The community was rightfully outraged by Magistrate Ross Betts’s decision to grant bail to Frankston tradie Ryan Wells after a sickening one punch assault in South East Melbourne recently.
For those unaware of the details, the video of the assault was captured on CCTV and you can easily google, “Ryan Wells one punch assault video” to see how Wells, after consuming drugs and alcohol, approached a complete stranger down a public street and with no provocation whatsoever, elbowed a complete stranger in the face while his brother just watched on and laughed.
Bail was opposed by the police and notable prominent people, including Premier Daniel Andrews, former Premier Jeff Kennett and notable sports stars including, Andrew Bogut, Danny Green and Patrick Dangerfield also weighed in.
Rightfully so. Everyone has the right to walk down the street without getting their face elbowed by a dangerous thug, Magistrate Ross Betts had the power to keep the community safe from this dangerous man, but instead decided to put him back on the streets; despite the fact Wells was also under investigation for another assault, was well known to police, and showed no remorse over the incident.
The community is rightfully outraged and are starting to take matters into their own hands.
Wells’ business and address was plastered all over Facebook. Another man from Melbourne, who also happened to be called Ryan Wells, has reported people were “looking for him” and ringing his work, asking if he is “the Ryan Wells in the incident.”
The argument from Wells’ lawyer was he had ‘steady work’, ‘a place to live’ and drank 10 schooners of beer, 4 bourbon and cokes and was high on cocaine at the time of the incident.
Magistrate Betts accepted these arguments and I think that is part of the problem with our society.
The problem with society
We seem to accept that getting drunk and high justifies dangerous criminal behavior in some way.
So as a result the Government responds by blaming the drink, they enforce lock outs, close bottle shops at 10pm, demonizing people caught in possession of drugs, when the problem is not the fact people are using drugs and alcohol, but that they are not taking responsibility for their actions or for their behavior.
It is the same in the United States of America with guns. I know plenty of law abiding citizens in the USA who use guns, and some of them have up to three guns.
Do they go and shoot up a school? No! Because they are taught how to use them, how to use them safely and take personal responsibility.
Maybe our community will be safer if we take alcohol off the streets, but will people still get drunk and high and do something stupid? Yes, they will, because the sooner we understand that people are the problem rather than a substance, therefore taking personal responsibility for our actions, we can truly feel safer as a community.
The first step to solving any problem is to take responsibility for our art, admit we have a problem; change begins with us.
It begins by looking at ourselves and it is a Biblical concept.
Don’t ignore the log in your own eyes
Recently a Principal from the local Christian School where I minister visited our Church.
She talked about a lesson where she used vegemite. She smeared a dot on one of her students while she smeared a whole load on her face.
She used it to point out, that she has no right to point out, the smear of vegemite on another person while she has a whole load on her face.
The point is the same with us, rather than getting outraged by the fact thugs are taking drugs and alcohol, beating up randoms and refusing to take responsibility for their actions, what can we do, to be the change we want to see?
Maybe we should stop normalizing violence in our personal worlds?
We see violence being perpetrated in the playground at school and we tell kids, don’t be violent, while we are allowing them to play violent video games and to watch violent movies.
I know this is not going to be a popular viewpoint, but you are what you eat, if you think that you keep playing violent video games and watch violent movies and it is not going to have an effect on you, I am sorry, but you are kidding yourself! You are what you tolerate.
If you drink to excess therefore losing control of yourself do you not think that is not going to blow up in your face at some point?
If we want to see change in our community we need to start taking responsibility for our own actions.
Ben Kruzins lives in Tweed Heads Australia. Ben is a Pastor in The Hub Baptist Church, a growing multi-site Church with four campuses across the Northern Rivers in New South Wales. Ben has two degrees, including a Degree in Journalism and has written articles that have appeared in The Canberra Times and Sydney Morning Herald