It's been a while since I wrote an open letter.
This one is not to anybody in authority, but rather it’s directed at three people; the teenager who knocked an elderly man unconscious, his mother, and the so-called friend who video recorded the whole thing.
Let me start with this young man’s mother. Firstly, I read about your anguish over what happened. A parent’s disappointment in their child’s actions can be an especially tough pill to swallow, because it is a reflection on us and our parenting.
So I do feel for you, and I am glad that you acknowledge that there must be consequences that he must face for his actions. But I also think it would be prudent to accept even more reality, so that you can deal with it in the best possible way.
I read that you say your son acted out of character, that he is not a violent person and that he was provoked.
I am sorry to tell you that what we see in the video, is in fact your son’s true character. He hit an unarmed, elderly, homeless drunk in the face with full force. That is the very definition of a violent individual.
A naturally non-violent person cannot be provoked into violence by anyone or under any circumstance.
If an obviously drunk and harmless man can provoke him into violence, then you have to wonder about other times when he was easily provoked into violence when the camera was not rolling.
Why else would his friend be filming; almost as if he knew what was coming; like it has happened before?
Your son has a temper, which is not a problem in and of itself. What he needs to learn is how to control that temper.
He is also very easily influenced by his peers, which could land him a much bigger trouble one day. The need to be liked and admired by friends, is a powerful drug, especially in this era of social media quick fixes.
As for the friend taking the video. You're the kind of “friend” that us parents warn our children about. When parents say my child is hanging out with a bad crowd, they talking about you.
Egging your buddy on to strike an elderly man, who clearly couldn't fight back, is a despicable thing to do. And I know that you would not have taken any responsibility if that man was severely injured or died from that blow to the face.
A true friend would have put the phone away and diffused the situation. The attack that you encouraged and fuelled, was disproportionate to whatever that old man did to you and your friend. And then you sell your buddy out by making the video public!
You need to take a moment and re-assess what your understanding of friendship is, because what you showed the world, is the exact opposite.
As for the young man at the centre of the storm.
I don't know if you've learned anything from this experience, but I do hope that you have. I hope you accept the consequences and take your punishment like the man you pretend to be.
Firstly… and very obviously, as a millennial I would have thought that you would have been fully aware of what would happen to a video like that.
Surely you must have known that your buddy was planning to show it to people or post it online. Or is that actually why you did it? Meanwhile, your so-called friend used you for his own entertainment and social media fame.
But imagine for a moment you hit that man hard enough to have caused him permanent injury! Or if his head hit the ground any harder.
Your mother could very easily be distraught right now while you are sitting in jail, where it isn’t so easy to knock people out. And just so your friend could have a laugh at your expense.
I understand as a young man your testosterone is running wild and you have a sense of invincible bravado. And yes, there is an argument to be made for that. But there simply is no excuse for the kind of lack of self-control that you displayed, especially against a defenceless elderly, drunk, man.
If you do practice martial arts as I understand you do, then your sensei forgot to teach you one of the basic values of the discipline. Always try to avoid a fight.
Just because you can fight, doesn’t mean you should. That is why it is called self-defence. If they wanted you to strike somebody first, they would have called it “self-offence.”
You only ever supposed to use it to defend yourself. And as far as I can tell, that old man was never a threat to you.
In fact, what you did was kind of a cowardly sucker punch. And a true friend would tell you that to your face.
Those who find it funny, or are impressed by it, are shallow people that you would do best to avoid. Your true friends are the ones who are repulsed by your actions.