I just Googled the phrase “alcohol-fuelled violence” and got 360,000 results – yep 360,000.
I’ve been truly gobsmacked as much by the very acts that have been perpetrated in Sydney as the hysteria and poor nomenclature used to describe them. Because unless I am out of my head on some sort of weird psychedelic myself, these acts are not merely alcohol-fuelled, they are fuelled by the EPIDEMIC in Sydney of amphetamines, uppers and steroids.
The fact is that NO-ONE can go on an eight hour drinking binge and be capable of throwing much of a punch. They are more at risk of falling in front of a cab, spewing in the very same vehicle or walking into a wall. Acts of serious and consequential violence committed by people in the vast majority of these recent cases are thanks to the dual mechanisms of plenty of booze and a few “bumps” of whatever choice of drug keeps the perpetrator going longer. The sheer intensity of the recent violence is proof enough to this untrained eye that there is a lot more than bourbon and beer fuelling the fights. I am not making light of anything, but let’s be honest, fights fuelled exclusively by booze tend to be as comedic as they are consequential. Punches fly everywhere and rarely hit a target. When they do, of course it’s a tragedy. But I just don’t reckon that’s what I’m seeing right now.
It might be crystal meth or ice – if you think this insidious drug is strictly the domain of bikers and “westies” you’d be wrong – it is all over the inner city. Then throw in a few Red Bulls, a couple of lines of coke if you’re fancy, maybe a key of speed or some GHB – anything to keep you at the bar feeling good. These drugs are EVERYWHERE. Ask your kids.
If you are a body builder, chances are you’re already on the steroids and they can make you plenty angry with a little bit of weekend help from your recreational drug of choice.
Look where this is happening. Where bars and pubs have been for the history of the city – but today where drug dealers and crooks reign supreme.
I just don’t understand why alcohol is seen by the vast majority of people as the sole problem here.
Of course I am compromised – I make wine and gin, I promote beer and all manner of drinks and just like EVERY SINGLE other purveyor of booze I want, in fact now more than ever, I NEED, people to consume my drinks as they always have – with some sense of personal responsibility. The vast majority of publicans, club owners and bar operators feel exactly the same.
We aren’t drinking more booze than we did a decade ago. More people, in fact, are drinking less but better. That’s a good thing. At least for those of us who think a moderate, and maybe occasional semi-binge, drink is OK for both us and society.
We love small bars and we adore a civilized drinking culture. I’m OK with these new laws as proposed by Barry O’Farrell today, not because I want to leave bars at 1.30am (which as a 45 year old is past my bedtime anyway) but because Sydney is NOT a civilized place to take a drink late at night. It’s NOT Seville or Rome. It’s a city riddled with a really dreadful drug sub-culture – the cops know this, the politicians know this and it’s no surprise that the recent spate of gun crime, which is ALWAYS related to the drug trade, is happening at exactly the same time as this epidemic of drug and alcohol fuelled violence.
It’s harder to crack the drug dealing code than it is to close pubs early. It’s easier to police the streets of the Rocks than it is to bust organised, trans-continental crime. In other words, it’s easier to be seen doing something than working behind the scenes trying to catch the real criminals. I get it.
Licensees who allow drugs to be dealt on or around their premises should be stripped of the privilege of having a licence and thrown in jail with their dealer mates. Those who don’t control the consumption on their premises should likewise face serious punishment. The fact is, a rogue publican loves a few amphetamines hanging around the pub. It means his punters stay longer and drink more. And then they go out and belt someone. It’s a bloody tragedy. But it’s not all the fault of booze.