BY DAVE RILEY
Robert Long is lucky to be alive. As a "witness" wanted in connection to the Childers Hostel fire, Long was indeed fortunate to make it to jail with only a flesh wound.
I'm sure there are many who thought Long was ready made for the desperado role. Going bush with the finger of blame upon him for the manslaughter of all those touring backpackers (and in an Olympics year!). An itinerant picker and reputed partner basher who most likely/more than likely/really did burn down a caravan. Already wanted by the police in connection to some other nasty charges ... This guy must be a really mean bastard. He even hit a dog and knifed a copper who was only trying to protect his little bow wow from a fink like you.
Robert Long, you sure are lucky to be alive. Because if the media had their way, you would have made a great corpse for the six o'clock news. The last time anyone went feral in Queensland he had the good sense to do himself in. Next time, keep to the script!
Robert Long, because you are still alive, further juicy details of your evil existence will have to wait. But since we don't like your chances of beating the rap, you would win a lot of Brownie points if you bravely copped the blame.
In the year of the Olympics, we want the world to know Australia doesn't make a habit of incinerating visitors. Think of your country, Robert Long. We want tourists to be able to sleep soundly in their B&Bs without giving a thought to overnight ignition.
Robert Long, on your head rests the future of the Australian tourism industry. Think about it, Robert: even a bum like you can make a wonderful contribution to this country if you go quietly into the night. So be as guilty as they hope you are. Don't rock the boat. Take you punishment bravely.
And remember, Robert: it is a far, far better thing you do now than you have ever done. It is a far, far better sleep you offer us than before. It is a far, far better option to blame you than to ask.
Mum's the word, Robert.