Stupid driving? Call the police, save a life
This week, a motorcyclist caught riding his motocrosser and popping wheelies around his neighbourhood with his three-year-old son on the petrol tank has been given five years and four months in jail for the offence, which was made worse by the fact that neither wore a helmet and the plonker at the handlebars didn't have a licence.
Good decision, I reckon, and certainly better than reading about the death of the child.
This, of course, was not in New Zealand, where not having a licence is regarded as meaning you have nothing to lose, and riding motorcross bikes on neighbours' grassy suburban berms is seen merely as "horsing around".
No, it was in Britain, where the offences were seen from a police helicopter, and justice was meted out quickly and neatly.
The reason I use the words "horsing around" is because that was the phrase used to describe the actions of a 14-year-old from down our street who terrorised the neighbourhood two years ago at Christmas time, rapping his CR450 Honda motocrosser up and down the street, on the pavement and on the grass verge for several hours, and narrowly missing reversing motorists trying to exit their own driveways.
Call me a curmudgeon, but I rang to complain. His dad old me he couldn't do much about it, as he was merely "horsing around" and was doing no one any harm.
Well, he obviously meant ME some, though, as the little scrote gave me the fingers every time he blasted past on his bike after that, fearless, licenceless and, by dint of his parents' lenient attitude, impervious to any sense of potential consequences or responsibility.
I know, he didn't balance a child on his fuel tank or stuff like that, but a fat fine and confiscation of the bike for a month would at least have caused him to think again. The "severe talking to" I was assured had taken place didn't have any effect at all.
They've moved now, thank heaven, but I haven't forgotten. The divots and tracks carved out by the Honda have mostly gone now, though you can still detect them if you look hard.
One "I told you so" I hope I never have to utter will be the one that could come to mind when I hear news of our scrote finally having fatally collected a wee four- or five-year-old victim on his intrepid berm-to-berm two-wheeled suburban safari in another suburb. Even then, he'd pobably not get five years.
When the curtains twitch, and talkback callers ask "Why didn't the neighbours DO anything?" I'll just shake my head, and say "We did try, but no one was particularly interested."
Next time, I'll call the police - which I guess is what I should have done in the first place.
Let it go, Dave, let it go...
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