Colin Thornton, The Pocket
There has been much hand-wringing and chatter recently about alcohol-fuelled violence, presumed to be directly associated with excessive drinking, and what we, as a society, should do about it. One opinion is that alcohol should be made more expensive or more difficult to obtain, and another suggests that closing the pubs earlier is the solution. But neither of these ‘solutions’ actually addresses the real problem, which is why a certain group of people feel driven to indulge in this self-defeating and destructive behaviour.
It is a pretty well established fact that since the beginning of recorded history human beings have liked getting stoned, altering their day-to-day reality by means of various intoxicants. In truth, it is such a common phenomenon that it may be considered an integral part of natural human behaviour, and the only parameter that shifts it from being simply a normal harmless social activity to a malign blight on the community is the scale of consumption and, most importantly, the attitude with which it is undertaken.
Whereas in previous times a couple of drunks in a pub might have a disagreement, have a little scrap outside, then shake hands and go back inside to share another drink together, nowadays it seems that many drunks have murder on their pissed-up minds and go all out to inflict as much physical damage as they possibly can on their unfortunate foe, often with disastrous results.
Why should this be so? And why aren’t sociologists trying to find out? The problem is NOT the availability of alcohol or other drugs; they have always been around. It is the desperate motivation that drives this misanthropic behaviour that should be investigated and addressed.