Prize for Slothful Induction: Catherine Burn in the running for a second year

Long-time readers of the blog will remember Catherine Burn, the Deputy Commissioner of the NSW Police, whose initial response to Man Haron Monis’ islam-fuelled violence in Sydney late last year with the words:

 We still don’t know what the motivation might be

The Administrators of the blog thought that effort so egregious that we not only awarded Ms Burn the blog’s inaugural Prize for  ‘Slothful Induction’, which goes to the moron who in a calendar year most egregiously refuses to put two and two together, but also named the prize after her. 


Ms Burn receiving the inaugural Stebbing Heuer Prize for Slothful Induction, December 2014. Smiles all round! 

We now learn that Ms Burn, not satisfied with having won the initial prize, and not having learnt anything from her ‘success’, has re-entered the field for the 2015 prize with this equally egregious contribution:

‘Let me say that today’s operation is a clear indication of our determination to actually find out who murdered Curtis Cheng and to take all necessary action that we possibly can,’ Deputy Commissioner, NSW Police Catherine Burn told reporters in Sydney on Wednesday …

‘I’m not going to speculate on the motives of either the 15-year-old or anybody else who might be connected with this,‘ she said.

She did say Farhad was not on the police radar and ‘not somebody we would have assessed as a threat’.

‘It’s difficult because we don’t really know the motivation of the 15-year-old, however, we are dealing with this as – what we are investigating is a terrorism offence so what we would suggest and we suspect is that there was some influence, whether it was ideologically, religious or politically motivated, that determined and influenced the 15-year-old to go and commit this horrendous act of violence.’

To be fair, Ms Burn has a point. When a 15-year-old muslim boy dressed in islamic robes leaves the local mosque with a gun after Friday prayers, walks down the street, shoots someone walking out of a police administrative building, and then hangs around brandishing the weapon, yelling ‘Allahu akbar!’ at the top of his voice and returning fire to police special constables from the middle of the street with absolutely no cover – well, who knows what the motivation could possibly be??

Why for a minute would you think that the possibility of his behaviour being due to an islamic martyrdom operation would be any higher than the possibility that his behaviour being due to his being upset about being left out of the school musical?

There is a terrible, stomach-churning irony in the fact that it was someone working for the police force who was a victim of that force’s senior officers’ refusing to put two-and-two together.

Anyway – congratulations Ms Burn! You’re in the running for a second time, with a strong chance of winning.


About Stebbing Heuer

A person interested in exploring human perception, reasoning, judgement and deciding, and in promoting clear, effective thinking and the making of good decisions.
This entry was posted in Informal fallacies in reasoning, Prize for Slothful Induction. Bookmark the permalink.

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