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!