Mourn in Peace | Not Under Queensland's VLAD Laws You Won't
Friday 6th June, 2014 I attended a funeral of a club member, in Moura, Queensland; who died after battling cancer. With respect to his family, I am writing today from what I saw and experienced from attending this funeral. I feel honoured and privileged to have been present, and humbled that family members have asked me to write about the day, for the benefit of passing knowledge along to the wider general public.
Moura, is a small country town 181km south west of Rockhampton in Queensland. Not a lot around town, but is predominantly a coal mining town with Dawson Mine being the current mine in operation, as well as beef, cotton and cereal being the other main industries of this little township. A car load of us ladies left Rockhampton in the early hours of the morning to make the 11:00am graveside service. Enjoying the typically beautiful scenery of bush land, patches of that infamous Australian soil and roadside creek beds, we were enjoying the drive immensely. We were talking about the greatness of the man whose funeral we were attending, and were all smiles as club members, following the rules of riding in pairs only passed us along the way. However, there in the back of our minds and causing us great angst was that dreaded feeling of what was further up the road and how intense it would be, and this presence we were expecting was police presence.
Now, it is my understanding, and I welcome being corrected if I am wrong; the days prior to the funeral (or any funeral, since Campbell Newman’s VLAD Laws have been in place), that police often attend at a club members home and ask about the funeral, how many will be attending and offer assurances of “we will leave you alone, if you follow the laws and arrive in two’s and leave by two’s”, and they pressure for more precise dates and ask endlessly, “how many do you think will be attending?”. Now this would be irritating, considering that they know exactly where the time frame of a funeral will be as they are the ones who sign off and release the body. Now, this brings up momentarily, an extra side issue that you, the general public do not know about, and is kept hidden from you. When a club member dies, they are put through a more extreme post death analysis which you the general public are not submitted to. And just so I do not sway from the main topic here, the funeral itself, I do wish to highlight that these more extreme clinical analysis’s that a deceased club member and their family must endure, are solely for the purposes of police statistics and the media. As an example; ‘If a club member dies whilst undergoing a triple bypass in the hospital, the police will still do ‘further coronary toxicology analysis’ for the purposes of detecting illegal substances within the deceased members system. If say a minute trace of marijuana was found within his system, well that is going to be put upon the blokes death certification alongside died whilst having heart surgery. Then, you the general public are going to pick up your newspaper, sit and drink your morning coffee and read:
“ … club member dies in Timbucktoo Hospital. Toxicology reports show he had the illegal substance of marijuana in his system. He died in Timbucktoo whilst having lifesaving surgery..."
And that is exactly what happens, that is how they present it to the media to publish, and the police then add that to their statistics, which is presented to their bosses the government, who then make more and more laws and place fear in you, the general public.
So, in saying this, we were expecting police presence of some type. As we got further up the road, and with huge kilometres of gaps between them, about 3 pairs of club members passing us on their bikes, making our hearts pound with respect and pride, but also with the looming imminent fear of what was going to happen, we received a text from a truckie mate of mine who told us that there was a road block at Banana. Banana is a tiny little village about 10km’s from Moura. Us ladies being ladies, had already decided a few clicks prior to getting that text, that we needed a pit stop (Come on we are only ladies, when you gotta go, you gotta go). As we pulled into Banana and made a beeline for the Choice servo, our hearts sank. There directly opposite the servo was the foretold road block and the 3 pairs of riders we had seen had been detained. A lady friend in the rear passenger seat saw a couple of people she knew, and went to wave. We had to growl at her and tell her not to wave do not show that you know them. As there was 4 of us in the car, and because we had been warned previously, two of us remained in the car doing the ‘pee pee dance’, whilst the first two got out went to the little girls room and returned, then we left in our duo to do the same thing. As I sat there, waiting to safely get out and go relieve my bladder without being arrested and thrown into Woodford wearing a pink jumpsuit on 23 hour a day lock down, I watched and took photos of the scene playing out directly in front of me.
