Still wore the Omega planet Ocean throughout last weekend;
Classes are now getting a little more serious. There's quite a bit of work coming up. For example, I'll have to take a close look at-
-and the list goes on with half-a-dozen more sites. I got no problem with the major players, such as Twitter and Blogger, for example, but I have a real aversion to setting up a Facebook page. The lecturer stated that it's not necessary to set one up, but it would appear that it'll make things a little easier if I do. I just wait and see. It should be doable without having to set it up.
Meanwhile, I took the Olympus Trip 35 film camera to school with me. I had planned to perhaps take some pictures with it to see how it ran. I didn't end up taking any snaps and, when I got home and took it out of my bag, I noticed that the entire lens element felt a little loose and wobbly. A quick net search revealed that this is a common occurrence with these cameras. I quick tutorial and I was able to remove the front lens element to expose three brass screws which were pretty loose. I tightened those and put it all back together. Only one problem; I didn't re-calibrate the lens. There was film in the camera so I measured a distance of three feet and took six or seven photos.
I got them developed and found that the last six photos were indeed completely out of focus. I had left out one crucial step when I took the lens apart. I had forgotten to mark where the lens was set.
And so, I'll be setting up a photo shoot and, turning the lens element a few millimetres at a time, I'll take a series of photos and get them developed to determine which ones show the best focus. And then I'll re-calibrate the lens and tighten some screws. That should do it. I called a camera repairer and he quoted me $150 for a full strip-down of the camera. Seemed a little excessive, so I think I'll take a crack at fixing it myself first.
I switched over to the Omega Speedmaster Professional, since I'd been wearing the Planet Ocean for two weeks.
However, wristwatches became pretty insignificant to me on Thursday morning when I read the news story about an eleven year-old boy named Luke Batty, who had been murdered by his estranged father after a cricket practice session in a nearby suburb called Tyabb. I don't want to go into the details of it, since it can be found on the web, but I just found it an absolutely heartbreaking, callous and cowardly crime. I couldn't help but wonder what terror the boy must have felt and thought at the time. I just do not understand how a father can do something like this to their child. It turned out that the Dad had mental issues. I say 'had' because when the police arrived, he lunged at them with a knife. The officers used pepper spray, to no effect, and, as he threatened them again, he was shot once in the upper body and died later in hospital.
There have been a few crimes of this nature that have occurred in Victoria over the past decade. Robert Farquharson was given a life sentence (with a 33 year minimum) for murdering his three sons by driving his car into a dam in 2005, claiming that he lost control of the wheel after suffering 'a coughing fit' while driving.
Arthur Phillip Freeman was convicted of murder for throwing his four year-old daughter, Darcey, off the West Gate Bridge in 2009 during morning peak-hour traffic on what would have been her first day at pre-school.
Fifteen or twenty years ago, I would have read something like this and thought; "Oh, that's awful." And I probably wouldn't have thought much more beyond that.
However, I became a father on Christmas Day, 2000, and my wife and I welcomed our beautiful daughter into the world in September 2002. My perceptions of crimes like those above certainly changed since I had children of my own.
We don't bring children into this world in order to treat them this way.
As an aspiring writer, I sometimes tell myself that I can put myself in the shoes of my characters in order to understand their motivations within the story. However, I cannot, for the life of me, fathom how or why a man could do something like these crimes. Mental instability, in the cases of the Tyabb father and Arthur Freeman, can explain some of it, but not all of it, in my opinion. As for Farquharson, he was shown to be of sound mind, which merely tells me that he was operating from a dark corner of pure malevolence.
If there is any good to come from the murder of Luke Batty, I hope it takes the form of stronger laws and restrictions towards divorced parents who become embroiled in complicated custody battles. I hope it brings about better methods of safeguarding children from the possibility of harm such as this. I'm in no way well-informed enough in the machinations of The Family Court or Child Protection Services here in Australia to be able to provide a solution to prevent situations like these. I just hope that the powers-that-be can come up with strategies to ensure that these kinds of crimes don't happen again.
Literature and Hollywood can throw all manner of created horrors our way, but it is the real horror that occurs all too often which shows a level of evil far beyond our understanding. And the victims of these horrors are often those who are the most innocent, the most pure, and the most defenceless.
I made an iced chocolate for my son when he got home from school later that day.
A few hours later, he walked into the lounge room and gave me a hug, as he sometimes does.
I held onto him a little tighter. A little longer.
And felt my eyes well up again that day.
I began this post about three hours ago and, to be honest, I don't really feel like continuing. I hadn't set out to write so much about this crime, but perhaps I just had to get this out of my system somehow, even though I never set up this blog to use as a soap-box. My apologies if I've spoiled your day, folks. As I wrote earlier, I hope that there is some good to be found from all this and my heart goes out to Luke's Mother. I hope she will reach a point where she can make sense of it all. Tyabb is a small, tight-knit community, from what I've read, and this crime has had a deep and far-reaching effect. My thoughts are with all those affected by this senseless tragedy.
Thanks for reading.