Another night out, another coward-punch, another family destroyed by senseless violence in an Australian entertainment district.
The death of Cole Miller, the result of a brutal and cowardly attack in Brisbane’s nightclubbing area Fortitude Valley, has sent shockwaves throughout a nation already unable to cope or even comprehend the ongoing senseless violence on our streets.
The usual standard of modern backlash to violent crime has ensued: death and rape threats on one of the alleged offender’s now defunct Facebook page, there are calls for harsher penalties for offender’s and calls to tighten security in Australia’s entertainment districts.
However, implementing harsher penalties on offender’s won’t stop this from happening: no young guy is thinking about the difference between five years and life in prison when he’s drunk and wants to beat the shit out of another guy.
If he wants to do it then in his drunken, irrational mind he’s going to do it, f**k the consequences.
When I was a few weeks shy of turning 18 I was kicked in the face by a much older guy when I was trying futilely to defend my mates from him.
I’m not going to give you a sob story of how much it effected my life and how it shouldn’t of happened to me, the truth is I was drunk as fuck and made a stupid decision to walk around the corner that night to where my mates were being followed and taunted by this gang of thugs.
I spent the next four days in Melbourne’s Alfred Hospital: surgery on my jaw instilling two metal plates and stitches to hold together the gash in my chin where you could see through to my mouth.
One of my lasting memories of that night, whilst lying helplessly on my back in a neck brace, unable to move or get up to take a piss, was the image of my mum when she should above me in my hospital bed.
She wasn’t crying, but her eyes were red, she was just looking at me as if to say ‘how did this happen to you, James?’
It happened to me because of this: I was one of the many stupid young guys in Australia who got off on heavy drinking and trying to be a bigger man than the other, even if that man was much older than me and looked like a fucking gorilla.
This mentality is ingrained in Australia’s young male population.
Where it stems from is questionable but able to be roughly pinpointed: Australia prides itself on its drinking culture, our ability to drink large amounts of alcohol, and it’s no delusion that alcohol and violence are paired.
We young male adults of Australia do not think rationally when we’re pissed.
We see another group of guys in the city: we’re fucked, they’re f**ked, and it only takes one of us to set someone off and all-in brawl ensues.
Australia’s drinking culture is also linked to our love of sport.
Boys are raised playing pretty much every type of team sport imaginable: AFL, rugby, cricket, soccer, all playing part in instilling the mentality to be one of the team, one of the boys, beat the other, beat them real good.
Don’t get me wrong, I love sport, but I’m not going to deny that part of the young male demographic of this country don’t acquire a need to fight from our patriotic love of sport and our hatred of the opposition.
This hatred of the opposition is the same as the hatred of the group of guys we pass in the city then are all-of-a-sudden punching on with, with one of our mates lying on the pavement with blood streaming out from a gash two inches wide on the back of his head.
Australia needs to get to the root of the problem: we need to somehow curb the psychological urge for young male bravado to be displayed in a random act of violence – a hit from behind, a kick to the face.
The Australian “value” of mateship and friendliness has been compromised by our desire to drink heavily and beat the opposition, because before we hopefully reach a certain age we think that’s what’s important, getting pissed as with our mates and beating the other guy.
Fighting is instilled in our ways – it’s part of the “ANZAC spirit”. But it’s gone too far once again; alternative methods of have change have to be implemented so that our friends aren’t strewn across the pavement with their eyes rolling into their heads.
We need to address our young male pack mentality and change it, it’s doable, even if it takes time.