Fight for your right to...riot?
There never has been and most likely never will be a sports riot at my alma mater.
There might have been some rowdy cheering and perhaps even some gestures unfit for proper society at some of the games. But the Williamsburg police were never called in to regulate any victory celebrations (not that there was any shortage of fuzz in town; they were like Visa, everywhere you want to be). So I can't say that I can empathize with the urge to go out and burn shit and break stuff--after a basketball game, I mean.
But not the kids at the University of Maryland. You might recall the shenanigans
last March after Maryland beat Duke for the ACC tourney championship. Shenanigans so important that they could only be compared to the anti-war protests of the Vietnam era. The Maryland kids love a good riot much in the same way that Neil Bush loves Thai hookers. So this past Saturday night after the Maryland basketball team beat Duke ("the anti-Christ") for the second time this season, the next logical step was to get out there and get your riot on.
Inevitably, the police tactics turned ugly according to some accounts (the Prince George's County police don't have the best reputation as it is), and it wouldn't be a true riot unless someone was shot in the face
by one of the "non-lethal" weapons.
In the wake of the rioting, an intelligent and thoughtful discourse has begun with letters to the editor
of the student newspaper:
You hear the same grievance time and time again: The rioting needs to stop. This is an easy answer, but we need to dig deeper. The electricity and energy expressed here during and after basketball games is a very special thing. Yet we need to harness this excitement into an alternative that combines the students’ desire to celebrate with the community’s concern for blind destruction. The answer to this quandary is to sanction and enclose an area of the campus (i.e. Fraternity Row) for a supervised “riot.” Instead of spending thousands of taxpayers’ dollars on ridiculous cautionary provisions such as a top secret U.S. military mega-chopper and a fully functional tank that belongs in the Gaza Strip rather than College Park, why not supply us with burnable benches and other items we can destroy without harming anyone/anything else?
The university has to be smart about what happens after big wins. The riots will continue to happen, and a compromise has to be made. We are wasting money and manpower and bringing more attention to an event that could be easily avoided. Face the facts — or face the wrath of seasoned Terp rioters.
What an amazing idea! The University could sanction
the rioting! Problem solved! It's not like that would be any sort of massive insurance liability to the school and the state or anything like that. Just get some of those "riot benches" from IKEA, and everything will be under control. The University does need to "dig deeper" and "be smart," and this is the enlightened path. Oy.
Okay, to the student's credit, he does make a point that an amped up police presence coupled with an antagonistic attitude tends to make things worse. And I think the P.G. County Police really do have a tank on hand just in case. I'd not be surprised if the police probably did cross the line when it came to applying tactics for crowd control (a couple of our regular posters have been subjected to crowd-control methods by Tucson's finest). But any notion that it is the right
of students to riot or else they will unleash the fooking fury
is flat-out ridiculous.