Young people should take responsibility for cowardly acts
LONG-time Gladstone resident Graham Appo has seen plenty of blues in his day and he reckons it's time young people woke up to themselves before they ended up in a coma or a jail cell.
"They're all blaming alcohol - you drink it, you pay for it," he said.
The ex-Valleys Rugby League clubman said the situation was appalling, particularly the way young men were being regularly bashed comatose and fighting in groups, as opposed to the way he was brought up.
"That's the problem now, they won't fight a guy face to face ... it's a dingo act. That's what our local Aboriginal community calls it," he said.
Mr Appo recalled his experiences of violence, including the tale of how his great uncle was killed in the street in Childers by a punch from behind in 1935.
He said he believed a lot of today's street-fighting culture could be attributed to a lack of discipline given to the youth of today.
"If parents can't discipline their kids, they're going to grow up doing whatever they want," he said.
"I raise my children the way I see fit; they're not angels, but they don't go out damaging property or starting fights.
"I was taught if you get in a fight you try and talk your way out of it and if you can't, then you let them start it, but you finish it."
Mr Appo believed the high disposable incomes available to young men in Gladstone provided plenty of opportunities for violent situations to propagate.
"The amount of money in this town for young guys, plus the excessive amounts of alcohol they can buy with that money means there's a recipe for trouble," he said.
The 40-year Gladstone resident had simple advice for those who had issues handling themselves when faced with the bottle.
"If you can't control yourself on the grog, stay at home," he said. "If you've got real mates, they should see when you can't control yourself and make sure that you get home."
Mr Appo refused to point the finger at police patrolling the streets, who he said were simply trying to do a tough job.
"It's not the fault of the police, they didn't bring these kids up," he said.
However, he strongly believed the courts need to be much harsher when sentencing those guilty of cowardly king hits, which have ruined far too many lives in Australia in the past 12 months.