the founding fathers knew that our government would become corupted and built in a protective mechanism. Do you really want the jack booted thugs in blue and criminal as the only armed people in society?
        If you don’t like them don’t own one. But when shtf be prepared to stand behind someone who has one.

        • Jo Stewart

          You clearly live in a much sadder part of the world than I choose to. We spend nothern hemisphere summers near the French / Swiss / Italian border and know of none of my neighbours, friends or business colleagues who have experienced any kind of crime, petty or otherwise.

          We spend southern hemisphere winters in a beautiful part of northern Australia and likewise there, have no personal experience of crime. We never lock our house unless we are away for prolonged periods, almost never lock our cars and the local rag still prints a short list of crimes in the area each week. A few drink drivers, a few domestic incidents, a few drunks making a nuisance of themselves, some drug possession and the odd break in.

          I largely grew up in a country where the police are still normally unarmed (other than with a baton). A few years ago, our Australian local sergeant arrived to take a report that one of our dogs had gone missing. He noticed my discomfort at his having a gun in my home, a first ever, and we chatted about it. It turned out he had never unholstered it in anger and couldn’t imagine he would ever have to. Given his calm and respectful demeanour, it’s hard to imagine he will.

          Both our homes are reasonable size country properties, but I can’t imagine ever allowing anything to be shot on them.

          • Jesse

            Awesome, sounds like heaven, but i must point out this conversation would probably be in German if it weren’t for this “sad” part of the world. Like I said when shtf be prepared to stand behind someone who has one. Gramps was a silver star purple heart recipient who landed at Normandy. He instilled in me a deep love and respect for weapons and freedom. I live a couple blocks from justine and i dont lock my doors or cars. While living in a much worst part of town i had only one occasion where I would’ve been justified in using my weapon, but I correctly sized up the guy holding a gun on me and disarmed him. My weapon never left it’s holster. I wish our police had the same ability to dercern risk. I believe for most interactions with public our police do not need a gun, and in till they learn aforementioned power of dercernment they shouldn’t be issued them. Our police are highly militarizatied and engaged in a war against our citizens, ( Drug war). The scary thing is the rules of engagement are much more restrictive for our soldiers in Wars than our police against citizens. In this environment armed citizens may be our only hope to bring about reform!

          • Jo Stewart

            That you see speaking German as some kind of penalty, is something I totally fail to understand. Germany is my company’s second biggest, and most profitable market.

            The use of German, English, French, Italian, Russian or Cantonese matters nought to me….I use 4 of them daily and others on a regular basis. My company does considerably more business with Germany and China than with the US.

            For as long as I’ve been able to afford them, my business and weekend cars have always been German, except in Australia…where I just love my Land Cruiser. I prefer Airbus to Boeing, I never fly US airlines, I never stay in US branded hotels, I can’t imagine ever eating in US branded ‘restaurants’, or drinking Napa Valley wine.

            Unlike US Americans, and in common with most Europeans, I have no fear of Russia, Iran, China or N. Korea. I trade with and employ citizens from 3 of them. The most dangerous countries to world peace, according to an overwhelming majority of Europeans, are Israel and the US.

            Since we recently moved our N. American factory from the US to Canada, in the wake of the Trump campaign, we employ more people of Iranian origin than of US origin. You might not be aware that Iran was previously Persia….a greater civilisation than the US could ever dream of being.

            I have no need for someone with a gun to stand anywhere near me. Apart from some police and military, I have never seen anyone as much as hold a firearm. Armed citizens are as scary to me as catholic priests around school premises.

            That the US actually gives its soldiers a medal, simply for being wounded, astonishes me. That you own a gun, far less carry one, frankly scares me. Weapons and freedom are an oxymoron to me. If you feel a need to carry a weapon, you are very far from free. US police kill more civilians than any terrorists, homegrown or otherwise.

            My group of friends frequently meets for lunch….the nonsense that one of us might own or carry a gun is simply bizarre. Our Australian property has some sheep, ducks, geese and chooks…wild dogs, foxes and dingoes inhabit the surrounding area…but our mareema ensures we lose none of our family to predators….nothing needs shot here. Our European property has wild deer, boar, birds etc and, some in this part of the world hunt those for “sport”. Our local hunters know that killing an animal on our property will bring them more police attention than they are comfortable with.

            Your suggestion that your rules of engagement for police might be more relaxed than those of your military rings true but is utterly terrifying. Your military rules of engagement are some of the slackest in the western world.

          • Jesse

            Really? You wouldn’t mind being a Nazi? You’d be ok If Hitler won? Please tell me you didn’t read my post or misunderstood it

  • Kurt O

    The lack of major protests like the ones that followed the shooting of Philando Castile is curious. Nobody is blocking I-94 or camping outside the governor’s mansion.

