Friday, June 05, 2009

Human Decency Lost, And Found

This week has seen a string of events that have reflected badly on our humanity, and one sad event that has reminded us that there is hope.

"David Gabriel Watson, 32, was sentenced to four-and-a-half years' jail on Friday after pleading guilty in the Supreme Court in Brisbane to killing his new wife, Christina (Tina) while scuba diving in north Queensland in October 2003." ( ) He will server 12-months in gaol, with the remainder of his sentence suspended. He will then be free to return to the US, whence he came.

"A couple whose baby daughter (9-month-old Gloria Thomas) died after they treated her with homeopathic remedies instead of conventional medicine have been found guilty of manslaughter." ( ) Thomas Sam is also a qualified doctor. A custodial sentence for both parents seems likely.

The Chaser's War On Everything - a satirical show that has included stunts such a character dressed as Osama bin Laden attempting to gatecrash the APEC conference in Sydney (they gave themselves up after security failed to stop them) - has been suspended from ABC TV for 2 weeks after public outrage over their "skit" on dying children. "The ABC was inundated with callers outraged by the "Make a Realistic Wish Foundation" skit in which Andrew Hansen and Chris Taylor ask actors playing hospital bed-ridden children what they wish for. When one little girl asked to meet Hollywood actor Zac Efron, she was handed a stick instead, with Taylor asking 'why go to any trouble when they're going to die any way'." (,22049,25584801-5001021,00.html )

So much for the tacky, the inhumane, and just plain criminal. However, we were sadly reminded that human decency, compassion, and skill can all be combined. The sad event concerned (Prof.) "CHRISTOPHER O'BRIEN, the world-renowned cancer specialist who died from a brain tumour last night, acquired many honours during his career, including being made an officer in the Order of Australia, to be announced in the Queen's Birthday honours list on Monday." ( There will be a State Funeral for a man whose medical peers, and all who knew, or were treated by him, acknowledge his human compassion, understanding and surgical skill. Professor O'Brien's passing has helped to remind us that there are good people, and we can aspire to emulate them. Vale, Professor Chris O'Brien.