Heroes and villains: Week ending 15/1/11

Hero: So many likely candidates for this week’s hero have emerged from the brown flood waters now receding into putrid brown mud in various parts of Australia.  There was Queensland Premier, Anna Bligh, stepping up to the mark and giving calm and strong leadership when it was most needed; the army of SES volunteers and emergency services personnel who put their own lives on the line to save others; and then there was 13 year old Jordan Rice who died in the flash flood in Toowoomba after pleading with rescuers to save his younger brother.   All wonderful and worthy people and heroes all, but for mine, the hero of the week is 24 year old Constable Chloe Beattie, who found herself stranded by floodwaters on the Warrego Highway at the tiny township of Withcott on Monday afternoon as an 8-metre wall of water swept down the valley, bearing down on the town.  Constable Beattie singlehandedly coordinated an orderly evacuation and rescues, directing traffic, moving people to high ground and ensuring all was done calmly in the face of the most extraordinary circumstances.  After the event she brushed aside any suggestion of heroism, saying that she was just doing her job.  No, Constable Beattie, this was over and above the call of duty.  Trying to estimate the number of lives this young police officer saved through her action is only speculation, but what is certain is that there are people alive now who would not be had she not kept her head and taken charge in a chaotic and deadly situation.

Villain: I was going to leave him out of it.  I really was.  I bagged the Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott, a couple of times during the week for his uninformed or insensitive comments and I had every intention of leaving it at that.  However, when he turned up in Brisbane the other day, announcing that “the rain falls on the just and the unjust”, and , “I’m guessing this is Anna Bligh’s finest hour, but there’s many hours to come”, the internet lit up with cries of outrage.  I scanned through a couple of hundred Twitter comments referencing Tony Abbott and could not find a single one in his support.  The following is a tiny sample of the Twitter comments in response to his visit to Brisbane on Thursday:

Just when this disaster couldn’t get any worse, Tony Abbott rocks up.

Comparing Tony Abbott & Anna Bligh. One is demonstrating true leadership, the other is just a caveman.

Tony Abbott, you are a bigger piece of shit than the raw sewage floating down the Brisbane River.

Tell us Tony Abbott, who are the “unjust” people in the queensland floods? Graceless prick

Tony Abbott is as useful as tits on a bull with his comments today.

Can someone please escort Tony Abbott to the NSW border? One disaster at a time is enough for Queensland!

Oh Tony Abbott. Now is not the time to talk about your surplus, people are missing. We need unity not childish bitching.

shut the fuck up, tony abbott. get out of our city.

So, there it is.  Villain of the week by popular acclaim is Tony Abbott.

But having made that decision, I hope there is a special place in hell reserved for the low-life looters taking advantage of a natural disaster to get their thieving hands on other people’s possessions.

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About Coffee with Ruby

Ruby is a writer, lecturer and thinker who blogs mostly on politics, environment and social philosophy. She has been at the coalface of the political process, but is now strictly an observer. Join Ruby for coffee and musings over whatever is going on at the time ...
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