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Security guards sick of being bashed

By Gerard May - posted Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Security Guards have never played a more important role for the benefit of you and me. Despite this they are never far away from getting bashed by the society they protect.

Two moments involving tragedies and security guards in Melbourne highlight the two forms of public attention afforded security officers. The first demonstrates the absence of attention.

July the 16th will mark the eleven year anniversary of murdered security guard Steve Rodgers. Rodgers a 44 year old father of seven was gun-down by Peter Knight while defending a Fertility Control Clinic in East Melbourne.


Knight, an anti-abortionist stormed the clinic’s waiting room before being challenged by Rodgers, a melee ensured and Rodgers received a single gunshot wound to the chest ending in his death. Two men near by then restrained Knight.

The subsequent court case detailed frightening evidence. Knight entered the clinic of 41 people with two bags. One included 16 litres of kerosene, ammunition, cigarette lighters, ropes, gags and torches to be soaked in kerosene. The second bag hid the modified high powered Winchester rifle.

On sentencing Knight to life imprisonment, Justice Bernard Teague spoke of how Rodgers averted a modern day catastrophe. Stating to Knight, “you were a loner on a personal crusade (to) massacre many," however “Steve Rogers got in the way of your crusade." A hero indeed.

I’d take a serious punt this is the first time you have read or heard about either this incident or Steve Rodgers.

The second tragedy demonstrates the other type of attention afforded the security industry. That is a wave of negative hysteria.

On July 3rd 40 year old Anthony Dunning tragically died after becoming unconscious while being restrained by security personal at Crown Casino.


This tragedy has received plenty of media coverage. So it should. However questions arise over the type of media attention afforded security officers following a death.

A tabloid paper printed an ex-Crown security officer stating guards acted like “Gestapo hit squads” and “prison gangs”. Talk back radio was fuelled with personal stories of intimidation including one member of the public who pointed out the "steely glaze which Crown security get”.

The trial by media following this incident is reminiscent of what occurred immediately after the tragic death of David Hookes. The ABC’s Media Watch program found directly after that incident 100 references to Hooke’s being "bashed" and 85 to him being "attacked" in Victorian media. The word “alleged” disappeared.

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About the Author

Gerard May was a union official in Australia before moving to New York where he has had opinion pieces published in City Limits New York Magazine. He can be followed at @GerardMay5.

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