Thesis/Hypothesis: Being a criminal doesn’t always mean that they are a bad person. This is meant to mean that no matter the severity of the crime committed by a person, it doesn’t automatically mean that they are a bad person. To determine if a criminal is a bad person it involves understanding the motivation that is the cause of the crime committed by the criminal. This is shown in the film Ned Kelly as Ned’s crimes are committed in retaliation for the mistreatment of him by the Victorian Police.
This film portrays Ned as heroic figure who is standing up to mistreatment and it portrays the police as villainous scum due to their abuse of power. Ned Kelly viewed himself and his family as victims of police persecution. However whilst growing up Ned Kelly became more involved in criminal activity as time progressed. And finally his stepfather introduced Ned Kelly to horse and cattle stealing and Ned became part of what his district he was from was known from.
In 1869 the police arrested and imprisoned him for allegations of him performing assault on a chinaman and was held in prison and on remand for 10 days until he was finally released from prison due to a lack of proof and evidence. The next year Ned Kelly was arrested and held in police custody for seven weeks for being suspected of being an accomplice to Harry Power and also this case was dismissed In 1870 Ned Kelly was arrested for summary offences.
And shortly after release he was arrested for receiving a stolen mare whilst knowing it was stolen and he had to wait until 1874 to be released from prison After his release from prison Ned Kelly began working as timber gatherer for two years. Until in 1876 he finally began his career as an outlaw by joining his stepfather George King by assisting him with horse-stealing. Ned Kelly and his family were constantly being treated poorly for the Victorian Police shown on 15 April 1878 as a police Constable Alexander Fitzpatrick went to the Kelly’s Household to arrest Ned’s Brother Dan.
However after this incident he claimed that Ned Kelly had shot him. After this incident Dan Kelly went into hiding whilst Ned’s mother, her son in law William Skillion and a neighbor William Williamson were all arrested and charged for attempting to murder Constable Fitzpatrick. And during the trial they were all convicted for attempted murder and Mrs. Kelly was sentenced to 3 years in prison, whilst William Skillion and William Williamson were both sentenced to 6 years in prison. (John V. Barry, 1974).
After these events there police officers Sergeant Kennedy and Constables Lonigan,Scanlon and McIntyre were sent out to Stringybark Creek on the 25th October trying to capture Ned Kelly and his brother Dan. Ned shot and killed Lonigan when he pulled out his revolver on him. And Ned killed Scanlon and mortality wounded Kennedy when they did not surrender when Ned asked them to, and later out of mercy shot Kennedy in the heart. And McIntyre escaped and alerted people of these killings from Ned (John V. Barry, 1974).
However in the events leading up to the Glenrowan Shootout Ned Kelly requested that train rail workers tear up the rails on the train track to try derail a police train that Ned was expected to arrive in Glenrowan. However Thomas Curnow foiled this planned by being allowed to leave Glenrowan Pub and Hotel with his family however he alerted train workers be they derailed. This lead to a large massacre occurring at the Glenrowan Pub resulting in 70 hostages and the rest of his gang dying in the pub due to gunfire from the police.
However Ned survived and was trailed for the murder of Sergeant Kennedy and was executed 11 November 1880 (John V. Barry, 1974). (Steve Taylor,2013) states that a ‘good person is a person that lacks self-centeredness,shows empathy and put others needs before themselves. And he states that a ‘bad person is a person who doesn’t show empathy. And is also described as being selfish, narcissistic and self-absorbed. He also states that good and evil is flexible as people are able to display both characteristics that are perceived as evil whilst also be able to also show characteristics that mostly associated with being good.
In the film Ned Kelly he is portrayed as good and heroic. This is shown by the film as the director portrays him as a victim of a corrupt police force. He is shown to be oppressed by police by them confiscating Ned Kelly’s family horses for no reason, Ned Kelly, his brother and their friends steal them back from the police. (BBC,2015) Professor Andrew Raines studied the brains of numerous murderers and found out the many of these murderers showed similar changes to a normal human brain.
And found out that they have reduced brain activity in the prefrontal cortex which controls emotional impulse. And that they had an overactivation of amygdala which is the area which controls emotion. Professor Raine also states that childhood abuse is the most common cause for killer to become what they are. By physical damage from abuse to the prefrontal cortex which is very vulnerable. However studies involving a family from the Netherlands with a violent past, suggests that violent behaviour in men could be due to a lack of a gene.
