Tamworth businessman Bruce Read has threatened to go viral by uploading footage he says his CCTV cameras have captured of three young boys vandalising his shopping centre.
Those cameras apparently caught the boys in the act – causing something like $5000 worth of damage after they smashed glass doors with rocks and leaving a trail of damage behind at The Atrium complex in the heart of the Tamworth CBD.
Mr Read says they taunted him as well – with lewd, rude and crude gestures no mother would think her young kids might do in public.
So now, he’s seen red, and in throwing down the gauntlet in no uncertain terms, and certainly in terms that might shock and dismay some sections of the community, he’s given them the ultimatum.
It might well be like a red flag to a bull.
Own up, apologise, sit down and talk and maybe come to some consensus about accepting their actions and looking to make a better future for themselves – or face a businessman who will do things that will throw their actions into the cyberspace of social media.
Where others might say he’s about to go feral, Mr Read says he’s going viral and he’ll humiliate them – because he’s sick to death of the criminal behaviour he sees. He’s deadset sick of the damage and the juvenile actions behind it, and he has no confidence in the justice system to do anything about fixing it.
Civil libertarians and legal experts will warn of the ramifications of such unorthodox and inflammatory actions. Police too have already urged caution and care. Mr Read has also acknowledged the backlash and the legalities – but he’s had enough.
Since exposing the story in Friday’s Leader, the response has been surprising, not least for the lack of the backlash we expected at such extreme behaviour but for the support.
Most adults over the age of 40 or so, who grew up in smaller communities, still will talk about how as kids they could cop the policeman’s boot in the backside when they were found doing something wrong.
Now, many say, juvenile offenders seldom get a slap on the wrist, let alone that kick up the bottom.
That sentiment is strong. So are the comments coming from readers all around. They suggest that while ever kids believe they are immune or isolated from real justice and penalties, they will continue to breach the boundaries.