In Defence of the ‘Good Bloke’

In the wake of the murder-suicide of seven people in Western Australian town of Osmington there have been calls for the ‘good bloke’ narrative to go away and to honour the victims rather than the perpetrator of the heinous crime and look here when you want to learn more about what is punitive damages.

This isn’t a new request, often when someone commits a murder or a crime there are plenty of folks around who will step up and refer to the goodness of the perpetrator, particularly if the perpetrator has died, and in recent years there has been a strong push for the removal of the ‘good bloke’-type reporting. People want the perpetrator tarred as the baddie HE clearly is.

I feel like, sure, there are times that’s appropriate, but the calls for it in this case are in my opinion misguided.

In the Osmington murder-suicide we find a father, Peter Miles, 61, who killed his wife, Cynda (58); his daughter Katrina Cockman (35); and her four children (Tay, 13; Rylan, 12; Arye, 10 and Kayden, 8), before calling 000 to report himself, and then took his own life on the porch of their home.

The crime will be under investigation for several months, but it doesn’t stop the reporters reporting, and many headlines carried the “Good Bloke” narrative. Where friends and acquaintances of Peter Miles referred to him as that, a good bloke who they couldn’t imagine could commit such a heinous crime.

One headline in particular, the one often quoted, read “Grandad the killer. ‘Good Bloke’ shot wife, daughter and her four kids then himself“, sure it probably should have had a comma after the word ‘kids’ but he wasn’t being called a “good bloke” by the headline, the term was in inverted commas which implies that the writer didn’t really agree with the sentiment, but was reporting what he heard about the guy.

The reporter, Robert Ovadia, has been raked over the coals by this descriptor and has reaffirmed his reporting with a follow-up article calling out those who railed against his reporting. Many opinion pieces have been written, including one by Van Badham “When we make excuses for male violence, we encourage it“, in which she argues “There’s a single good reason to be outraged at the ‘good bloke’ narrative: prevention”, her article in part reads:

Reports of the far-away murders broke over my own phone, and I sobbed. The handful of personal details revealed about this family are enough to imagine anyone similar into their unbearable horror. The mind demands: who does this to kids? Who does this to anyone?

The answer, according to Australian reporting tradition, is a “good bloke”. This was the description a tabloid applied to the alleged murderer, under the headline “Grandad the killer.”

It’s a dangerous frame for reporting domestic homicide we have grown too used to in this country; commentators were quick to call it out. Juanita Phillips remarked that “nobody in the story” had “actually described (Peter Miles) that way”. Reminders came from Georgina Dent and Clementine Ford that the “good bloke” trope is a media habit. It was used to describe wife-murdering Greg Floyd in 2017, and, in 2014, Geoff Hunt – who murdered his wife and three children.

To this I’d like to point out a couple more domestic murders in which the perpetrator was described with the “good bloke” sentiment, but wasn’t a bloke at all.


Sidonie Thompson was murdered by her mother with an axe in 2011 before her mother drove the Brisbane’s Story Bridge and jumped to her death, leaving her 12 year-old son in shock in the back seat of her car. Sidonie’s mother, Kim Patterson, was described in stories about this as “a devoted mother who lived for her children”.

Of Kim Patterson a friend is quoted as saying: “She just put all her time into her family. Out of anybody I know, she is the least likely person I’d ever expect to do anything like that because Kim adored them completely”.

Another friend described Kim Patterson as a “‘saint’ who would never hurt anyone”.


Another murder-suicide in 2011 was committed by Heather Glendinning in Port Denison. Western Australia. Glendinning taking the lives of two of her three daughters before killing herself. She stabbed her two daughters to death and then stabbed herself to death with multiple stab wounds.

A friend Robyn O’Brien said of Heather: 

“I am absolutely shocked. I just can’t believe that, I have other friends here that I have spoken to this morning and for Heather to kill her children is not what we know of Heather, it’s not possibly something she could do.”

“Justice and ethical behaviour is what she was fighting for,” she said.

She said she was angry that her friend’s last memory would be in such horrific contrast.

“It breaks my heart, it just can’t be Heather. They were so close, they weren’t problem kids and all the other people who knew her down here say the same thing,” she said.

“I do feel really, really angry on her behalf and on behalf of the girls. The Heather we knew and the family we knew would never do that.”


Cara Lee Hall murdered her husband in December 2015, and also attempted to kill two of her four children with the same knife she used stabbed her husband to death.