Right up the front on the corner were two club members, being drug tested and their bikes inspected. Then there was a police car separating them, then another two club members undergoing the same treatment, followed by a task force car, and a final two, doing the same as the first two pairs of riders. I just want to state here, that as we pulled into town, a detective was wearing a pale blue plain shirt along with dark grey slacks, and was in the middle of the road, watching for bikes and cars to pull in without wearing his hi vis safety vest as is required by law and occupational health and safety regulations. He saw me taking photos of them all and he went to his plain vehicle, retrieved his vest, and put it on whilst still walking in the middle of the road. I watched this play out in front of me, the drug testing, bike inspections, and police taking photographs of the club members all on the side of the road, whilst they are grieving the loss of their brother and on their way to his funeral. Luckily, we left Banana, without being detained. We were so sad, and angry at this display of disrespect to grieving men.
Upon our arrival into Moura, we made our way to the cemetery and waited for everyone to arrive and to begin the service. As we waited we watched more and more people arrive, both club brothers and non-club mourners. As the service commenced and all the club brothers formed a line both sides of the path from the back of the hearse as a guard of honour for the coffin to be carried to his place of rest, those of us that were standing near the back (not sure if the rest of the gatherers heard it) we heard a police radio over a speaker although muffled at first, was quite loud in the words of “ look at all this criminal activity and associates”, I turned to look behind me wondering whether we had an infiltrator in plain clothes standing among us (trust me they stand out like over full cow udders), no one seemed out of place, and then I looked toward the fence I saw two mining vehicles. These are typically white hilux ute type things with the orange dome light on top with a reflector stripe running along the body each side of the vehicle. And there was in the driver seat of one of these cars a man with a camera taking photos of mourners with a big zoom lens. By the end of the service, there was only one of those miner utes left parked by the fence line.
The service was lovely. A beautiful poem read by a lovely young girl and the eulogy read by an amazing young woman (the loved one’s daughter I believe), who was so eloquent, composed and had me hanging on every loving word that she had to say, and the young son who also read, they were all very much a shining credit to their family, their dearly loved Uncle & Father who they were there to mourn. What broke my heart throughout the service was the never ending patrol of police cars back and forth past the cemetery throughout the service. Whilst providing my sleeve for tears and hugs to a lovely young lady standing beside me, I also stood there watching the club members who with each passing of the police their focus from the ceremony was replaced by standing up erect, heads turned to all entrances of this beautiful little country place of rest, looking at one another, the family of the dead brother and over their shoulders. This reaction played out on the television by the media would probably have words that were negatively saying something like “guilty men act nervous at funeral in country Moura”, but being there, seeing first hand this reaction, I could feel the angst and the instinctive acknowledgement to one another, this powerful need of being able to protect the mourning family and other attendees from anything that may happen with the police if they stormed that cemetery during the service. As I looked at where their eyes were directed, the young children of their dead brother, I also felt this instant protective need to make sure that no matter what happens, they are first and foremost to be looked after. I looked over my shoulder, and saw an elderly Aboriginal couple, who each time the police went past, they would move closer into the crowd of people and look for reassurance. I want to point also, that throughout the ceremony, the biological brother of the deceased member being buried, is also a club member, and he stood the entire time near the rear of seated family members, keeping his eyes on both his family and the police as they drove by. To look at him during this time, he was most definitely ready to stand with his club brothers to protect his family from any police invasion on the lawns of this holy resting place.
What Do You Think Of This Police Behaviour & Government Enforcement Of Laws?
At the end of the service we were all invited back to the family home for the wake. As we departed the cemetery to make our way, lo and behold at the end of the street was a further bevy of police cars. As we turned onto the street they were parked they were pulling in cars and bikes again, and photographing car rego’s and passengers in the vehicle through the windscreen. On all main road exits of the town from the cemetery there were plain police cars with cameras taking photos of rego plates as we left for the family home. We stopped into the local IGA on our way, and once again only got out of the car in pairs, not all together. The checkout girl inside the store asked us,
“How was the ceremony?”
