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Infanticide on Two Wheels

Editorial: Are Baliís Police Guilty of Child Endangerment?

(11/21/2012) NusaBali and DenPost  both carry coverage of an incident at a roadside police checkpoint in Tabanan, West Bali on Thursday, November 11, 2012, that has left many scratching their heads in disbelief at the failure of traffic police to keep Bali's streets safe by enforcing even the most basic infractions of the traffic laws.

While police were conducting a morning vehicle and document check adjacent to the public field at Kediri, Tabanan, they called to a halt a motorcycle driven by a 14-year-old junior high school boy, I Gede Adi.
According to the press reports, Adi was found to be driving a motorcycle not registered in his name, without a valid driving license while not wearing a helmet.

Indonesian law provides that only drivers of 17-years-of-age or above can be issued driving licenses and that a helmet must always be worn when operating a motorcycle.

Displaying a level of immaturity far short of his 14 years, Gede implored the attending police not to enforce the law by confiscating the motorcycle, and citing him for driving without a license and a helmet. Employing tactics of argumentation more apropos to a boy half his age, the inconsolable Gede reportedly burst into tears and hysterically rolled on the ground for an extended period, refusing to stop until the police came round to his way of thinking.

Amused police, and more than a few passing motorists who stop to witness the boy’s hissy fit, tried to console the child now in full tantrum.

In the end, the police succumbed to the boy’s childish remonstrations, and by so doing, shared with him a lack of good judgement and mature thinking. The police sent the boy on his way with nothing more than a verbal warning. Reiieved and overjoyed, Gede continued driving someone else’s motorcycles, sans helmet and license, hurrying to to keep his appointment at a local online gaming center.

Becuase of the police' failure to confiscate the motorcyle, one criminal act was superseded by another as the police officers allowed a child to continue his solo journey on a motorbike down a public thoroughfare 

In their defense, the police point out to their absolute right of discretion, exercising their regulatory option of either preventing crime (pencegahan) or educating  wrongdoers (pembinaan).

But, still, we can’t help wonder what moral lesson Gede Adi learned from being told by police that he was breaking three different laws and then being allowed to continue breaking those same laws for which he was just admonished, but this time with the official blessing of the police?

And for those who think we make too fine a point at the expense of a 14-year-old juvenile delinquent, we urge you to read the links provided below documenting the tragic cost in young lives incurred by the Bali police's refusal or inability to bring order to the island’s roadways and even prevent childen from operating motor vehicles.

Sadly, because of the police's failure to act, we caution you to watch this space for the next tragic episode in what promises to be the brief biography of Gede Ari.

Related Links

[Children as Roadkill]

[Kids Behind the Wheel]

[Spare the Hot Rod; Save the Child]

[Editorial: The Parent Trap]