One punch kills … again, and again, and again …

Posted: February 23, 2014 in Political musings, Popular Culture et al
Tags: , , , , , ,

One punch can killA 21-year-old Caloundra man has been charged with murder after the death of a Brisbane man on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast.

Bruce Steenson, 53, died after he was allegedly punched in the head as he walked with a friend along the Mooloolaba Esplanade late on Friday night. He was taken to Nambour Hospital in a critical condition but his life support was turned off last night.

It is understood the attack happened when Steenson told a man arguing with a taxi driver to “give it a rest”.

Steenson was the former state president of the AFL Masters Football Queensland and a member of the National Hall of Fame.

His long-time friend Gary Mitchell says he was a great man and a mentor to many.

“For this to happen is just ridiculous. It should not happen,” he said. “I don’t know what we’re going to do about it but something needs to be done.”

boulevardDetective Inspector Daren Edwards says police are reviewing CCTV footage from nearby venues.

“This is an unfortunate one, it certainly didn’t occur in a licensed premises,” he said. “It happened down on the Esplanade on the street there. It’s a well-patronised area. Certainly it comes down to people’s own individual behaviour and actions.”

At Wellthisiswhatithink we are close to despair that the message that one punch can kill is simply not getting through to, and not getting through to young males, especially.

We need a cultural shift – and a cultural shift starts not with penalties and punishments but with public advocacy campaigns. And not just small, token campaigns – being seen to do the right thing – but massive ones, costing millions of dollars. This is a political issue, and it needs a political response.

We desperately need, as a society, to make “one punch” socially unacceptable. Government needs to do more than increase prison terms. We need to change the minds and souls of the young, for whom casual violence has become acceptable, for whatever reason.

This will not be done with half-hearted campaigns to quiet the critics. This will require a “whole of society effort”, led by the authorities. And the campaign needs to start NOW if we are to start to turn the tide. Before more people die, or are permanently incapacitated with brain injuries.

And before more 21 year olds throw away their life. And destroy their own families, too.

The bottom line? We should be able to take a stroll along the beach front – and we should be able to say “give it a rest” to someone being obnoxious – without risking death.

If you know of examples of anti-violence campaigns that have worked, please email them to us at steveyolland@yahoo.com.

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