The Dim-Post

February 25, 2011

Human spirit watch

Filed under: general news — danylmc @ 2:59 pm

Most of the stories about looting in the ruins of Christchurch send me off into violent revenge fantasies, but this is sort of adorable:

In a separate incident, a looter was caught red handed by police stealing a pearl drum set from a music store in Blenheim Road in the early hours of this morning.

The thief had smashed the front window to gain entry. Police caught and arrested a man 15 metres from the store.

That’s the wonderful thing about New Zealand. No matter how extreme the tragedy, no matter how vast the physical destruction, and no matter how terrible the carnage and despair and grief, there’s always some bogan who sees it all as an opportunity to score a really kick-ass drum-set.

Meanwhile, I’ve been out buying stocks of hand-sanitiser to send down to Christchurch in an aid package. I know that we’re all heroes in our own way – but can’t help but feel that my way is slightly less heroic than the way of the guys who rescued survivors from burning piles of rubble.


  1. hmmm… maybe he was just bringing stuff out of the store to save it from damage, should the building collapse.

    Comment by che tibby — February 25, 2011 @ 3:06 pm

  2. ba doom boom “chish”

    Comment by k.jones — February 25, 2011 @ 3:09 pm

  3. Pearl before swine.

    Comment by George D — February 25, 2011 @ 3:11 pm

  4. but this is sort of adorable

    Glad to see you’re not banging the law and order drum.

    Comment by Scott — February 25, 2011 @ 3:31 pm

  5. I love that the police apprehended him 15 metres from the store. Only 15!

    Comment by Jordan — February 25, 2011 @ 3:35 pm

  6. Noted on one of the clips in the immediate post quake period a cop running out of a building as an aftershock hits. As soon as it stops he runs back in again. Contrast that and the many other examples of courage being displayed down there with the looters and burglars cowardly “fuck everybody else” opportunism. To call them scum is an insult to scum, which occasionally has a useful function.

    Comment by samm — February 25, 2011 @ 3:41 pm

  7. … my wife and I were in Sri Lanka for the Tsunami (inland, we were safe luckily) and ended up sending a truck load of medical supplies to the coast. Weirdest item with many requests – Sanitary pads. I kid you not.

    Comment by TBwood — February 25, 2011 @ 3:59 pm

  8. “I know that we’re all heroes in our own way – but can’t help but feel that my way is slightly less heroic than the way of the guys who rescued survivors from burning piles of rubble.”

    Don’t short change yourself, Danyl. God knows what people think you are buying all that hand-sanatiser for. You are sacrificing your good name for the hygiene of Christchurch’s people. I salute you.

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — February 25, 2011 @ 4:02 pm

  9. Weirdest item with many requests – Sanitary pads.

    Well, speaking as one of the bleeding half of the population, I’d just like to say that trying to manage a period without tampons or sanitary pads is very, very difficult indeed, and not to be recommended if you are in any way under stress. And… just do the maths on it – say 25% of the population (50% of all women) have regular periods, which last anywhere from 3 to 5 to 8 days a month, depending. So at any one time, 5% of the population (1/5 of 35%) are going to be needing tampons or sanitary pads or moon cups or menstrual sponges or whatever. My guess is that there are a lot of bleeding women who need supplies.

    Back to discussions of heroism then.

    Comment by Deborah — February 25, 2011 @ 4:15 pm

  10. @Deborah, I guess the reason it seems strange is that menstruation was going to happen in Christchurch anyway, regardless of the earthquake. There would already have been enough pads and tampons in the city, so transporting tampons and pads to Christchurch is presumably just replacing tampons and pads that are already there but which people can’t get to.

    Comment by kahitakea — February 25, 2011 @ 4:38 pm

  11. Yes. A bit like transporting food to the city. There would have been plenty there, but it was inaccessible, or spoiled, as many women’s supplies of tampons and san. pads would have been spoiled. But no one seems to think that transporting food there was weird.

    Comment by Deborah — February 25, 2011 @ 4:46 pm

  12. Another test of “Human Spirit Watch” will be at 9.30 tonight on TV3.

    I can’t believe they’re going to go ahead with “7 Days” (although as of this afternoon, it’s still on the schedule). That’s gotta be the ultimate comedy challenge. Or career suicide.

