Australia's King Hit Culture
As a 25 year old male living in sydney, I must say I am not surprised with the way my peers are treating each other on nights out. And whilst I have retired myself from the booze fuelled culture that engrosses us men once we taste our first, inhibition-less evening, I was once more fully involved in it than was normal, healthy or safe. From the age of 16 up until I hit 22 alcohol was, and I don't say this lightly, the main part of my life.
So it is with little surprise that i see the take off of the king hit culture in the media. I am quick to criticise journalism that relies on sensational claims and lowest common denominator appeal, but in this case they've got it spot on. They're just about a century late to the party. Having grown up within the confines of a sporting club in one form or another, it's a miracle some of my mates are still alive and walking among us. The stories told of marathon drinking sessions punctuated only by regular fisticuffs are so common on the ground that it makes Floyd mayweather look like a rookie. Broken bones, black eyes, shattered eye sockets. About 18 months ago I went and visited a very good mate in hospital after he was kicked in the face whilst trying to stand to his feet in front of a pub.
I could go on for pages. But I won't. There is shock, horror and surprise at the current spate of attacks, but they aren't new. Testosterone and alcohol are two very volatile substances. Luckily enough for me, i was never an aggressive drunk. I'd much rather laugh than throw hands, which could have something to do with my thin physique. But I am a male, and I have felt the red mist descend numerous times whilst sober. Luckily, my inhibitions and common sense held me back. But spare a thought for those who are impaired by alcohol. All their judgements are thrown out of balance, and once those hormones and testosterone start to dominate proceedings they lose control.
Now I hear you say, if they know that they are susceptible to this kind of anger and rage they shouldn't be drinking in the first place! right. That'll work. You can't just give society something like booze, where there are basically no limits to it's consumption if you have the foresight to stock up at a bottle shop, and then expect them to act responsibly around it, especially once their inhibitions are lowered. Look at blokes like Josh Dugan, Todd Carney, Billy Slater. All highly paid sports stars who should have all the motivation in the world to stay away from large amounts of alcohol. But they can't, and it isn't entirely their fault. It's a drug. It's a way of escape, a way of enhancing times in your life, a way of self medication.
Society exists based on laws and common sense. Once common sense is forfeited, laws become meaningless to some people. We are always searching for the answer to these problems. More police, more CCTV, stricter licensing laws, 3am lockouts. None of these will work. Police can't be everywhere, and some people when drunk see them as a red flag. CCTV, do you think someone so drunk they'd king hit a human for no reason other than sport would care about cameras? Did you see the 6pm news on January 2nd and the footage of people making tits of themselves on camera because they'd had a skinful? Cameras are no deterrant. 3am lockouts are good but the majority of my nights out were well under way by the 10pm phase, and I witnessed all manner of atrocities on the safer side of midnight.
With a complicated issue comes a complicated answer. We can't expect people to exercise discretion when drinking. Whilst it is still this easy to load yourself up on the devil juice people will do it, period. So deterring them from getting lashed and punching people, which is something that has been happening for many decades, seems unlikely. A blanket ban on alcohol would never ever fly, although it would immediately solve the problem. The only answer, and a life lesson in itself, is to take damned good care of yourself. Avoid situations you think might be dangerous. Avoid the cross, ensure that you're sober enough to deal with any conflict that arises, and look after your mates. Keep them out of trouble, if you know they are prone to violence when drunk keep a real close eye on them and try to diffuse any situation. If you're a parent, you can't stop your kid going out. They are adults by the time they turn 18. Just pray they return home safe and sound.
EDIT: I'm not defending these thugs. I am in no way condoning their actions or denying that they are cowardly acts. I am, however, saying that I understand why this happens, and that it is more common than you probably realise.