History is littered with examples of the fearful power of the mob. And of its irrationality and cruelty. It's the reason I've always resisted the superficial appeal of incorporating binding mass referendums as part of our democratic system. The groundswell of sympathy for 50-year-old Manurewa child-killer Bruce Emery on Friday after he was jailed for four years and three months for stabbing a 15-year-old tagger to death only reinforced my lack of faith in the wisdom of the mob.
Surely Emery is paying a very cheap price for someone who admitted running from his house with a 13cm kitchen knife in his hand, chasing the youngster down a street and extinguishing his life with a deadly thrust to his chest. Cheap when you think that 12-year-old Bailey Junior Kurariki, for instance, got locked up for seven years for the same crime of manslaughter - and he didn't even deliver any blows to his victim.
Now Rudman, of course, is perfectly entitled to his opinion. But as a journalist, he should make sure that what he writes is factual. Pihema Cameron was NOT a child. He was a young man, fuelled by a mix of testosterone, alcohol and cannabis, out late at night breaking the law. He was, to some extent, the author of his own misfortune. Cameron hardly behaved in a child-like manner. And let's not forget his emotive use of the term "deadly thrust". Evidence was given at trial that only 5cm of the 13cm blade penetrated Cameron's chest which hardly seems like a "deadly thrust" to us.
The comparison with Bailey Kurariki is also misleading. Kurariki was not an innocent bystander as Rudman infers. Kurariki was part of a group of young men and women who cowardly lay in wait and set upon Michael Choy with the purpose of robbing him. Not content with taking his money and his pizzas, they took his life as well.
We suspect that deep down, Rudman realises all this. But in his search for a hard-hitting column, he has resorted to hyperbole. Perhaps he should stick to his feud with Rodney Hide.