Thomas Kelly’s death last year at the business end of a bogan’s fist was a tragedy of epic proportions. And as too often happens with tragedies, the event was latched upon by opportunists of various stripes and held up as proof that Sydneysiders have too much freedom, that we should all be tucked up in bed by midnight (never mind Kelly was killed around ten pm), and that Australia’s extortionate booze taxes aren’t extortionate enough to prevent the scourge of binge drinking.
As details of his death emerge in court hearings, however, certain facts point to other cultural culprits. Like piss-weak policing:
CCTV reveals Loveridge walked around Kings Cross between 10.05pm and 10.50pm and ran into football associate David Nofoaluma and said: ‘‘I swear I am going to bash someone tonight.’’
Over the next 45 minutes, he attacked three more men with unprovoked blows to the head, and was given an infringement notice by police for behaving offensively.
A ticket? For “behaving offensively”? As opposed to hauling him downtown and charging him with multiple aggravated assaults? Back in the Prick’s hometown of New York they have zero tolerance for this sort of thing and in similar circumstances Mr Loveridge would have spent his full 72 hours in the Tombs before possibly getting bailed or just as possibly being sent off straightaway for a holiday on Riker’s Island. And Thomas Kelly might possibly still be alive, because going out and getting punchy would simply not be seen as a viable entertainment for helots such as Loveridge.
If Sydney wants a nightlife culture that all can enjoy without fear of being set upon by some violent loser with a chip on his shoulder and a case of Vodka Cruisers under his belt, then don’t shut the bars or make us all drink out of sippy cups.
Crack down — hard — on the violent losers. And not just with the occasional high-profile weekend police blitz.