Hall claimed during her trial that she acted in self-defence after suffering years of abuse. A finding not backed up by evidence including testimony by her children. She further claimed to not know how the children were injured during the attack but witness statements by the children report she actively stabbed them in an attempt to kill them.

Hall’s friend Wendy Lourenco said “Cara is a loving mother, I don’t think she ever meant to hurt her children.”


In addition to these cases of mothers who have killed their children I also found a report “Mothers who Kill” in which the methodology found 28 cases of women who have killed their children under the age of 2 between 1997 and 2012. However, they only used a subset of these in describing infanticide as some states define infanticide as being a victim under the age of 12 months, while others are 24 months, in attempt to keep the methodology clean they only looked at victims under 12 months of age in their study.

None of the mothers who killed their children in a act of infanticide since 1997 have received a custodial sentence. Infanticide is treated, as it likely should be, as a product of a mental illness; such as post-natal depression. Infanticide statistics also don’t include cases of neonaticides which is the killing of a child within the first 24 hours of life.

I’m sure I’ve read of many infanticides written up as outliers, as actions of women who are typically described as loving and family-oriented.

I guess I’m not winning any brownie points here, and it’s not my aim to do so. I just think it’s time we understand that why someone commits an act so egregious against their family we may never understand.

Yes what Peter Miles did was horrible, it guts me to think there are seven people who are dead now because of the actions of one. The driver for these actions though, we can never understand. 

Sherele Moody writes in the Daily Mercury newspaper “‘Good bloke’ Peter Miles was a violent selfish monster“. She goes on to say: 

Much of the public discussion around Peter Miles’ deadly actions focuses, almost sympathetically, on his “troubled” life while managing to neatly tip-toe around the fact that this was a clear-cut case of domestic abuse and male violence – both major issues in our society.

But was it? When his daughter left her husband, she returned to her family home, to stay with her mother and father. It doesn’t seem likely a mother would take such action if she was walking back into a home in which “a monster lurks”.

We can’t know the mind of another, we’re foolish to think we ever can. When we realise that perception is reality for humans we’ll think about things differently. When family kills other family in a case like Peter’s or, any of those documented above, we as outsiders can never understand it. Especially if mental illness is at the core of it.

From some reports Peter’s actions were driven out of a desperate need to care of his family. It’s reported he was under the impression his time was short and he worried for the family he’d be leaving behind when he died of his illness. A family that he seemingly felt had no other resources and would struggle to survive once he was gone.

The brain is an amazing thing, it can decide what it wants to know, and when it decides, the human it controls is taken along for the ride. I’m sure the mothers mentioned above all had their issues that saw them believing the only way to truly protect their children was to end the lives of their children. They weren’t monsters, they we just humans, and sometimes humans break. Note I don’t say “snapped”, because sometimes when the brain breaks it’s not the flip of a switch, it’s a shift in perception, their view of the world is different. Sometimes different from reality. Sometimes it’s all consuming and it sticks on an idea and ruminates on it until it becomes an action.

These aren’t cases of the perpetrator attempting to gain from their actions, they are often considered, from evidence left behind, or by the surviving perpetrators as acts of compassion. Most often there is a case of some form of untreated, or mistreated, mental illness at the core. And more often then not it’s seen that the person committing the act has considered their actions carefully, as illogical as those actions seem to us, to them they were reasonable to take.

I can’t see that Peter’s actions could be described as an act of family violence or part of the epidemic of domestic abuse. It was a confused mind making confused decisions, but decisions that seemed reasonable to the mind at the time. Those looking for a poster-boy for the “‘good bloke’ = monster” cause are looking at the wrong guy here.

Tragic it was, but an act that should see the man branded a “monster”? I don’t think so.

Phage Therapy

The folks at Kurzgesagt have a new video out, about Bacteriophages and their possible place as our saviours in the not-to-distant future and we tackle the cost of breast augmentation surgery in Miami.

The one standout piece of dialogue from the video for me is:

“Unfortunately this psychotherapy treatment is still experimental and pharma companies are reluctant to invest the necessary billions in a treatment that has no official approval yet.”

The sad truth is, many of our great medical achievements follow this pattern.

  • The governments pour the billions in via grants, the researchers at universities and the universities themselves, set up ‘companies’ to receive the grant and to do the studies,
  • The studies that are successful patent their findings as the company, the makers and the university often co-writing the patent.
  • Then the pharma companies vie for the research and the patents and buy the company at a fraction of the cost of the research and for a stake in the patent.
  • The pharma company ramps up production, and sell it to the masses at a marked up cost, often claiming it’s justified in doing so because of the cost of research, that some countries tax dollars often paid for.

