David M. Russell

Blinkered vision on glasses

In Commentary on July 22, 2009 at 10:25 am

There are many, many things in life that strike fear into our hearts and probably every one of us is afraid of something that doesn’t bother somebody else. But there is something about being disfigured that is universal. So, why the hell do we continue to tolerate serving alcohol in glasses?

Maybe Queensland is the worst place on earth for idiot drinkers who overindulge and then use whatever is in their hands to wreak havoc on others in their drunken rage. Or maybe alcohol-fuelled rage attacks are a global phenomenon. Either way, there can be few things more frightening than the prospect of having your face torn apart by razor-sharp shards of a broken glass wielded by someone who has lost control of their faculties.

The photos of victims of these attacks make any sensible person cringe in horror. The inhuman penalty inflicted on them is a life sentence and few of us can adequately imagine the daily trauma many of them suffer as they confront the world with their features ravaged by livid scars. Bad enough for a male but many of these victims are women and their peculiar pain simply cannot be imagined by anyone who has not suffered the same indignity. The anguish must be horrendous.

Yet the penalties imposed on the perpetrators are almost always insignificant in comparison to the trauma of their victims. In a city of one million people (Brisbane) some six glassing attacks are treated at the major hospital each weekend night. There are many other hospitals and many other cities. This is now an epidemic. It used not happen so something has changed. Society is becoming ever more rotten and while that might be a harsh indictment the evidence is incontrovertible.

What has not changed is the unwillingness of hotels, clubs and governments to change the law and force bars to serve alcohol in plastic containers. How many damaged lives do they need before they decide enough is enough? You can be sure that if a politician’s son or daughter was a victim, the law would be altered within twelve months. Will somebody please have the courage to protect innocent people from a scandalous invasion of their rights?

More to the point, why we don’t we start with the real problem which is not glasses but the idiots who drink to excess or who are just evilly violent? Why don’t we amend the law to inflict life sentences on them just as they have done to their victims? We do not need people willing to perpetrate crimes like this walking our streets. They don’t deserve better.


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