Why are we rioting? Why should we riot?

November 01, 2013

Written By: Jackie Cullen

5 students were arrested in Durham on Thursday night after the Red Sox won the World Series, 3 were arrested at Plymouth state, and a student was injured by a thrown rock in Keene (WMUR).

I was a sophomore at Simmons College in Boston when we beat the curse in 2004. We were some of the first to run down the street to celebrate a night I will never forget. We had the advantage of being very close to the park and would get there early enough that the scene was mostly jumping up and down, high-fiving and hugging everyone we saw. The way a celebration should be.

Our rule, as a group of 19-year-old girls, was that as soon as 50 guys, (and yes, it’s always guys) are on top of a cab, a cop car, really any vehicle, it’s time to go home. The only thing that can follow this display of testosterone is mounted police, and a SWAT team with tear gas.

Celebration is a wonderful thing, but our culture has turned celebrating even a win into a scene that begins to take on some of the characteristics Arab Spring. Things are lit on fire, cars flipped over, and serious damage is done.

Americans need to find a way to celebrate with one another that isn’t destructive. Wonderful celebrations and happy events should not be a night that every police officer has to gear up for. It doesn’t help the dynamics and relationships between police and the public, especially the younger public, and it doesn’t help us build a community. Instead, it stints a younger generation into another reason for the older generations to consider teens and twenty something’s immature menaces to society. Sure, young people should be boisterous and loud at times, but flipping cars and being destructive is not the answer.

What really upsets me is that we are putting all of this rioting energy only into sporting events. I’ve wondered about what kinds of change could occur if a World Series celebration was singing and dancing in the streets like many other cultures do, and riots, while not inherently good, happened over real issues. We have a Congress that’s ignoring climate change, not to mention the majority of it’s constituents, a wealth distribution that’s vastly out of proportion, a food system build on big agriculture and chemicals, yet a riot in America happens over a baseball game.

Imagine if Thursday night’s scene was because New England had just watched the news and realized Monsanto is poisoning our food supply. It’s time to change the way we celebrate happy events and time to realize that if we’re going to take to the streets, it should be because society has finally woken up.

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