The end of a year is a time of hope and optimism, a time to farewell the old and embrace the new.
So it’s sad when the New Year starts out exactly like the old one; with appalling displays of senseless violence. Every year we search for a single cause of the problem… which is why we never solve it.
Because, like most problems, this one is multi-causal.
Most people are pent-up with all sorts of frustrations, fears and furies; crowd together a few hundred strangers (most of whom are only there because they weren’t invited anywhere else) and wait for their inner demons to rear their ugly heads.
Hype the crowd up with bright lights, loud noises and mood-altering chemicals, then marinate them with alcohol, (disabling the one part of their brains that normally inhibits their darkest impulses) and a few people are bound to turn nasty.
Problems with multiple causes need multiple solutions. That’s why just limiting the flow of drugs and alcohol isn’t enough; we also need to lower the intensity of the sound and lightshow and improve access to facilities and reduce the density of crowds – why have a great big party with strangers when we can have lots of small parties with friends?
And while we’re at it, let’s think of more reliable, productive outlets for angry and frustrated people so there aren’t so many of them looking for fights at parties.
Only once we tackle all the causes will we finally beat the problem.
Then we’ll have a Really New Year.