Jan 7, 2014

King hit or coward’s punch: the language of violence and why it matters

Assault victim Daniel Christie's family has argued the term "king hit" should be changed to "coward's punch". Crikey intern Broede Carmody looks at the arguments for and against the change.

Crikey Intern — The next generation of <em>Crikey</em> journalists.

Crikey Intern

The next generation of Crikey journalists.

The assault of Daniel Christie has sparked a debate on the terminology of violence and alcohol in Australia. The 18-year-old is in a critical condition after being punched in the head at King’s Cross on New Year’s Eve. After a string of similar incidents — such as the death of Thomas Kelly in almost the exact same spot in July 2012 — there are now calls to change the term “king hit” to “coward’s punch”.


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29 thoughts on “King hit or coward’s punch: the language of violence and why it matters

  1. Edward James

    “It’s going to have take government advertising and media support. And whether young males are going to change their discourse to shame one of their mates is a far-flung proposition.” The coward punch merchants are a minority. And not a popular one either. The media generally supports the community reads when there is a strong reaction. there is certainly a strong reaction to the number of cowardly attacks resulting in death. It is time for responsible media to get in front of this and stop using the dated and certainly misleading terminology for what is now known correctly as a coward punch. Edward James

  2. Matt Hardin

    After all of the incidents in recent years how can any defence credibly make the argument the accused did not know one punch could kill? Why is this not covered under manslaughter? Why do we need a new offence?

  3. exasperated77

    Maybe a little off topic but in my industry, construction, there is a zero tolerance attitude to fighting practised by managsment. All involved are sacked whether agressor or victim which can be unfair for the victim sometimes. In the crib huts the older men bemoan the fact that its no longer possible to “sort your problems out” with a punchup to head nodding agreement. Few are brave enough to speak up and call fighting stupid because its the easiest way for many men to project “toughness” without actually risking the physical pain a real fight entails

  4. Edward James

    Overt support for Magistrate His Honour Greg Grogin (a former policeman) who dished up two years for assault, to NRL player Russell Packer. A football player who finished up a violent assault by jumping on a victims head. Will soon sort out the problem with the minority who practice coward punches. Edward James

  5. mikeb

    Does anyone really believe that the idiots who do this would take any notice what it is called? All they want is a moment of “fame” caught on camera to laugh about later.

  6. Edward James

    I believe they would soon take notice if they were locked up for a few years for a coward punch, with no parole option! But there is a growing suspicion among taxpayers, that our political allsorts are the biggest cowards! Edward James

  7. Bill Hilliger

    The media could for once take the lead here by referring only to a coward punch in such incidents …and guess what… at no cost.

  8. The Pedanticist

    Quote: “On New Year’s Eve, an 18 year old male was “king hit” on the streets of Sydney in an apparently unprovoked attack…. On the same night, just over an hour’s drive south of Sydney, a 21 year old woman was grabbed from behind, dragged into nearby sand dunes, and raped.

    ….When discussing the “king hit”, Police Prosecutor Sergeant Lisa McEvoy called the event “horrific”, noting that it was “completely unprovoked”. There have been numerous calls for tougher penalties and requests to change the term “king hit” to “coward punch”. The senseless act of violence has been called brutal, horrific, savage and an act of thuggery.

    When discussing the rape, Acting Inspector Dan Richardson of the Wollongong Police said the assault was an “unfortunate reminder for people to avoid walking alone” and “for friends to keep an eye on each other”, suggesting that “it might have helped if a different route was taken”. Articles discussing the rape all mention that the victim was walking alone and had been out a New Year’s celebrations. There have been no calls for harsher penalties for rapists, no descriptions of the incident as brutal or horrific.”

  9. Edward James

    There you go Bill. So easy. We all recall the Newcastle Herald Shine the Light campaign. With luck and the perseverance of parents and family members some rock spiders will be locked up eventually. Edward James

  10. Edward James

    If Australian taxpayers want the change to happen bad enough it will happen! It is always up to use the peoples. Edward James

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