Car Enthusiasts are not hoons… Or are they?
This has been an ongoing debate for some time, but being the ratings-winner of the year for media outlets, vote-winner of the year for politicians, and finger-pointing topic of the year for the general public, I have to admit that, personally, I am confused by the whole debacle.
You see, from my side of the argument as a life-long car enthusiast, I can’t understand how I can be referred to in a derogatory manner by whom-ever feels the urge to slander me when they don’t know me or know anything about me – only that, for whatever reason, they have decided that I am a hoon.
The Government has condoned this slander by passing legislation which refers directly to hoons, and which gives police the discretionary power to have an opinion on whether-or-not someone is actually a hoon, or just a law-abiding citizen who momentarily forgot that it is against the law to exceed the speed limit.
But the interesting thing about these laws and discretionary powers is that the derogatory word “hoon” appears to be somewhat of a “grey area”. If someone exceeds the speed limit in a modified car, they are automatically labelled a hoon by all-and-sundry; and if the copper who catches the offender has an opinion that the offender is a hoon, then their car is impounded.
When a politician, such as the recently departed Queensland Police Minister David Gibson (embarrassingly forced to resign his ministry after only 13 days in office) is caught speeding and driving whilst unlicensed, he is not labelled a hoon, nor is his vehicle impounded.
When Top Queensland Cop, Commissioner Bob Atkinson, is caught speeding and his long history of habitual speeding offences is pointed out by the media, he is not charged under the hoon laws, nor is his vehicle impounded.
Are we beginning to see a pattern emerging here?
Almost daily, we see media reports of high speed car chases, of cars being stolen, of stolen cars being used in ram-raids, of citizens being attacked in road-rage incidents. Incredibly, nearly every-one of these reported incidents either refers to these incidents as hoon-related, or at the very least, manages to insert some reference to hoons within the news item.
In my opinion (for what it’s worth), if someone steals a car, ram-raids a business, bashes a fellow citizen because they are having a bad day; these people are not hoons, they are criminals, and there is a legal system in place to deal with these acts.
Oh, hang on a minute, I think I’m starting to get it!
A car enthusiast is (as I now understand it), by law and public opinion, is a hoon if someone says that they are.
A car thief or a bash-artist is not only a criminal, but again, if someone says so, is a hoon too.
So I guess that, by definition of media, government and public opinion, a car enthusiast is really someone who is a common criminal who, as yet, is not serving jail time for being passionate about cars.
Ah… Got it!