OPINION: How many lives are we going to punch out?

SUNSHINE Coast teenager Cole Miller is the latest to die after being struck by a single blow.

The 18-year-old's light, that brightened the lives of family and friends, was extinguished as he attempted to have a night out in Brisbane's Fortitude Valley.

His father Steve told of being beside the "beautiful and brave" young man with family and Cole's closest friends as the teen lived out his final hours in the intensive care unit of the Royal Brisbane Hospital.

The two 21-year-old men blamed for his death face their own tragedies if found guilty under the new "unlawful striking causing death" charges.

The new crime was created specifically to punish those who kill with a so-called coward's punch.

If convicted of causing Cole Miller's death, they could be sentenced to life in prison.

These men, in their early 20s, could look back on the actions of their younger selves with remorse and disgust in years to come. 

The benefit of maturity may arrive as they while away their days behind bars.

Cole Miller died last month after being king hit in Fortitude Valley.
Cole Miller died last month after being king hit in Fortitude Valley. Photo: Facebook

The impact of Cole's death will weigh heavily on too many people to count.

His friends, his family, his alleged killers and their families and friends.

Death by punch isn't rare or even overly surprising much of the time.

It's common enough that we traded "king hit" for "coward's punch" in an effort to tar those who are thoughtlessly violent.

Just three weeks ago, Maclean father-of-six Trevor Duroux, 40, slipped away from his family after he was allegedly struck in the back of his skull in Coolangatta at 2am.

Trevor Duroux
Trevor Duroux Facebook

His partner Joanne Campbell, with family and friends, were forced to decide whether to turn off his life support.

"He tried to fight so hard and breathed on his own for a while," she said.

"When his daughters were there talking to him, tears were coming down.

"He knew we were there with him."

Trevor would never walk his daughters down the aisle, she said. He would never know what it was like to meet his first grandchild.

A few years before in November 2013, Wayne Dover, 45, was fatally attacked outside Factory: The Project, a now-shuttered Sunshine Coast nightclub.

He ran a small business with his wife, coached local AFL sides and was known as a "gentle giant".

Two of the three who faced manslughter charges were brothers. In court, their mother mouthed "I love you both" as they were taken back into custody.

It was a message that Mr Dover's wife could never again give her late husband.

Wayne Dover.
Wayne Dover. Source: Facebook

These punches don't just kill, they destroy the worlds of the violent and the victims alike.

There is a solution to this insidious and despicable problem. 

It will take time, money and the often unacknowledged bravery of someone who is ready to throw a punch in anger, but decides against it. That is where the solution lies.

These deaths also force us to ask ourselves, how much do we want to fight this?



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