Very Early Morning Open Thread

Well, that was an odd day.

My office is in the Sydney CBD. Like most buildings in the city, mine spent much of the day in lockdown – no one in and no one out – all because of some dickhead with a gun, a flag and a grudge.

The Lindt Cafe is a regular stopping off point for Sydney lawyers – the building which houses the Supreme, Federal and High Courts is just down the road. Like most Sydney residents, I’ve spent the day in “could have been me, could have been my friends” mode.

The hostages seem to be escaping (or are being released) in dribs and drabs. Those poor people – I can’t even imagine. I hope this is going to have a happy ending.

Gun violence is not something that happens over here very often, and Australians’ experience of terrorism (certainly Islamic terrorism) [ETA – not that it’s in any way clear that that is what this is] has almost all taken place on foreign soil. There’s going to be some serious flow-on effects for this country, whatever the outcome.

46 replies
  1. 1
    SWMBO says:

    Glad you are okay. Here’s hoping everyone gets out safe and sound.

  2. 2
    Anne Laurie says:

    Glad you’re okay, hope everyone else will be too.

    Keep thinking that the response over here would have been somewhat different, and not for the better.

  3. 3
    TheMightyTrowel says:

    Mr. Trowel spent most of the day on lock down too. He said other than not being allowed out for lunch and for his customary site inspection (he’s a construction project manager) it was quiet and much like any other day.

  4. 4
    Joey Maloney says:

    With your current dick-headed government, how insane do you think the response will be? Are we looking at a 9/11-style power grab and gratuitous stoking of xenophobia?

  5. 5
    TheMightyTrowel says:

    @Joey Maloney: I mean… we’re kind of already there.

  6. 6
    Sarah, Proud and Tall says:


    quiet and much like any other day.

    Pretty much. The city seemed deserted. Everyone just seemed to buckle down and get back to work, except for the occasional mass watercooler conferences.

    Australians don’t seem prone to panic.

  7. 7

    I don’t think so. Everyone is being frightfully sensible so far. The right wing dickheads here are bleeding heart lefties compared to most of the Republican party. I haven’t seen anyone, even on the wingnut fringe, suggesting that this is anything but a lone nutbag (let alone some vast mooslim conspiracy).

    I think the effect will be more in terms of uncertainty. The economy is showing signs of weakness; the odd state government is being thrown out after one term (which almost never happens); the government is quite unpopular (and the PM even more so) – I suspect that this will just unsettle the waters even more.

    Of course, a lot depends on whether they get everyone out in one piece.

  8. 8
    Origuy says:

    From the BBC:

    In Australia the hashtag #illridewith you is trending, as non-Muslims offer to travel with Muslims on public transport if they feel unsafe following the events in Sydney.

  9. 9
    Joel Hanes says:

    some serious flow-on effects for [Australia]

    Yeah. I have a very bad feeling about this …

    As it turned out, a successful terrorist attack did not exactly bring out the best in the American character.

  10. 10
    TheMightyTrowel says:

    @Joel Hanes: Frankly, I’m going to echo SPT here: australians don’t panic the way americans do. They are pretty laid back and, frankly, they live in an incredibly deep state of denial (bush fires? she’ll be right! sharks? she’ll be right! climate change? she’ll be right!) so I don’t think that the emotive effect will be the same. I’m more worried about the effect in parliament – unlike most australians, australian MPs are the biggest bunch of cry baby whiners you’ve ever seen in your life. They freak out, they wrap themselves in flags, they bury their heads so deep in the sands of group think they might have evolved to eat sand. They’re already passing some of the worst legislation I’ve seen in years – I worry what they’ll push through in the throes of a collective (and totally unshared by the populace) group panic.

  11. 11
    raven says:

    My expat friend and her wife happen to be in the states for the holidays so there is that.

  12. 12
    JPL says:

    @TheMightyTrowel: In your opinion, what are the odds that the police will storm the building?

