BELIEVE IN THE RIGHT TO A PEACEFUL AND SAFE COMMUNITY
ST KILDA RESIDENTS WHO
OPEN LETTER TO OUR COMMUNITY
It's with a heavy heart and not quite level state of mind that I write this with the hope that I can raise community awareness to help keep our children safe and influence desperately needed change to stem the continual rise of drug related violence that increasingly strangles our community here in St Kilda, Victoria.
This epidemic of drug related violence is ripping our community's sense of safety and well-being to its very core. Our laws and courts are clearly failing St Kilda, and have been doing so for several years. For the sake of St Kilda's residents and children, it's incumbent upon all residents, businesses, public organisations, council members, politicians, and lawmakers to take meaningful action to the best of our individual and collective abilities to help stem the tide of this continually growing violent drug related crime epidemic that has infected Melbourne's suburbs beyond comprehension.
My most recent case in point, on last Friday, 15 November 2019, just before 8 AM, I was unfortunate enough to witness a brutally inhumane attack on Simon Baric, a 73 year old St Kilda resident, known to many as a kind, principled man. My 6 year old daughter and I know Simon, we passed him all the time on our walks to and from school. He was always friendly and offered smiles to us in passing.
The attack was carried out by two known druggies in this area, men who are half Simon's age. The attack happened right behind St Kilda Park Primary school on Balluk William Court, where parents and kids walk to and from school every day. The attack happened in broad daylight, just before the time kids and parents started to walk to school.
Many think Simon was telling these druggies to go away, but we can only speculate as Simon suffered brain damage and is unable to clearly speak. (Please let that sink in.) Doctors say he faces weeks of recovery, possibly more brain surgery, and likely permanent damage. I saw everything from start to brutal finish as my apartment directly faced the crime scene. I don't know what was said between Simon and these two scum bags other than Simon was defending himself and was not the aggresssor. This is clearly evident in the videos I provided to police, the only videos that led to the attackers' swift arrests just before the start of school that day.
In terms of what I witnessed first-hand from my home just behind St Kilda Park Primary school, I saw these two disgusting pieces of human filth take down a man twice their age. Once Simon was down on the ground, they absolutely bashed him unconscious and bloody to the point of near death while I was on to 000 asking for help and at the same time praying I took enough video to lock these scum bags up for a very long time.
What I wasn't able to capture because I was on with 000 was something I'll forever regret seeing. I saw blood pouring out of Simon. I saw his head gashed open. I saw a pool of blood where he was laying. I saw the blood stains left from where residents were able to help him stand up against a car, then up against a wall. I saw Simon completely covered head to toe in solid red blood.
It was like something out of a war movie. When I walked home after dropping my daughter off at SKiPPS, and after being interviewed by the police, I witnessed people washing the blood away from everything. They were sombre and in shock, doing the needful, making sure to remove all traces of this heinous attack so that others would not see any hints of what I was unfortunate enough to witness.
Take those images, as graphic and vile and disgusting as you can imagine, then think about the following:
What Simon will have to live with for the rest of his life. It's fortunate he can't remember much, and I hope for the sake of his sanity it stays that way. Will Simon ever fully recover?
Our community along with police came together and brought these scum bags straight to justice's door step, videos and everything to boot. What happened next? Those same halls of justice released them less than a day later, essentially "asking" them to come back next March for their court hearing.
Every resident in St Kilda is in shock and horrified. If these criminals' mindsets allow them to do this to a pensioner, they're willing to do the same to parents and children walking to a school (in this case, St Kilda Park Primary school). What's stopping them from hurting others until March? Nothing.
This and countless other incidents in St Kilda over the past few years are a direct result of the toothless laws and political inaction by leaders, most of whom fail to even acknowledge the drug related violence epidemic rocking our community. Have we forgotten about the safety of our law-abiding residents? It certainly seems so.
The most troubling thing to St Kilda residents is the message we're sending to these scum bags and even worse, our children. We're essentially telling them adults can't pull their heads up enough to draw a line somewhere, anywhere to stem the rise in drug related violence.
So the drug related violence continues because druggies know they can come to St Kilda and get away with crime, receive help from the city getting clean needles, shoot up in public without being arrested, and basically do whatever they want (like beat innocent pensioners nearly to death). This is what happened last Friday just next to St Kilda Park Primary school at 8 AM, and the scum bags who committed this unthinkable act were set free by the courts the very next day. Residents are left unprotected again, police are frustrated. Just an ordinary day here in St Kilda. This is truly shameful, and completely avoidable.
IMMEDIATE CALL TO ACTION
Today, right now, can we please put aside the political bickering long enough to immediately draw a line against violence in all forms?
What I'm talking about is the creation of a law called "Simon Baric's Law", and it's simple. The law will draw the line at bashing other people unconscious (for starters can we agree on this being the line?). We can then agree to not release on bail the dangerous, violent criminals in the name of public safety, and then serve them with instant, guaranteed jail time (especially when video evidence is presented).
With all the beauty, good schools, beaches, parks, music, easily accessible public transport, diversity, and rich culture St Kilda has to offer, it should be the perfect place to raise children and live in peace. Sadly, most residents live in perpetual fear, with St Kilda ranked in the top 10 worst crime areas in Melbourne, Victoria.
Will the adults who have the power to make these changes please set an example for our children by showing them it's possible to come together in this time of crisis, take swift action as I've mentioned, and help protect our community from the drug induced violent choke hold currently sucking the life out of St Kilda?
Is drawing a line today with something like "Simon Baric's Law" too much to ask for from our leaders? Can all of us collectively agree that
bashing people unconscious = no bailed release + guaranteed jail time (with rehabilitation)?
Can we please just start there, today?