Garth George is spreading his poison memes in the Herald this morning, with his condemnation of the investigation into David Benson-Pope. According to George, Benson-Pope
...has become the latest victim of those who judge historic behaviour by the "standards" of today, which are not standards at all but an amorphous mass of prejudice parading as "tolerance" - and "rights".
Mr Benson-Pope is alleged, in his long-ago schoolteacher days, to have shoved a tennis ball into the mouth of some disobedient and yappy young punk, then taped his hands to his desk so he couldn’t pull it out. And to have thrown tennis balls at inattentive pupils.
So what? It sounds hugely creative and highly effective to me. And it’s a damn shame there isn’t a bit more of such discipline in our schools today - cricket balls, perhaps.
Unfortunately, George makes exactly the same mistake he did when trying to whitewash the abuse of army cadets at Waiouru. Benson-Pope's behaviour is not being judged by today's standards, but by the standards of his time. And as the Herald's editorial points out, some of what is alleged - striking someone across the face so that their nose bled; the use of a tennis ball as a gag - was illegal even in the 80's, and if substantiated, should result in criminal charges. It is therefore only appropriate that they have been passed on to police.
George's sickening attempt to justify sadism and abuse does serve one useful purpose, however, in pointing out why complaints weren't laid at the time:
Complaints weren’t made at the time because to complain was to be labelled a tattle-tail and a wimp and to become a pariah. As it was in my day.
But who promoted this culture of silence? Bullies, abusers, and their supporters - supporters like Garth George.