There are a couple of things going on in the News at present which keep reminding me of the Kelly Story, and I wonder if other people think about these parallels too.
The first is the imminent execution of two Australians who have been in prison in Indonesia for about ten years. It seems their numbers are up, all their appeals have been turned down, the Indonesian President has declined to exercise his right to grant them clemency, and the latest news is that sometime in the next three weeks they are going to be taken out into the bush in the middle of the night and shot.
Capital Punishment is of course no longer practiced in Australia. The last man hanged was Ronald Ryan whose body was buried at the Pentridge Prison Cemetery in 1967, in a spot not far from where Ned Kellys remains had been moved to in 1929 from their original burial site at the old Melbourne Gaol. Interestingly, Ryan was hanged for killing a Prison Officer who was trying to stop him escaping from Pentridge. Ryans life was one of deprivation and neglect as a kid, and gradual immersion in crime beginning with the writing of dud cheques and progression to burglary and bank robbery.
But he should never have been hanged, and I feel the same way about Ned Kelly – he too should never have been hanged. Even then, in Melbourne there was it seems a growing movement opposed to Capital Punishment, and no doubt they would be gratified to see how far around the world the idea that it is barbaric and should be outlawed has spread since then. But it came too late to save Ned or Ronald Ryan, and unfortunately it has yet to reach Indonesia.
The other issue in the news of interest to Kelly enthusiasts has been the December Hostage Drama in Sydney. Hostages were interviewed on TV on Sunday night and were obviously massively traumatised by the experience. Kelly fanatics tend to dismiss the idea that I have floated before, that being held hostage by a known gang of Killers would have been a terrifying experience. Kelly fanatics think that while being held captive at the point of a gun, being given free drink and made to dance and play hop-step-and-jump would have meant they all would have had a merry old time. I doubt it. Like the Lindt café hostages, Kellys hostages would have suffered enormous psychological stress, and carried ghastly memories and emotional scars for the rest of their lives.
Its also interesting that even though in their rescue efforts, one hostage was killed by shrapnel from Police bullets, I have yet to hear anyone criticize the Police or blame them for that death. Everyone can see that the ultimate cause of all that trauma mayhem and death was the Armed Hostage Taker. In contrast Kelly fanatics never stop blaming the Police for the deaths that occurred to innocent people at the Glenrowan Inn, the hostages, including children and women who were imprisoned there at Gunpoint by the Kelly Gang. Ultimate responsibility for all deaths at Glenrowan, as at the Lindt Cafe lies with the people who planned and excecuted the whole operation, the Gang led by Ned Kelly.
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