However, two possibilities crop up on the same day in different papers:
Michael and Matthew Rouzzie were returning from a local shop late at night when a gang targeted them in what prosecutor Jenny Rickman describe as a totally unprovoked attack.
She told the city crown court how the pair had been chased down the street before they were repeatedly kicked and punched.
Now, it may be that the other side offered an explanation to dispute that, and we just aren’t told about it.
But – whether truly unprovoked or not – this random violence seems to emanate from the usual suspects.
Leevan Franklin, 18, of Harrison Road, Swaythling, Southampton, admitted one charge each of causing grievous bodily harm and actual bodily harm.
Said to have 13 previous convictions, he was sent to a detention centre for 18 months.
And when he ends up killing someone?
A 16-year-old from the Bassett area of the city admitted two counts of causing actual bodily harm.
The teen – who cannot be named – received a two-year youth rehabilitation order with supervision and told to carry out 200 hours community service and a three-month curfew.
He had six previous convictions.
And remember, those are the successful detections and prosecutions only.…
A man who led an attack on New Year’s Eve revellers, leaving one of them in a freezing river, has been jailed for his “pure loutish behaviour”.
Unprovoked? Well, sort of:
Naomi Perry, prosecuting, said the two victims were walking beside the River Ock when the trio “started calling out abuse, to which Mr Carter commented ‘Happy New Year to you, too’”.
She added: “Mr Carter had the impression the other group was looking for a fight.
“Louise Collins squared up to Leanne Simmons, grabbed her by the hair and dragged her down to the floor.”
Miss Perry said Mr Carter tried to protect her but Boyce and Brown “got in on the act and blows were exchanged”.
After a brief pause, the attack resumed when Brown spat in Miss Simmons’ face and she spat back, Miss Perry said. Brown and Boyce then punched and kicked her before attacking Mr Carter, leading him to fall into the river, the court heard.
Now, no doubt someone will say he shouldn’t have responded, and that that was the ‘provocation’ in this instance. But it’s pretty weak provocation.
Pointless drunken underclass assault aside, this report did provide one genuine ‘WTF?’ moment, though:
Brown, of Saxton Road, Abingdon, was due to be sentenced at the court earlier this month but drank half a litre of vodka during a cigarette break and had to be treated.
Now, as we all know, the plural of anecdote isn’t data. But it’s hard not to draw the conclusion from this and similar reports that – for a small but significant (and growing) subsection of society – an enjoyable night out isn’t complete without a fight. And if there’s no-one of your own inclination to fight with, then a stranger will do.