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Hey! Fanshawe students…

why did this happen?

A St. Paddy’s Day low-key celebration turns into a riot so vicious that cops in riot gear had to beat a hasty retreat… what brought this on?

Sure, you can blame the booze, the large numbers, the testosterone (going out on a limb in assuming that most of the rioters were young men), but is there more to this than meets the eye?

Look, I was no angel at the age of these college kids. I did some crazy shit… but I NEVER thought about turning a party into something violent! And we had parties! Big ones! Some of them were hosted by yours truly when I was a teen on Whitefish Lake. We sometimes had 100+ on our beach, in our house and elsewhere on the sprawling 2 1/2 acre property.

And there was much imbibing! We sure as hell weren’t teetotalers! These were good times! Floyd, Zep and Neil Young booming from cassette decks and 8-tracks.  Sweet scents in the air…

Yet, not once was there any real damage. Not once.

OK, there was that one minor incident where a certain friend decided that doing a donut in his Rambler (if any old high school buds can correctly identify the culprit, I’ll buy them a beer in July!) on a far corner of the lot was a good idea…

Those too polluted to drive stayed in tents or crashed on our basement floor. And in the morning – hungover as hell – everyone pitched in to clean up the mess. Some party-goers even came back the next day to help with the clean-up.

I’m not saying that this was the case everywhere and all of the time. Cops were called at some parties (not my own) due to noise complaints. And yeah, the odd vase was broken or toilet backed up…

So what’s up with these kids? Why would they commit such violence even in the face of social media where EVERYONE has a camera and EVERYONE is on Facebook or Twitter and it is almost CERTAIN that your mug will be out in cyberspace, caught red-handed throwing a beer bottle, wrecking a cruiser or stoking a bonfire with 2×4’s ripped from a fence?

Did they not learn from the Vancouver riots?

Is it a sense of entitlement? Is it a lack of discipline? Is (and now I’ll sound like an old guy) this generation somehow distanced from social responsibility?

I truly don’t have an answer to this. But, in the intervening 30 years or so since I was the same age as these hooligans, something has clearly shifted.

Oh, and happy first day of Spring!


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  1. Dave says:

    When I was 8 i shot a puck through a neighbors basement window. This was by mistake not intentional but my dad made me go and apologize and then docked my fantastic $.25 allowance for 4 weeks to pay for the repair. Now the parents would probably submit a claim to insurance or tell the neighbor to sue. Little Johhny, and yes it is mostly but not exclusively guys show up as adults in college or university never having had to pay for their wrong doing and then wondering why some judge is handing out sentences that are likely to ruin their lives. If parents won’t show them the right way when they are kids then all hell is sure to break loose when they get off on their own at 20. Every spots championship now involves a scuffle of some size whether you have won or lost and lots of parties deteriorates into crazed violence and vandalism. Now the axe is going to fall and the parents will be lining up to try and get their kids out of trouble again and cursing the system for letting them down.

  2. Chris says:

    I lived near Dalhousie University for 9 years a few years back I was constantly shocked at how students “these days” behave. They would steal anything that wasn’t nailed down in your yard, first of all, so nobody left BBQs, patio furniture, etc. out. Drinking was constant and always in mobs. Mobs that would travel the streets shouting and destroying — they’d throw rocks, bottles and whatever else at the homes, they’d tip over garbage and green bins, they’d rip trees, shrubs and plants out of yards and gardens, they’d carry on their parties in people’s back yards or front porches. The police were called to disburse them, but then they’d come back and take revenge on the homeowner. Etc., etc. And this was a nice residential neighbourhood with big old Victorian homes. Unfortunately the university started buying up these homes and turning them into student residences, so homeowners quickly became the minority. So, I’m not surprised how things played out in London. There’s obviously a lot of anger and disrespect behind it all. Why? Who knows. Who raised these kids?

  3. Alive Mouse says:

    I have worked with youth for 25 years and was a very serious rebel, protester, and drinker in my day.
    This a growing trend and a result of an over coddled, (yes! by their post hippy parents) social networking induced, bystander apathy, and a culture that promotes, via capitalistic and materialistic ideology, an excess of consumption (booze included). Generation Y-(hine) !

    This generation has a lot to protest but can only voice their anger through blogs, tweets, and as a result violence hidden within mob mentality. If your main means of communication is typing letters through an electronic device, – how in touch with social reality are you? -Really? I love the fact that in this modern world everybody is an editor, writer and pundit but there is more to commitment than a face book “like”. And more to 15 minutes of fame than throwing stones and lighting fires.

    The same people who through stones at emergency first responders in London this weekend are the same people who would have been the first in line in 1939 Germany. Small Minds , Small dicks, and little repercussions from their parents. These people should not have been expelled by the College but forced to be educated by the college on issue of political science, corporate greed, and all the things that are making them so violent, numb and angry. If anyone needs education -This group of 18/19 year old infants does. Lord of the Flies with daddies credit card. A couple of nights in a prison cell with Buddy would also give them a good clear indicator that drunken violence for no reason is wrong and could lead to personal violation.
    Note to Parents! You are not your child’s friend! They have lots of friends- do your job! If your some or daughter is throwing bricks at fireman you ned to tell them that you are going to take here cel phone away, ban them from the computer,kick them in the ass, and force them do do some menial labour for a week so they can get in touch with there inner spoiled child.
    Listen kiddies, if you are going to burn down the city make sure you now why! There are some reasons you are lost disenfranchised, and numb. If you are angry there is a reason, If you are drunk and angry and violent you have a phycological issues that will cause you a life of pain. Get it fixed now. See a councillor and turn of your fucking tweets!

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