Read the text in the picture below.
Now consider this: he is the lucky one.
He is lucky to have thirty-two stitches across the top of his head. Lucky to have spent 60 days in hospital and 10 months in recovery.
Lucky, because he is alive.
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Cole Miller isn’t alive.
Daniel Christie isn’t alive.
Thomas Keaney isn’t alive.
It’s tragic and it damn well has to stop. But how?
How do you stop a mentality of a minority who refuse to consider the consequences of their actions while under the influence of copious amounts of alcohol and illicit drugs?
How do you get through to the person who seeks violence? Who thrives on a fight? Whose friends “egg him on”, encourage the violence and provoke it?
Danny Green isn’t going to be there to whisper in their ears and grab their fists. They are not thinking about spending the next 20 years in jail, about the family they tore apart or the grieving parents who have to turn off their child’s life support.
These “coward punch” perpetrators are angry people looking for a fight — craving it, even.
I have seen it, you have seen it, we have all seen it.
It’s a mentality that Australians are known for, as sad and tragic as that sounds — think about it and you will know this to be true.
For more than a decade of crusading against street violence, campaigners have unadmittingly seen little light at the end of this violent alcohol-enduced tunnel — despite the apparent drop in late-night fights in city centres, young people are still being killed by one punch attacks, and that’s just fact.
Not even the introduction of the QLD Government’s Safe Night Out Legislation Amendment Bill 2014, which includes a new criminal offence of unlawful striking causing death, saw the end of the ‘coward punch’.
Cole Miller’s tragic death in December last year is proof enough of that.
At just 18-years-old, Cole was killed as a result of head trauma alleged to have been caused by an unprovoked punch delivered to the back of his head.
Two 21-year-old men, Armstrong Renata and Daniel Jermaine Lee Maxwell, have been handed the new unlawful striking causing death charge.
However, since Cole’s death, there has been a noticeable shift in the overall “feeling” of these violent “king hit” assaults — and it has the potential to change everything.
The Keep Your Hands To Yourself hashtag is a fresh approach to the “one punch can kill” campaign, which was started back in 2007 after the murder of Queensland teenager Matthew Stanley.
The nationwide campaign targeted the rising level of youth violence through a series of advertisements, which featured on the side of city buses and billboards.
In 2012, the One Punch campaign went viral following a 15-second advertisement showing boxing champion Danny Green intervening in an argument by stopping someone about to throw a punch. The video aimed to initiate cultural change by demonstrating that it is not acceptable or tough to go out and assault someone.
Although the ad went largely unseen until January 2014, when the NSW Government arranged with television and radio networks for the campaign to be released as a Community Service Announcement.
This may have also been due to the highly-publicised death of Irish assault victim Thomas Jay Keaney, 23, who died in a Perth hospital in December 2013 – almost two weeks after he was punched once in the head.
But even then, despite the huge amount of publicity over the death, along with the Danny Green campaign, the violence continued.
Now, with the introduction of the #KeepYourHandsToYourself campaign, more and more people are standing up to the crime, hands up and ready.
Everyone, from celebrities, athletes to everyday Aussies, have started putting their hands up to end this destructive violence, writing the words in black pen across their palms.
It’s a simple yet powerful message.
In 2007, One Punch campaign Australia founder Kerry Kistemaker said, “We want to create conversation, bring awareness — the more people who talk about this kind of violence then the more unacceptable it becomes in society.”
A decade later, several more deaths, a celebrity following and an increase in media coverage, Kerry’s wish might have come true.
Awareness is everywhere and everyone is behind it.