The gene which causes the violence is known is caused by a lack of the enzyme MAOA which is used to regulate level of neurotransmitters used for controlling impulses. The lack of mean that if a person has a violent upbringing then they are much more likely to become a murder. If someone has this gene then they will become violent depending on if their upbringing is abusive. (Jack the Insider Blog, 2013) believes that Ned Kelly is not a hero this is shown by the title of this article “Ned Kelly is no hero”.
Jack the Insider states that people like Bandali Debs who is currently on serving a life sentence without parole for four counts of murder which 2 of them were police officers for the Victorian police force in 1998, and also murdering a teenager in 1997 and another count of murder in 1995. The perpetrators of the Russell Street Bombing Stan Taylor and Russell Minogue are also currently serving life sentences for acting on their pathological hatred towards police officers. This bombing occurred on the 27th of March 1986 and was caused by a car bomb which was hidden within a 1979 Holden Commodore.
The bomb caused a blast which ended up killing 21 year old Constable Angela Taylor and 22 other people and caused $1 million dollars of damage to the Russell Street Police Station. All of these people involved in the murders are all considered a disgrace. However he also states that Ned Kelly is the opposite of them as the public worship him for acting out his hatreds towards police officers. However the police force in the 1880’s were more aggressive and were very ruthless and were very reckless towards controlling criminal behaviour in comparison to modern times he police have a more strict conduct that they have to follow and there’s more rules they have to abide by. According to (australia. gov. au, 2016) The police from this time period were often displayed signs of abusing power through the wrongful arrest and improper conduct.
And this often drove men to pursue a career in bushranging. This was due to these men having nothing to lose even though they had to live in fear and constant hiding. Australia was also colonized by a significant number of convicts with records from (Ancestry. om, 2007) states that they have records that show that around 165,000 convicts were exiled to Australia between 1788 and 1868. However many of the convicts exiled were arrested for very minor crimes which would not be punishable in modern times. Bushrangers often often were perceived to have positive reputations similar to ‘Robin Hood. Bushrangers were often portrayed in folk songs a ‘fight before surrender attitudes. Jack the Insider also believes that social inequality is not a justification for murder which therefore means that Ned Kelly’s murders of police officers at the time were unjustified.
As Ned Kelly was planning to kill any police officer even ones who have not treated him with any injustice. Ned was also will to kill any person who got in his way. Historical documents from the aftermath of his trial and his death describe him as violent outlaw who his crime he committed were only because of his personal self-interest. (Kathy Marks, 2013) stated in this article that the Police Association Victoria Secretary Greg Davies shares similar views to Jack the Insider about Ned Kelly. Stating the Ned was a “Psychopathic criminal misfit who left a trail of destruction and isery in his wake”. He also said that Ned Kelly is “no more braver than Julian Knight and Martin Bryant”. Both Knight and Bryant are serving life sentences for their involvement in Mass Murder in Australia with Knight serving life in prison for 7 counts of murder and Bryant for 35 counts of murder. (Greta Baumgartel,2006) believes that Ned Kelly was a hero due to him standing up to social inequalities at the time. Another reason why they believe that he is a hero is because he saved a little boy from drowning whilst only being a child himself.
Ned Kelly showed a lot of pride in saving the kid from drowning as he was wearing a sash given to him from the parent of the boy he saved during the shootout at Glenrowan. From my research i have found out that Ned Kelly is a violent criminal however i also believe that it is possible for himself to be a good person. I believe that the murder of several police officers at Stringybark creek were justified as if he didn’t shoot at them then he would have been killed himself.
However | believe that his plans and attempting derailing of a Police Train heading to Glenrowan was unacceptable and showed how he was no heroic as he could have potentially killed some Police Officers who were not corrupt and who had no prior involvement in his life. However Ned Kelly rescuing a child from drowning whilst being a child himself shows that he was able to be heroic himself. This backs up Steve Taylor’s claims that good and evil are both flexible as Ned Kelly shows good by rescuing a child from drowning and evil by attempting to killed several Police Officers by derailing a train.
My thesis was that being a criminal doesn’t alway mean that they are a bad person. I also find that the comparison made by Jack The Insider and Greg Davies between Ned Kelly and mass murderers to be unfair as the murder acted out by Ned Kelly were to save himself from being killed by the police. I believe that this thesis is true in Ned Kelly’s case as his life in crime would not have occurred if it was not due to constant mistreatment of some Police Officer’s towards his family.