'It is not a youth problem, it is a drinking culture problem': Daniel Christie's father on the lockout laws

One-punch victim Daniel Christie. (AAP) Source: Facebook

Michael Christie's 18 year old son, Daniel, was killed with a coward punch two years ago. Watch The Feed Forum: Lockout Laws below to hear him and other involved parties speak.

My sons Daniel and Peter went to Kings Cross on New Years’ Eve 2013 to watch the fireworks. They were 18 and 20.

Just after 9pm, they saw three young teenaged boys boys being bashed, knocked to the ground, dragged and abused. My sons showed empathy and care for three strangers, and asked why the assailant was bashing young kids. Daniel held his hands over his head, took backwards steps, saying “we don’t want any trouble”.

He was coward punched. His life support system was turned off eleven days later. Care and concern for others cost Daniel his life.

Peter, John and I live an incomplete life of missing the purest love of a son or brother. Our loss and grieving will never end. We will never have a day where we will not think of Daniel and how much we miss his generosity of spirit, that laugh, the slap on a thigh. Those eyes beautifully blue that just sparkled, his beautiful aroma, his physical presence. To just relax with him was the best part of your day. 

These feelings are not exclusive to us: many hundreds of friends continue to feel the loss. We knew that Daniel life’s was always going to amount to more than most. We knew that Daniel was special, and it turned out to be true.

The Governor General attended his funeral, as did over 800 mourners. Pennant Hills High School held a remembrance day, and give out an annual Daniel Christie Award for someone who shows determination, care for others, and the strength to deal with life’s challenges.  How proud can a father and brothers be of Daniel’s legacy, which exceed even our high expectations?

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Then, of course, came the lockout laws. At the time of Daniel’s death, 23,000 people had signed a petition demanding action on alcohol-fuelled violence, which was created by Ralph Kelly, whose son Tom was murdered in nearly identical circumstances. In the three weeks’ after Daniel’s death, there were 126,000 more signatures.

We had no recognition. The then-Premier Barry O’Farrell promised to contact me to discuss the changes in laws which were brought about in Daniel’s name. I’m still waiting for a call, although I’ve read that I’ve been consulted.

I come to this debate with pride, disappointment, and enough insight to know that whatever happens to the lockout laws young men will continue to lose their lives.

Peter, John and I have little faith that the specific people of our community from whom the lockout laws are designed to protect us will ever change, unless education, reduction in the availability of alcohol, and a change in community standards takes place.

It is not a youth problem, it is a drinking culture problem. Monkey see, monkey do.  Our only hope is that young people will have strong consistent role models in their lives that reflect balance and tolerance. That they, in turn, find the strength to live simply by loving and respecting themselves and respecting others. That they find enjoyment in life without the need for excessive alcohol. And that they educate those that less well equipped to change. 

Watch The Feed Forum: Lockout Laws here.