Opinion by Thomas Thexton, 21, a Newstalk ZB producer and Auckland nightlife enthusiast.

I had never seen anyone lying in the middle of the road, bleeding from their ears, in real life. It's not something I was prepared for on a night out with friends and will stay with me for a very long time.

As we made our way to a nightclub along Ponsonby Rd we came across a young man on the ground.

We initially thought he was drunk but as we made a wide circle around him on our way past I saw pools of blood on the ground flowing from his ears.


When we left him and continued towards the nightclub I wasn't even sure if he was going to survive.

After 45 minutes in the club, feeling as if I could throw up at any moment, I left my friends and went back to the spot where he had been lying.

I discovered he had been coward-punched by a group of men, and I was filled with anger and a feeling of helplessness. I wanted to do something, chase down the attackers or help the man, who had been taken away by paramedics.

But there was absolutely nothing I could do.

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I still remain in a state of unease and am unaware of the fate of the victim but I know that the incident was a result of a stupid, selfish and prideful decision.

Growing up in the digital age somewhat desensitises you to sickening levels of violence. In the video game Saints Row you can kidnap and murder a prostitute in minutes. In Call of Duty you can become a soldier in a world war of your choosing. Turn the TV off and the blood disappears; no more death, no more violence.

This isn't how reality works, we all know this. One punch can change a life, it can change the lives of many people, and as I've seen in the media too many times it can end one too.

I have played, watched and listened to plenty of content filled with gore and suffering like a lot of young men and women my age do. But not once have I considered bringing this violence to the streets, taking my misguided anger to the places where people go to enjoy themselves, not to die.

I am angry. Angry that although yes we are subjected to large amounts of questionable content, someone couldn't tell the difference between a video game punch and one thrown in reality.

I'm angry that each time I go out I know my parents are at home wondering if this is the time I will come home in a box because of what they have seen in the news.

We are all guilty of moments of brain fade, bad decisions and things we regret. But I have seen too many times stories of people killed by coward punches.

The facts are out there. Punches kill. We all have the ability to make the decision to not let that fist go.

You are in control of your own mind, not Bethesda, Infinity Ward or the many other creators of the digital content we consume daily.

"I didn't know it would kill them" no longer cuts it.