For some frightening images of the bushfires near Melbourne, have a look at this link. According to another article, “millions of animals have died, including koalas, kangaroos and wombats” in the Australian bush fires.
Those courageous firefighters have my greatest respect and admiration. The devastation and often quite gruesome things they’ve seen would make my stomach turn.
Apparently one of the arsonists (it sounds as though there might have been more than one?! A sickening thought…) has been caught, although I am not sure whether he has actually confessed as yet. Despite that, according to this article, Australian ‘web vigilantes’ (as the writer is calling them) are calling for the suspect to be ‘burned at the stake’, and police have had to take him into protective custody.
The alleged arsonist, one Brendan Sokaluk, was apparently a volunteer firefighter in the late 1980s:
“Mr Sokaluk joined the Churchill brigade of the Country Fire Authority in the late 1980s, before volunteers had to undergo a police check, according to reports. It is believed he left the brigade in the 1990s and attempted to rejoin twice, but was rejected.”
Here is an article speculating about what could be going on in the mind of an arsonist, and what could be motivating him to do this.
I was relieved to read:
“Arson carries strong penalties in Australia. The charge of arson causing death carries a 25 year maximum penalty and the charge of lighting a bush fire carries a maximum of 15 years. Kevin Rudd, the prime minister, last week said anyone guilty of lighting one of the Black Saturday bush fires had committed “mass murder”.”
Let’s hope that the Australian criminal justice system actually works.