  13. 13
    raven says:

    @TheMightyTrowel: So, we wouldn’t be able to find ANY Australians who panic and ALL Americans panic. Uh huh.

  14. 14
    Schlemazel says:

    In defense of Americans I’d say our response would have been a lot different if we had steady, competent, leadership in 2001. Instead we had a bunch of pants wetters, the chief one who flew as far away from the coasts as possible & hid on a remote military base when things were in doubt, led by pure evil who saw in 9/11 a great opportunity to instill panic and turn it to their own ends.

    Its not that there is that much difference in the populace but in the parties.

  15. 15
    raven says:

    @JPL: They know what they are doing, they’ll talk as long as they can talk.

  16. 16
    OzarkHillbilly says:


    the chief one who flew as far away from the coasts as possible

    You blame Bush for following Secret Service protocols?

  17. 17

    Speaking of terrorists, David Carr in the NY Times has a pretty snarky profile of Charles C. Johnson, the nutjob blogger who posts the personal information of people who have slighted him or otherwise pissed in his campfire.

    “Look, a lot of people are upset with me,” he said, adding, “my batting average is very, very good. Have I got up to the plate and either hit the ball wrong or swung and missed? Yeah, absolutely, but I take risks that other people won’t take because I think the story requires it.”

    Those are very noble words arrayed over some nasty handiwork.

    He sounds like the kid in high school who vows revenge on every jock that gave him a wedgie or girl that laughed when he asked them to the prom.

    Thanks for fucking up the internet for the rest of us, you egocentric and pompous dickhead.

  18. 18
    Schlemazel says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: yes I do. He could have made a statement for TV cameras that would have had a calming effect and announced that he was overseeing the response. His going silent and then popping up in the Midwest left people wondering what was going on & just how bad it was.

  19. 19
    BillinGlendaleCA says:

    @Mustang Bobby:

    Thanks for fucking up the internet for the rest of us, you egocentric and pompous dickhead.

    You forgot floor shitter(alleged).

  20. 20
    Baud says:

    I actually don’t remember that much panic in the immediate aftermath of 9/11. I recall the fear being something fomented by the administration in the months that followed.

  21. 21
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Schlemazel: The real world doesn’t work like it does on the set of “Independence Day”. He did what he was supposed to do: Stay Alive. As for what was going on… Like anybody knew? Anywhere? If you thought people in general were acting like a bunch of chickens with their heads cut off, imagine what it was like in gov’t where they had more information than they could possibly process much less ascertain the veracity of any of it and yet still had to DO SOMETHING!!! because the American People ™ DEMAND IT!!!***

    So, sorry, you and I do not agree on this in any way shape or form.

    *** My own personal reaction after watching the towers come down was to shrug my shoulders and go to work as I had a couple of side jobs to take care of that day.

  22. 22

    @BillinGlendaleCA: Oh, well, I wouldn’t want to wrongly accuse him of anything. That would be irresponsible blogging, y’know.


  23. 23
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Baud: I remember not being able to get any gas that night and wondering if I had enuf to get home.

  24. 24
    BillinGlendaleCA says:

    @Mustang Bobby: Of course not.

  25. 25
    Baud says:


    I can see why we invaded Iraq. You bastard.

  26. 26
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Baud: Would have cost a lot less if we had just seized every SUV in the country and drained all those gas tanks the idiots just “HAD TO FILL UP” because “WE’RE UNDER ATTACK” and “WHO KNOWS IF WE WILL HAVE GAS TOMORROW”. Probably would have lasted longer too. But yes, you are right, I am a bastard. Only in the finest sense of the word tho.

  27. 27
    bargal20 says:

    @TheMightyTrowel: Heh…I know plenty of Australians who panic at the sight of a “halal chicken” sign at a KFC.

  28. 28
    Baud says:


    I would have supported option B. You should run for office. Missouri could use a guy like you right now.

  29. 29
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Baud: I’m just a Socialist Slovenian ni**er loving imposter who HATES! America and needs to be hung from the Old Oak in the county square.