    Comment by sammy — February 25, 2011 @ 4:58 pm

  13. And in other news, “two men who allegedly stole emergency generators from quake-striken Christchurch have appeared in court”. I usually try to give people the benefit of the doubt without knowing a full context, but sometimes I wonder what kind of demented things go through people’s heads when they do this kind of thing, as if they somehow fail to grasp the bigger picture, or just don’t care.

    “The two men lifted their middle fingers to the courtroom as they were led back to the cells. Bail was denied, and they were remanded until March 28.”

    Or maybe they believe themselves falsely accused and they’ve lost confidence in the system. That must be it.

    Comment by MikeM — February 25, 2011 @ 4:59 pm

  14. “I know that were all heroes in our own way”

    What I want to know is: exactly how does wearing red and black to work on a Friday in Wellington supports the people of Canterbury? It seems like more of a self-promotion exercise to me. Yes yes, I know, I am going to hell.

    Comment by DT — February 25, 2011 @ 5:05 pm

  15. @DT, I think the only way it works is if you get everyone in your office who wears red and black to pay money into a central kitty which goes to the Red Cross.

    Comment by kahitakea — February 25, 2011 @ 5:09 pm

  16. This picture to me sums up the uncrushable optimism and civic spirit of New Zealanders:

    Even when faced by the most terrible disaster, someone remembered to put the road cone out.

    Comment by Sanctuary — February 25, 2011 @ 5:45 pm

  17. @ MikeM ;

    Doesn’t look like he’s a rocket scientist;

    Comment by TBwood — February 25, 2011 @ 6:17 pm

  18. good on you Danyl. Every little helps and by god they need evey bit of help they can get.

    Comment by leon — February 25, 2011 @ 7:49 pm

  19. I think the appropriate punishment for the drums thieves is to … make them buy it and pay **full retail**.

    Comment by vibenna — February 25, 2011 @ 9:47 pm

  20. Love the pic Sanctuary. True Kiwi pragmatism.

    Comment by Jordan — February 26, 2011 @ 7:51 am

  21. You know you are right in the middle of it all when your sister in Toronto tells you that she saw your place in CNN News. Here is the image I sent her:

    That’s my bedroom, now al fresco, in the upper left. Thankfully I was at work, but I know that my neighbours got out OK. However, I also know that there would have been people in the corner building, the iconic ANZ Chambers. It distinctive red dome is now in the middle of Lichfield Street, looking like a giant’s hard hat. I heard that there was also someone in one of those crushed cars. I had nightmares the first night I saw that image.

    Comment by David in Chch — February 26, 2011 @ 10:22 am

  22. David: If you haven’t seen it, Stuff’s currently hosting someone’s amateur video from that area, shortly after the quake.

    Comment by izogi — February 26, 2011 @ 10:45 am

  23. Jesus wept David, thank goodness you weren’t in that area at the time. How is it down there today?

    Regarding supplies to ChCh, the problem is that we’re an on-demand society and we get just enough groceries and other items as we need them – including sanitary products. Women will have gone from “I must get more tampons before the weekend” to “Holy hell, all the stores are shut – what the frick am I going to do?” Ditto for water, hand sanitiser, food etc.

    I’ve got emergency water stored but little else for disaster preparation, which I intend to remedy.

    Comment by Ataahua — February 26, 2011 @ 11:27 am

  24. I’ve been mentally contrasting what has happened in Chch compared with what might happen in Wgtn

    – did you notice how many cranes/lift equipment swung into action so quickly on Tuesday. Here there probably isn’t a huge amount of it, and gear in the Hutt/Porirua basins would probably be isolated to those areas. Chch is just one continuous city so more flexible
    – some of the city had water. In Wgtn the water main comes from the Hutt, it would be out
    – some of the city had power. In Wgtn that would depend on a couple of substations surviving, and then the state of the overhead lines (less underground than in Chch, we might do OK)
    – water, fuel and food could be trucked and railed in. Here probably not, broken links likely
    – the harbour is healthy. The channels in Wgtn are far more shallow, so it would depend on whether they stayed deep enough, and they might need resurveying pronto
    – there is a substantial army base nearby

    Time to revisit the emergency supplies I think
    Not so silly to join Civil Defence either

    Comment by Stu — February 26, 2011 @ 12:23 pm

  25. 7 Days did indeed screen on TV3 last night, and made the point that there was nothing funny about the earthquake; all its news stories would be from the “other” news of the last 7 days. And so it was.

