Tuesday, June 7, 2011

RIP Damian Leeding

Picture taken without permission from http://butterflyloom.blogspot.com/2011/06/thankyou-damian-leeding.html

I don’t normally talk about current event type things in my blog, normally I hide the fact that I don’t really know anything much about the world behind vague pop culture references and hope that people find me interesting. But today was the funeral for Damian Leeding, a Gold Coast police officer who lost his life in the line of duty not too long ago. He died in the process of stopping the 81st armed robbery on the Gold Coast this year. Eighty-one hold ups, in around 150 days. That’s one hold up approximately every two weeks. Once every two weeks somebody armed with a knife or gun walked into a shop and demanded that the person behind the counter give them money.
Detective Senior Constable Leeding leaves behind a young wife and child. He had a family, friends, and colleagues. He was a real man whose life will be missed.
Hundreds of people joined his family and friends at the funeral, including members of the FBI.
It’s touching to see so many people mourn for this man. I never met him, and yet I feel his loss. He’s on the front page of every newspaper, the blue and white striped badge is being warn by everyone who could get their hands on one, everyone is urged to wear blue on Friday in respect to him and other police officers. Why do we care so much? Why is it that now we are losing off roads for his funeral yet we haven’t done it for the Australian soldiers who have died in Afghanistan?
Because we feel guilty.
We have known for quite a while that the Coast was in need of a special task force to deal with these robberies. Every time we saw it on the news or read about them online we bitched to our friends or posted on FaceBook. The Gold Coast Bulletin has been writing that we need one, we know that we have been heard by the media; and yet, when the politicians did nothing we let it slide. If there was a petition I never heard about it. No one called for a march on the council, and no one started a FaceBook group. We knew we needed to do something to stop these robberies but we didn’t do it.
I feel ashamed by this. One of my best friends works in a cafe in a mall, the other in a supermarket on the side of the highway. Every time that they went to work at night I was scared for them. I worried that someone would bring a gun or a knife and terrorise them, giving them lasting nightmares. I knew that this was a possibility, and I did nothing.
This post isn’t about making people feel guilty, it’s about acknowledgement and prevention. Eighty-one armed robberies in such a short period of time is too much for any place to take, and we took it.
Finally, the Queensland government has decided that we need a special task force. It’s too late for the Leeding family and the 81 plus robbery victims and their families, but it’s a start and it’s enough for now.
If you think that your council should be doing more to help your area, whether it’s to stop crime or anything else then please speak up. Don’t let it be too late. Let the Gold Coast be your example.
Rest in peace Damian. We won’t forget you. 

1 comment:

  1. I agree completely, it took a great man, father and officer to die in the line of duty just for something to be approved by the government. I know there are things like budgets and resource allocations but surely the safety of people on the gold coast should be number one in they eyes of the government.

    Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of Detective Senior Constable Leeding.