It's been in the national news here in Australia for about a week now - A 14 year old Australian male got caught in Indonesia with 3.6 grams of cannabis bought from a peddler on the streets and is now held up in prison. I'm not sure if the news broke elsewhere in the world so for overseas visitors I will try to paint the scene to make this all relevant.
The Australian Government made the efforts to get the boy released a top priority - Every day there has been updates, the boy is repenting (oh wow someone caught up in the law regrets their actions and getting busted AFTER the event), he claims he was 'pushed' into buying it like he had no other option, and now the legal representative is trying to worm him out by using his age and seeking out loopholes in the countries law - He might be able to get leniency if he admits he has a drug 'problem' (habit?).
At this stage I'll point out that, to me, going down this avenue blows the kids credibility to bits...first he was forced to buy it...and now he has a drug problem?!? Give me a break I doubt he was pushed into it if he was dependent on the substance.
Moving on, another Australian tourist in the area claims that around the time of this kids arrest he was harassed by drug dealers - I find this to be of no consequence, he didn't buy it which demonstrates if the kid didn't want the marijuana he didn't have to buy it.
Well that's the background...now I want to talk hypocrisy. This kid gets caught breaking the law overseas. A law that exists here (minus the nature of the penalty). This kid faces 'up to' 6 years imprisonment in an Indonesian prison...which would suck, majorly but hey, those are the breaks.
In Australia someone caught and convicted of possessing marijuana is subject to life altering consequences ranging from fines, prison time, inability to travel overseas, etc
So why is this individual receiving special treatment?
One thing this situation HASN'T done is created any intelligent discussion on drug law in Australia - Which is simply absurd. I was hoping it would, but no.
The news has even boasted about how the boy has been contacted by Ex-Prime Minister Kevin Rudd (as the foreign minister), current Prime Minister Julia Gillard, and the member of Parliament from the boys electorate (who also happens to be the controversial Climate Change Minister) Greg Combet. What's this got to do with anything? Well these Australian Government Officials have spent time speaking with a known criminal - Whether you are compassionate to the boy and his situation or not the fact is these officials have spent time on the issue - Time is money and tax payers finance these peoples time. That's right, tax payers are effectively supporting someone caught with drugs overseas.
The whole situation just makes me wonder what the hell the real objective is. Rescuing a boy from a situation he got himself in which others aren't so lucky to be pardoned/excused/forgiven for?
Admit the cannabis laws are stupid - Now is their opportunity to set things straight, to be fair and to make things right. What are the chances of this happening? I'd probably die of shock if anything changes as a result of this incident...but I can live in hope.