Opinion | A time for mourning, and a catalyst for change

Opinion | A time for mourning, and a catalyst for change

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Last weekend’s tragedy at Bondi Junction where six precious lives were lost, has left me, along with countless others, in a state of profound grief and numbness.

The senseless violence that claimed the lives of Dawn Singleton, Ashlee Good, Jade Young, Faraz Ahmed Tahir, Pikria Darchia, and Yixuan Cheng, brings a sharp focus on the fragility of life and the strength of our community bonds in the face of sorrow.

These are not just names; they were individuals with families, dreams, and stories.

Ashlee’s nine-month-old baby, now left motherless, battles for life—a stark reminder of how the consequences of such acts extend beyond the immediate horror.

This heartache is compounded by the grief echoing from Ballarat, where three women were murdered earlier this year, and from Western Australia, which mourned the loss of two more women just last weekend.

In moments like these, I am reminded of my own daughters and their friends, vibrant young lives full of potential. It makes the need for change painfully apparent.

How can we stand by as life is so cruelly snatched away from those just going about their daily routines?

Our response must be twofold.

Firstly, we need a compassionate, effective mental health system capable of reaching those at the edge long before they tip over.

Mental health is a significant piece of this puzzle, and while not all acts of violence are committed by those with mental health issues, there is a clear link that cannot be ignored.

Ensuring robust, accessible mental health care is a crucial step towards prevention.

Secondly, we must foster a culture that vehemently rejects violence and values compassion.

The toxic discourse that pervades our social media feeds — full of anger and confrontation— must be addressed.

Each of us has a role to play in creating an environment where respect and kindness are paramount. We must actively call out and distance ourselves from those who spread hate and bigotry, reinforcing that such behaviours have no place in our society.

The values of manners, kindness, respect, and compassion are more than mere words; they are the pillars upon which a caring community is built.

These values must guide us, not only in times of tragedy but as the standard from which we never waver.

Let us remember the lives lost not only in mourning but as a catalyst for change.

Together, we can strive towards a future where tragedies like these become distant memories.

Let this be our collective resolve, forged in the heartbreak of our losses, driving us towards a kinder, safer future for all.

Glenn Dewhurst is a City of Gosnells councillor and local leader.