Dickens on DEVAST8’s dopey facial tattoo: would he give him a 2nd chance?

Mark Cropp was fair game for some of the hard men behind bars. He was getting done over. So to escape the bullying he made a statement. Getting drunk on homebrew he got his cellmate to spend a night tattooing half his face with the word Devest8. It’s his street name. The tattoo covers his face like a beard. It’s very, very confronting. There’s nothing aesthetic about it. It’s an affront.

Talkback has been all over this yesterday.  The question being – does this man deserve a chance?  

So the question is, would or should an employer employ him with this god-awful tattoo on his face? Why not? We all make mistakes. He’s young. He has the ability to turn his life around. He wants to work. So would I employ him?

I’m afraid my answer is no. Corrections provide services to remove tattoos. He’s been offered the services twice. He turned them down. He says the tattoo is who he is. No mate. It’s not. Anyone who can do such violence to his own face is not a fit in society. Just get it removed. You’ll never regret it. It’s proof he hasn’t really moved on.

Mark Cropp has had a life of unbelievable chaos and anarchy and I don’t think anyone believes that he’s woken up one morning and changed.

But my real concern is that we helped create this messed-up man child. He’s been in state care since he was 6. He was kicked out of school aged 11. He says “Part of the reason why I am who I am is that I grew up without my parents, I grew up with drugs and alcohol around, and became a criminal.”

We put him into state care to keep him away from those influences and the care we offered failed. We failed. We helped to make the man. The drongo. The damaged goods. The criminal.

Where do you sit on this now, a day later, having heard the arguments?


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.

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