  30. 30
    Baud says:


    So you ARE the best man for the job.

  31. 31
    Debbie(aussie) says:

    I am hopeful that the xenophobic will be kept at bay by the better nature of Aussie’s in general. But reading articles about our disgusting treatment of asylum seekers, even at the Guardian, does not bode well.

  32. 32

    @OzarkHillbilly: Well, according to the RNC, you’re a typical Democrat. Go for it.

  33. 33
    JPL says:

    I don’t remember gas shortages after 9/11 but, I do remember gas shortages after a hurricane hit the Houston area. The lesson learned was fill up the tank when it reaches the half way mark.

  34. 34
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Baud: Yes, yes I am. Have I mentioned how humble I am?

  35. 35
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @JPL: In STL, it was panic buying on that day only. Took another day or 2 to recover tho.

  36. 36
    I'mNotSureWhoIWantToBeYet says:

    @Baud: Yup. It took an hour or more for many in the Pentagon to realize what happened. The federal government didn’t send people home (causing a 20 min commute to turn into about 3 hours) until around a couple of hours after it happened.

    The trumped-up “panic” came later…


  37. 37
    Zandar says:

    @Sarah, Proud and Tall:

    Australians don’t seem prone to panic.

    To be fair, you do live on Evolutionary Deathmatch Island(tm).

    Glad you’re safe, and hopefully this will end peacefully.

  38. 38
    Botsplainer says:


    You blame Bush for following Secret Service protocols?

    I’m with you on that one. It made sense at the time, as it was an unfolding crisis, and still makes sense.

    There’s plenty of castigation to go around for feckless acts of stupidity, hubris, cowardice and “what the fucks” (Congress singing the smarmy and pathetically weak “God Bless America” instead of “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” topping the last list), but following security protocols for continuity dispersal was not the problem.

  39. 39
    beth says:

    Turned on CNN for a moment. Scoldy-faced morning blond says “well the Sydney hostage crisis feels like an act of terrorism”. So that’s how we report news now? Based on what it feels like? Then they go to how will terrorism affect the 2016 election. Thank God tv’s have off buttons.

  40. 40
    MomSense says:


    Yeah I disagreed with pretty much everything about the Bush response to 9-11 but I do think it warrants pointing out that 3 planes crashing into major buildings and 1 plane crashing into the ground because passengers commandeered it from hijackers is a bit larger in scale than a hostage taking at a cafe.

    And my thoughts for safe release are with the hostages, their families, and the people tasked with trying to secure their release.

  41. 41
    mai naem mobile says:

    I was watching Mornin’ Ho and, as usual, they became your typical American media ho. First, Mika asks the Aussie reporter who the kidnapper/terrahrist is after the reporter’s told her the police have asked not to release the name and he’s not releasing it. Then Ho takes over. He apparently thought that him being a manly man was going to get the reporter to release the name, because, you know why listen to a simple request from.the police? Just embarrassing.

  42. 42
    Betty Cracker says:

    CNN says cops are storming the cafe. I hope everyone makes it out alive, including the nutbag hostage taker.

  43. 43

    […] happens, the thing that stands out for me is how today was, as Mr.Trowel described it, “quiet and much like any other day” in my office and, I suspect, […]

  44. 44
    BruinKid says:

    Reports are saying 2 dead, several injured. Unclear if the asshole hostage taker is one of the 2 dead.

  45. 45

    […] happens, the thing that stands out for me is how today was, as Mr.Trowel described it, “quiet and much like any other day” in my office and, I suspect, […]

  46. 46
    billb says:

    Geo. Washington took the fight to the enemy. A. Jackson kicked their azz. L. Johnson flew to the hurricane disaster and went in himself. Leaders Lead! g w bush is a pussy who would not serve in the war, and could not bother to show up at his Reserve Unit. His Father was Man enough to serve, J. Kennedy served heroically. We need to arrest the torture-leaders and jail them, starting with GW and Darth cHeney. You say you love water-boarding Dick, now its your turn……

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