Saturday, June 21, 2008
I drive a taxi in Newcastle, NSW approximately 2 hours north of Sydney. In recent month the local council have imposed a curfew so that all patrons need to be in the pub/club of their choice by 1am or else they are locked out. The pubs/clubs then stay open till 3am but no more patrons are allowed in after 1am.
This measure was supposed to be a response to fighting and other loutish behavior on the streets on Friday and Saturday nights. I suppose it has had some effect although it seems to be more about noise minimization for people who have bought trendy apartments near to the main clubbing areas of the city.
As I drive around many people ask about my own personal safety and about the different episodes that occur across the town. 2 weeks ago I was in my taxi at a rank and witnessed a brawl involving a dozen or more young men. There have been other incidents mostly involving young men in their 20s and early 30s.
The general consensus is that alcohol is not the main factor. The unknown factor is illicit drug use. I took 3 people home last night who were more than drunk and one of the passengers told me that he had quite a few pills on him. It is this addition of chemicals to the usual weekend ritual of letting off steam that, I believe, is causing the greatest difficulties.
I guess my next question is what part I can play if any in trying to arrest this decline of the values of the young people in our societies? I am not sure of my role outside that of making a living to support my family. I would like to do more than just ferry people from point A to point B but I am not sure what I can do. Any thoughts?