Two weeks ago I wrote a Comment article for the Orange City Life newspaper about the frightening king-hit or “coward-punch” culture that’s becoming a crisis among young binge-drinking Australian males
A few days later, Orange itself experienced its first coward punch incident that left yet another young man with in hospital with critical brain injuries.
These sudden attacks are frightening not just because of their extreme and often death-dealing violence but also the almost unscrupulous merchandising culture that’s triggered them.
They’re an evolvement of the male “body sculptoring” craze, fuelled with liquor, steroids, hard drugs and caffeine boosted Red Bull-type “power” soft drinks and inspired and by a mindless backdrop of cage fighting, ultra-violent computer games and movies and the more deadly martial arts and “black ops” combat techniques.
Once it was mostly just a fashion statement – shaving the skull, covering the body with bizarre tattoos and wearing “Special Forces” style camouflaged jeans, T-shirts, jackets and combat boots.
OK, there’s no law that says men can’t follow nihilistic fashion. The trouble is that it appeals particularly to the more alienated, narcissistic, relatively uneducated and psychologically disturbed small minority of young Australian manhood that requires violence as a panacea for its problems.
And because they’re driven to random brutality to complete strangers their “coward” attacks strike out of nowhere and are almost impossible to anticipate or prevent before they happen.
They haven’t happened in Canowindra yet. Let’s hope they never do.
By Derek Maitland