    Donate $20 to the Red Cross earthquake appeal: 0900 73327
    It is added to your next phone bill.

    Comment by MeToo — February 26, 2011 @ 3:41 pm

  26. I think the appropriate punishment for the drums thieves is to … make them buy it and pay **full retail**

    What, even at Briscoes?

    Comment by Dizzy — February 26, 2011 @ 5:41 pm

  27. Thanks, izogi. I think. I see that and get all tied up in knots all over again!! The horror!!

    I have not been back there since I left for work that morning. I finally got some new clothes today. I cannot get back to the CBD – it is cordoned off. And given the state of the building, I wonder if I will EVER be allowed back. I am starting from the assumption that I have lost _everything_. If I ever do manage to recover or salvage anything, then it will be a bonus.

    As for emergency planning – yep. I had water, tinned goods, etc. Guess where? In my pantry in the apartment. And at the uni, we have little emergency bags into which we can put bottled water, muesli bars and such. BUT no one took those bags with them when we evacuated to the assembly points. Then we weren’t allowed back in. Thankfully a colleague offered me a bed in their spare room. And I am there for now. Who knows what the future will bring. Ultimately, Chch will NEVER be the same. So many iconic buildings were destroyed. So many people traumatised (and no, it is NOT an overstatement).

    Anyway, as I said to someone else, when you know that your personal home features on overseas news, you know that you _personally_ are right in the middle of the disaster.

    Comment by David in Chch — February 26, 2011 @ 6:36 pm

  28. I’m very sorry, David. I should have added a warning note under the circumstances. I did have some trouble watching it myself.

    I’m reluctant to comment too much because I’m not sure anything I say could do the situation justice. Nevertheless everyone affected by this has my deepest sympathies. I’m stuck overseas but I pushed a donation at the Red Cross this morning, and there may be more to come.

    Comment by izogi — February 26, 2011 @ 7:36 pm

  29. No worries, izogi. I chose to view it, knowing full well what it might show. Let’s face it – I had experienced the previous two big shakes (September 4 and Boxing Day) while in the apartment, and knew what damage this one had caused. So I had some idea going in.

    So no need to apologise. But thanks for the comment anyway.

    Comment by David in Chch — February 26, 2011 @ 7:45 pm

  30. As izogi says, tough to say anything that would do justice but best of luck David.

    Comment by garethw — February 27, 2011 @ 9:45 am

  31. And if course anything we can send down or help out with them let us know. I suspect there’s the occasional small oddity that Red Cross won’t consider critical that we could find to send down…

    Comment by garethw — February 27, 2011 @ 9:48 am

  32. Thanks, Gareth. I am staying with a colleague, and have many offers from friends around New Zealand. We really do only have 2 degrees of separation here, I think. My first circle (friends, family, close colleagues) are physically OK. We know that there will be tragedies in that next circle of colleagues and acquaintances.

    Comment by David in Chch — February 27, 2011 @ 10:18 am

  33. That sounds awful David. @TBWood. Perhaps you should try slopping a substance like blood (tomato sauce?) over your trousers, leaving it to dry and then walking around in them for several days. Slosh over more sauce regularly whenever it starts to dry out. When all the skin has chafed off your inner thighs and you’re tired of the embarassing stares you may understand better why women want sanitary pads in an emergency 🙂

    Comment by LucyJH — February 27, 2011 @ 5:40 pm

  34. Stu @ 24 “did you notice how many cranes/lift equipment swung into action so quickly on Tuesday. ”
    Surely most of them came there since the Sept shake? So pure luck that Chch had a dress rehersal of sorts.
    Perhpas also helped with the speed at which the various agencies were up and running and communicating?

    Another difference between Wgtn and Chch CBD: some of the Chch buildings have a bit of space around them, whereas in Wgtn we’ll have nowhere to run to. Besides, DM and his academic mates will likely surf down the hill on to us in CBD. Well: those parts of the CBD that haven’t sunk below the waterline whence they came.

    I’ve sent cash to Red Cross and Womens Refuse. After payday, I’ll send some to the Sallies and St John. I personally can’t see the point of snding stuff now that most supermarkets are getting regular supplies: by the time they receive it, the locals will be in need of something else.

    Comment by Clunking Fist — February 28, 2011 @ 1:28 pm

  35. sorry: luck was supposed to be “luck”

    Comment by Clunking Fist — February 28, 2011 @ 1:30 pm

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