Lou O'Brien

OPINION: Aussie arrogance and booze a deadly cocktail

I DON'T think I'll be wearing my All Blacks shirt down Brisbane's Fortitude Valley this weekend.

The media - or should that be social media - storm that has blown up in the wake of the tragic coward-punch death of Sunshine Coast teen Cole Miller last weekend has had an unfortunate racial tinge.

Kiwis have even been warned to avoid Brisbane's nightspots for fear of reprisals.

I'm a Kiwi, and the alleged actions of the attackers, two Pacific Islanders with New Zealand connections, are just as abhorrent to me as anyone else. But putting the focus on where they come from is plain wrong.

I feel a lot safer on the streets of Auckland than I do out at night in this country.

Why's that?

The arrogance of young Australian men is, as a generalisation, astounding.

Let me be clear, I'm not referring to Cole Miller here.

From all the tributes, he appears to have been anyone's ideal son.

But nights out in this country are fraught.

Wherever you go there are legions of gym-bound young men flexing their muscle, literally.

Australian sportsmen are successful because of an innate sense of self-belief. It is one of the country's strengths. 

Socially though, this arrogance is toxic, and even more so when mixed with alcohol.

Try walking to the bar in most crowded venues and many young men would rather drop their shoulder and glare instead of moving courteously aside to let someone pass. Give them the wrong look and fisticuffs seem a real possibility.

It's unnecessary, it can be scary and it's wrong.

What happened last weekend was awful, and if the accused did what has been alleged, they should be locked up. If they are deported, fine by me.

But we should expect others to keep hitting the ground as long as we're breeding the attitudes prevalent here.

Bryce Johns is the editorial director of APN Australian Regional Media

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