At the moment big pharma doesn’t want to know about it, it’s promising, but they have their antibiotics to sell and they sell a LOT of them. Even with the rise of superbugs many doctors continue to prescribe antibiotics as a matter of course, almost as a placebo it seems, while other people all is need is relaxation maybe visiting an spa service you can find at sites like https://complexcityspa.com.

Having said that, I have seen at least one paper that has been written on bacteriophages that was funded by Nestlé Health and Nestlé Health Science, so I guess some companies are investing in it, but clearly we need more of mommy makeover doctor located in NYC services.

Anyway, enough of my ranting. The video is very interesting to watch.

Lean Into It – Photography / Modelling Tip

Thought I’d share a little insight should anyone be interested.

Here are two images I took of Zach, they were taken with a 24-70 lens at 24mm from a very low angle, almost from the ground.

In the first image you’ll note that Zach’s body appears to be leaning backwards, his head smaller than in the second and the lower parts of his torso and legs, closer to the camera appearing larger. In this image, Zach was actually standing upright.

Zach standing upright.
Zach standing upright.

In the second image I asked Zach to lean forward, to him it felt weird, and to onlookers probably looked like he was leaning like Michael Jackson in the “Smooth Criminal” video ( see below ). But what I was doing was trying to get all of Zach’s body on the same focal plane, adjacent to the camera’s sensor so we’d not see the distortion in his body.

Zach leaning forward, into the shot.
Zach leaning forward, into the shot.

The result was a more natural looking image rather than one where Zach looks like he’s leaning backwards in the shot.

Ashes – Celine Dion – Deadpool 2 Soundtrack

Deadpool

Have you heard this song yet? Or rather, have you seen this video clip?

The song is Ashes  performed by Celine Dion for the movie Deadpool 2. The song itself is endearing, but it’s the dance routine by Deadpool that really brings the video home. It’s topped off with some pretty funny banter between Deadpool and Dion at the end, so stick around for that.

Deadpool dancing in high heels was quite the surprise, and painfully Ryan Reynolds doesn’t have the chops for it, the dance number was actually performed by dancer and choreographer Yanis Marshall.

At the end, as I mentioned, there is so back and forth, Deadpool telling Celine Dion that her performance was amazing, but they need to do it again. When asked why by Dion, Deadpool retorts “Well it’s too good, this is Deadpool 2, not Titanic. you’re at like an eleven we need to get you down to a five, five and a half tops,  just phone it in.” That’s only part of it… get to watching and I’m sure you’ll love it.

I’m hanging to see the movie, it starts May 16th 2018 here in Australia. If it’s anything like the first one it will be well worth the wait.

BillTheDoggin, Work, Photos, and Friends

BillTheDoggin
BillTheDoggin taken with a prism.

Today is Bill’s birthday! Happy birthday BillTheDoggin, today he turned 8… where does the time go, seriously.

My day started out with work, I have a deadline looming for a new site and I am a little behind after some server issues we had at the end of last week and into this week, so I’m in high gear getting that done… more about that when it launches next week. But in short, I’ll be chained to my desk all day Sunday and into Monday… fun times.

I did get away from my desk for a time today. I recently purchased the best travel desk that I can carry around with me. A few weeks back I ran a promoted post on Instagram looking for local folks who wanted to model for us. I got a few responses, one hasn’t gotten back to me after initial contact, another cancelled on the morning of our shoot, but today one came through for us.

Today we met with Zach and his Dad at Carlton Gardens in Melbourne for a shoot. The day was threatening rain early in the morning, the winds were up and it was freezing, I was feeling sorry to be the one to drag Zach out into the cold for a shoot. But thankfully, the sun came out and we ended up with a pleasant 20°C and a mixture of sunshine and shadow throughout our shoot.

Zach is a 16 year old from Williamstown who has been getting into fitness over the last couple of years. His initial inspiration he says came from a comedy podcast he was listening to, something the comedians had to say sparked an interest and sent him on his journey. After a short while he says it became a passion.

His parents are supportive of his interests and it shows as his Dad came along today, at our request, to be around for the shoot. At 16 it was just preferable to have a parent along for the ride.

We made some great photos and I’ll be diving into the edits for those over the coming days but for now, a rushed edit from the day.

Portrait of Zach
Portrait of Zach taken at Carlton Gardens Melbourne.

Following the shoot we stopped in with Sue and Lana for a quick visit. Lana threw together some viennese hotdogs with onion, bacon, and cheese. I certainly left their place full to the gullet.

