Call For The Halt To Mindless Violence
'Stop the violence' Editorial of The Sunday Mail (1/10/2006)

A growing roll call of victims, of grieving families and of ruined lives is a bloody testament to a plague of violence that is infecting our community.

Statistics show how likely it is that young Queensland men will be involved in violence — as victims or perpetrators.

Men aged 15-19 make up the single biggest category of violent offenders and are also the most likely victims.

Latest to die of this pestilence was 15-year-old Matthew Stanley, who was bashed outside an 18th birthday party in suburban Brisbane last weekend.

His grieving father Paul has summed up community bewilderment at the frequency of violent assaults and senseless deaths of young men and graphically described his own feeling of emptiness, horror and loss.

". . . as a father it is shattering," he said, "but as a human being it is just so wrong."

But Paul has put his grief aside to right this wrong by joining Premier Peter Beattie's community-based taskforce to investigate youth violence and to seek innovative solutions.

The taskforce will enter largely unexplored territory but it can build on two awful observations by experts in the frontline.

One is that violence is increasing, unprovoked, and merciless with no regard for human life. The other is that the abuse of drugs or alcohol is involved in the overwhelming majority of cases.

Research by the Gold Coast's Dr David Spain confirms this correlation and makes some disturbing findings that overturn comfortable myths about the relative benignity of popular drugs.

So, already, there are indications that youth violence may be a terrible symptom of a deeper malaise that is sweeping the world.

The taskforce has taken on a mammoth task but we must do something positive to stop the gratuitous violence that threatens to take us into a fearful new dark age.

The Sunday Mail backs the taskforce all the way, as will every thinking Queenslander.