SOAPBOX: A coward punch is a disgraceful act
AS AN eldest child, I'll admit in my teens I complained of over-protective parents, especially when I finally came of age and ventured out to pubs and night clubs with friends for the first time.
On those nights, I had to send a text message to my mother every hour, on the hour, even if it was just a smile emoticon or a sarcastic "still alive".
It was the only way she could get any sleep.
At the time it was an annoying thing to laugh about with mates, but I came to understand it's tough for parents to let their kids go to a place that could be unsafe.
Both daughters and sons face different dangers in those situations, but it seems sons are more often the targets of random acts of violence.
I knew a young man who was still a teenager when he was punched in the back of the head by a man he'd never spoken to in a nightclub.
Apparently that man had just been dumped by his girlfriend, and wanted a punching bag to take his anger out on when the victim happened to be walking past.
Now a parent's fears have became reality for another local father, Peter Mulcahy.
His son Taon had no time to talk the man down from a rage, and no way to defend himself from the senseless brutality.
The teenager was left with facial injuries that will cost him thousands in medical bills.
But it could have been so much worse. The Sunshine Coast could be mourning the loss of another young life.
The aggressors looking for a punch-up seem keen to forget their victims want no part of it, and that they just want to get home safe.