Peace in our Neighbourhood

Understandably there’s been a conversation in central city-circles of late, about recent acts of violence in Auckland.  Either random unwarranted attacks on vulnerable international students, or late night brawls that occur out on the city streets, while we sleep high above in our apartments.
 
For international students, far from their traditional support networks, being assaulted and robbed must be an unfathomably shattering experience.
 
On the city streets at some point after 9pm the unpleasant end of over-indulgence of alcohol and consequent disinhibition, ends up with someone getting hurt, occasionally seriously.
 
How do we the community of the city centre, the residents, business, students, tertiary institutions, local government, respond to violence?
 
Sensible laws around alcohol that allow for a good time without harm, policing where needed, shifting the “I’m-going-to-get-trolleyed” culture and education that actually that king-hit could see you on a manslaughter charge, would all seem a useful start but somehow lacking in direct action on my part.
 
In the face of violence, my own non-violence is a measured rush of adrenaline that attempts to redress the balance in favour of peace and tends to the neighbourhood’s wounded reputation.
 
My weapons of choice are the smile, the conversation, the offer of help to those I pass on the street, coupled with involvement in community activity that builds our unique backyard lying just beyond the apartment doorway.  I won’t do this every day but on the 100th Monkey principle, every action counts.
 
“With violence, as with so many other concerns, human nature is the problem, but human nature is also the solution.” Steven Pinker

- Mik Smellie
  Central City Fanatic