The Friday Freebie is where I share an online, open-access resource that I think readers might find interesting and useful. Each week, I will introduce a free resource that I think will be useful to teh angry Leftists – books, podcasts, web sites, etc. The aim is to compile a toolkit for understanding and advancing progressive ideals.
This week’s freebie is in response to the tragic bushfires of the past week. After a few days of shellshock and respectful silence, the discussion about causes and prevention has begun. Conservative attack columnists like Andrew Bolt and Miranda Devine have been hard at work blaming the fire on “the greenies”. There has been discussion of the role that global warming might play in increasing our risk for severe natural disasters like these bushfires. And there is talk about looking at what can be done in terms of planning and construction of homes to make them safer.
There has also been the inevitable call for harsher penalties for arsonists. One immediate problem with this is that it can only possibly affect arsonists who are caught – and historically, the rate of success in identifying and charging arsonists seems to be very low. A genuine approach to preventing arson is going to need more than ramping up sentences – it is going to require strategies to deter potential arsonists and to identify those who do light fires.
Anyone wanting to learn more about what we know on the topics of arson and bushfires can start with the Australian Institute of Criminology’s list of publications. The AIC has funded research by groups such as the Bushfire Cooperative Research Centre as well as producing their own reports. Their reports tend to be brief and accessible, but they also refer the reader to more detailed sources. And of course, if you have an interest in any other topic relating to crime and crime prevention, you will probably find something useful on their site as well.
Do you have a tip for future freebies? Contact me with any suggestions or requests.