    • Jim in RF

      There might be if there was a Philando-style video available. Too many unknowns.

      • Kurt O

        I’m looking at this from the perspective of being another shooting involving a Minneapolis police officer. A cop shot two service dogs who approached him with wagging tails. Another shot at a car that bumped a squad in the Warehouse District. He got out of the squad to shoot! The mayor and police chief are in a feud and they appointed an inexperienced person as a precinct inspector…

        • You mean Lt. Aaron Biard, the 22-year veteran of the force who was running the precinct’s day watch before his appointment?

          • Kurt O

            From what I’ve read the concern is about the 4th precinct being his first inspector position. Bob Kroll questioned the appointment as being odd, but Baird is a great guy who will do well. It’s like Harteau and Hodges agreed because there’s nothing wrong with him.

            Contrary to what is being said, my intention is NOT race bating or trying to say one incident is worse than the other. People from the other side of the planet are wondering what the *BEEP* is going on here. The Australian PM is demanding answers, but Noor won’t even talk to his superiors about what happened.

            I Googled “Minneapolis police shooting video” and the first one that popped up is the cop shooting dogs. How pathetic is that?

          • Google is an algorithm.

          • Kurt O

            Yes, and said algorithm will also show said video to Australians looking for answers that the Mpls police dept shoots service animals.

          • I doubt Australians care about Mpls police shooting service animals.

            If they are, then they’ll have to get through the story about last Saturday night’s killing because your original assertion is incorrect. Your original search terms were likely to draw an incorrect result since there’s no video of Saturday night’s killing.

            Also, I’m guessing Aussies would properly search for “Minneapolis police shooting”.


          • Kurt O

            I was trying to’relay that people may look at a dog shooting and say “The cops even shoot dogs with wagging tails in MN? WTF kind of place is that?”

            Since my attempts at sharing my ideas failed miserably I’ll show myself to the door.

    • Brian

      I don’t see any hypocrisy here. Context matters. There isn’t a systematic problem with police shooting unarmed white women in affluent neighborhoods. This is a tragedy and everyone agrees it is a tragedy that shouldn’t have happened.

      • Kurt O

        Seriously? The level of outrage over a police shooting of an innocent, unarmed person depends on the context?

        • Brian


          • Other than Michelle Bachmann, who specializes in throwing red meat to her crowd of racists and Islamophobes, no one has suggested that race was a factor in her killing. And , indeed, there’s no indication here that an underlying fear of white women played a role, nor is her killing part of a long pattern of killings of black people, stopped for traffic violations.

            Any suggestion that the differences in reaction — so far — indicate an inconsistency, can only be made if one never understood the outrage over the long pattern of killings of black people at the hands of white cops.

            To suggest otherwise is to suggest the circumstances of last Saturday night were no different than this.


            I get that people are looking to light racial fuses here because it’s 2017 and this is America, but any suggestion that the difference in physical reaction is indicative of more acceptance, or that a killing is less tragic, is absurd.

            It’s also worth pointing out that Nekima Levy Pound’s was one of the first voices raised on Sunday, so the underlying attempt by this theme to create racial divisions on this incident by the innuendo that black people are staying on the sidelines in this latest shooting is somewhat contemptible.

            The similarity of people possibly feeling empowered to kill people because they’re afraid is a similarity here. But being afraid because you heard a noise and being afraid because someone is black are two different issues entirely.

          • Kurt O

            I give up…My attempt to say people are not reacting to another shooting by police as I would have expected based on recent history was admittedly ham-handed. If that and how I tried to clarify my thoughts makes me a trolling, insensitive racist in your views, so be it.

            I give up…There’s a march happening tonight, so my observation of a lack of public protest was wrong.

            My postings led to the uttering of the name of Michelle Bachmann…I give up!

          • Jesse

            Ms Pounds going to be a great mayor

      • Jo Stewart

        Americans do seem to be inclined to state the obvious…”it is a tragedy”….really?

        It “shouldn’t have happened”? No sh1t Sherlock….did you have to think about either of those pronouncements of wisdom?

      • Jesse

        There have been 4 other shootings of unarmed woman since justine

    • Laurie K.

      In Philando’s case, his family and friends were not only protesting the shooting of their loved one, they were also fighting the public’s [and law enforcement’s] perception that he was not a “victim”. In the case of Ms. Damond, she has unquestionably been identified as the victim of a police shooting. And to shut this down before it begins, I am not interested re-hashing the 101 reasons why Philando should not be considered a victim, I am just saying that the situation with Mr. Castile was very different than what is happening in this case.