I replied, “It was a lovely service; however the police presence and disrespect made it somewhat nervy and agitating."
A lovely well-dressed customer overheard my response and said,
“How bloody disrespectful, I have lived here my entire life and I have never seen such horrendous overzealous pathetic bullshit in my entire life. It is bloody downright disgusting and uncalled for”.
After we had been at the wake at the family home for an hour, we were once again, being patrolled by the police. Throughout the afternoon, police car after police car, patrolled the entire perimeter of the home. This was incredibly upsetting to the family and the club brothers. An elderly couple were frightened, yet angry and voiced their disgust and feelings of indifference to the police and the laws. As for us ladies, we did not feel safe nor relieved, until we had reached the safety of our homes, back in Rockhampton, which on any given day is a false feeling of security, given the ‘willy-nilly’ will of the police to invade our space within the confines of our own four walls due to their profiling of us for attending the funeral of a club member.
Not one club member was found to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and not one member was fined or arrested for anything on this day. I feel absolute anger at the behaviour of the police, and the laws of whimsical, egotistical politicians who deem this “okay & necessary”.
I would like you to ask yourself Australia what you would feel if this happened to you whilst burying a loved one. I would like you think about the poor widow and the young children and whether you would be prepared to tolerate this if it was you in their shoes. Is there any law that makes the behaviour of the police on this day of mourning acceptable? I want you to take note of yesterday’s newspaper and television stories, and see, as I did, the rampant headlines of girls supposedly being raped and drugged by club members in Hervey Bay etc.. I researched last night, and of the funerals that have taken place since the VLAD Laws have been in place, I notice a pattern of media stories coinciding with these funerals that are feeding the false perceptions of club members over the entire nation. I feel most vehemently this is to deflect your attention and acknowledgement of their gross misconduct on both humanitarian and compassionate levels whilst these funerals take place.
This is a social engineering, a brain washing of all Australians! A perception they are forcing into your minds of motorcycle club members throughout our supposedly democratic, fun loving, easy going, have a go country. I really want you to think of your last loved one who has died, and their funeral service, and ask yourself, honestly, what would you feel if this was uniform behaviour for each and every Australian to endure from the police on the say so of their bosses, your government? The reality is these laws are not just for bikies! These laws do not stipulate between you or bikies, these laws, word for word, say “any group of people”, “any person with a criminal mark”, this could very well be common practice for all Australians. Think about this, have you ever had a speeding fine? Parking fine? Have you committed an offence, absolutely anything, slightly outside of ‘their’ laws? If so, this could be your next loved ones funeral, the police just have to point the finger and say “criminal association” and it will be you!
My heart goes out to each and every family member of the man who was laid to rest yesterday. My heart goes out to each and every club member who attended this man’s service yesterday, with a heartfelt acknowledgement that I deplore what happened to them all yesterday, that they were not allowed to focus on the service of their brother in full, that they had to keep looking over their shoulders and thinking to protect the children present. That they were treated as criminals on their way there and on their departure, a place where they should have been given time to mourn, grieve and relive their memories all together, was replaced by fear and the need to maintain vigilance and to self-preserve and protect all around them.
And personally, Campbell Newman, Jarrod Bleijie, Jack Dempsey and each and every police officer and politician who continue to endorse and enforce these laws, I personally bid you a long time rotting in hell for this despicable, Gestapo behaviour that continues to highlight you as inept, corporate silver spoon fed fools with no concept, care or understanding of the bread and butter, salt of the earth people who built this country. You are wrong!! Your actions do nothing but continue to show each and every Australian you are wrong and display fully to us all nothing but your narcissistic self-righteous over inflated egos of self-importance and superiority. And I denounce the electable dictatorship I am forced to live in, and I look forward to the day, we can rise up together and topple your gluttonous elite rich regime and bring Australia back to her former glory of a free and lucky country where having a go and freedom of choice is what we stand for and support.Much love and respect to the family of the departed.
© Kartanya Martinez
Motorcycle Clubs In Australia