It was quite the busy day and a fun-filled day for sure, well after I stopped working, oh who am I kidding, I actually like what I’m working on at the moment. 

What a Mess

While I’ve posted recently about my quirks and quotes, another one comes from the old 1980’s ad for Stainmaster carpets feature Australian artist Pro Hart.

Mr Hart makes quite the mess of a beautiful piece of carpet… of course the “mess” is actually an ephemeral work of art by the master artist.

The kicker for the ad is the cleaning lady who comes in at the end and proclaims “Oh Mr Hart, what a mess!”, and it’s this kicker that is firmly in the lexicon of most Australians I imagine. It is definitely in mine.

Just now, when making a coffee I spilt some and as I reached for the cloth to clean it up, heard myself utter: “Oh Mr Hart, what a mess!”

Darkness Falls

Candle

Sitting in the dark at home… it went out at 5:30pm before it was too dark, but now it’s totally pitch black. ☹️

The power was due to come back on at 7;30pm, but we just got an update saying it would now be 9:30pm.

We’ve already been to Melton, grabbed some dinner and kills some time walking around the shops not spending money, but just looking… and now we’re home again.

It’s funny how much of our lives depend on power… I had to be the ‘automatic’ garage door opener tonight when we went out, and when we came home.

I am, of course, writing this on my Laptop at the moment, tethered to my iPhone, using the Internet, so I guess I’m doing OK… just no Netflix. 🤪 Though I do have enough data left on my plan to watch a couple of hours of Netflix if I felt the need.

Remember the old days when the power used to go out and you’d have to remember which drawer in the kitchen the candles were kept in… and that it used to go out so often that we used to have to have candles in a particular drawer so we could find them in the dark, or with the help of the good old Dolphin torch!

As of now we have the light from our little Hue Go (we call him Hugo) which will maintain full-power light output for 3 hours. We also have our phones with flashlights on them and if need be we have a Godox LeadPower LP800X Inverter that we use for our studio lights that we could use to power devices for a time, not sure how long because we’ve only really used it for powering our studio lights so far.

I think I’ll put my laptop away now and maybe grab a book and the Hugo and read for a time before calling it a night.

Feature image from iStockPhoto

Official Spy’s Handbook

You want a tell about my life, well here you go… I’m, on occasion, paranoid.

I’ve admitted to very few limited people, and may have mentioned on these very pages, that I have a few weird proclivities, particularly when it comes to entering strange or enclosed places.

  1. I check for exits. I need to know if I want/need to get out of the location fast where the best exit is likely to be.
  2. I build scenarios in my head… what might happen while I’m here and how would I counter it if the happening is negative.
  3. Who looks like they may be a combatant and how would I handle them.
  4. What can I use as weapon. As an example in a movie theatre this could be everything from “how hard would it be to remove the arm from a chair”, to “how quickly can I fold a popcorn box into a hardened stick”.

Yes, I’m weird like that. A therapist might say it has to do with never feeling safe, of having social anxiety or something in that vein. But it goes beyond that because if I’m with others they are definitely included in the plans in my head… and it’s never, what can they do to help, it’s what do I have to do to protect them. So maybe I have a bit of a hero complex thrown in for good measure.

Well, I often wondered where it comes from, and the armchair therapists out there may have a point, but I prefer to believe it has to do with my obsession with a book when I was a kid.

The Usborne Official Spy's Handbook
The Usborne Official Spy’s Handbook

I first found out about an Official Spy’s Handbook when I was in primary school, I’m not certain it is the Usborne version but I imagine it was, how many could there be? Anyway, this book I obsessed over, it talked about how to see if someone was following you, doubling back, altering your routes to not have. a routine, checking in mirrors and windows for tails, how to lose a tail, how to mark a drop site, etc I had that book down. If it still existed in the Shalvey Primary School Library with the original borrowing card I’m pretty sure my name would be all over it, I had that book out all the time.

Carrying Secret Messages from The Official Usborne Spy's Handbook
Carrying Secret Messages from The Official Usborne Spy’s Handbook

Recently it came up, I’m not sure how or why, but I saw something that reminded me of it, so I went looking and have found a new imprint of it, and well, I’ve bought a copy, I’m waiting for it to arrive. Nostalgia is a crazy thing.

I look forward to reading it again, it’s a kid’s book so I’m not sure if it will stand the test of time. Maybe when I’m finished with it I’ll send it onto my nieces in New Zealand so they too can learn the art of the spy.

Feature image is from iStockphoto.com