      • Kassie

        I will also add, Castile was a member of a racial group that has organized around police brutality and racism so when he was murdered his peers were ready to go and highly organized. White people haven’t been organized around police brutality, though some participate in protests around the issue. Black Lives Matter has made statements about this, but this isn’t their issue as Damond was not black.

        But let’s also show that while BLM has not acted the same either has the police union. Where’s Kroll defending his guy? Where are the Blue Lives Matter folks?

        • Jesse

          BLM, community’s united against police brutality and women’s March have been very active in Justine’s case. Blm has been respectful of families wishes on how protest proceed

    • Not curious at all. There are many ways to protest. But, let’s be clear, what you’re really trying to portray is “those black people” vs. “those white people” and you should at least have the courage to say it and get it out in the open instead of this “wink wink” stuff that has permeating this latest tragedy.

      You’re attempting to light a fuse to pit one race against another. There’s a word for that.

      Unless you’re saying that the fact nobody has blocked I-94 indicates acceptance and that’s just not true at all.

      • Kurt O

        I don’t care if it was a Romulan shooting a Klingon, I’m saying the system is totally broken and I would have expected that there would be a greater physical public showing of disgust, particularly after the results of the Janez trial.

    • Jesse

      We have been to governors mansion, shut down mayors press conference, marched in street. But more importantly we attend political town halls, write elected officials and attend thier meetings. The family isn’t for disruptive actions.

  • We also don’t know if this was his regular partner.

    • DavidG

      I saw someone claim the partner is a CSO, if true that might suggest not.

  • AmiSchwab

    the australians wonder why hasn’t noor given a statement?
    ask the police union leader.

  • Well the best way not to be accused of racism is not to be a racist.

    • John Climber

      What’s the definition of racism we’re working with here? I’m serious. The previous statement seemed to imply the lack of clarity surrounding this term.

      • Mine is a bias against people on the basis of their race or ethnicity.

    • Jo Stewart

      It’s hard to argue with that Bob…it really is that simple.

  • What HASN’T been destroyed by corruption and self interest. I can’t think of any institution.

  • I know some people in Congress who would say it has

  • I don’t recall 1990 being so spectacularly high . I wonder what was going on?

  • Jo Stewart

    Shortly after Trump started spouting forth his racist, homophobic, mysogynistic, xenophobic and bigoted bile, our company noticed a significant increase in the sense of entitlement, felt by Americans of the US variety, to attack their fellow Americans, simply because of their religious or sexual preferences or because of their ancestry or colour.

    Combined with what we saw as an extraordinarily violent and increasingly dysfunctional society, this trend was of sufficient concern to us to have us examine whether we should retain our small North American factory in the US. Our facility was coming to an exercise of option date and, after just under a decade of operation was in line for a major, and costly, refit.

    The decision was taken to move to Canada. A factory was located and bought, new plant was diverted to Canada. Our key people were sounded out, sworn to secrecy, signed contracts and organised setting up shop across the border. When the Canadian facility was up to speed, we closed the US one.

    The US is a low wage economy, so the move to Canada saw a significant increase in our salary costs…..but the benefits massively outweigh the cost.

    This disgraceful shooting of an unarmed Aussie in her PJ’s by a cop, simply helps confirm our decision to leave the madhouse that is the US, to be a sound one.

    Personally, I feel some considerable satisfaction that, neither we nor any of our employees any longer pay taxes of any sort in the US, which could be used to fund Trump’s insanity and corruption.

    • Jesse

      Please spread this post far and wide. My fellow citizens need to know that the rest of the world considers them a low-wage economy. Maybe then they will demand Healthcare vacation livable wages, unions and that the 1% pay thier share.

      • Jo Stewart

        I really have little interest in making US employees aware how cheap they are…..trouble is that even at such low pay rates, a factory in the US isn’t something we will ever do again. All your countrymen have to do is look up worldwide minimum wage and conditions. We can employ about 5 Americans for the same price as 1 Australian.

  • Jo Stewart

    How ridiculous an assertion….US cops kill around 1100 civilians per annum. If scared cops behaved this way in Europe and weren’t prosecuted faithfully, the European Court of Human Rights would descend from a great height upon the offending country.

  • Jo Stewart

    It seems the cop who murdered Justine, now has his lawyers testing her body for drugs. Under the circumstances, it might be more appropriate that he had been arrested and tested for drugs and alcohol. He is the guy who pulled the trigger on an unarmed woman after all.

    At least it seems that the police commissioner has resigned. Her inane comments clearly showed her to be far from the sharpest little pencil in your police force.

    Your mayor doesn’t seem much sharper given her inclination to state the obvious in her inane statements.