Home The Book Dr Articles Products Message Boards Journal Articles Search Our Surveys Surgery ESWT Dr Messages Find Good Drs video

An alarming trend in college-aged people's "celebration"

Posted by Kathy G on 10/22/04 at 10:01 (161969)

In a terrible tragedy, a twenty-one year old Emerson college girl was killed after the Red Sox victory on Wednesday night. She had gone to celebrate in Kenmore Square, along with 80,000 other people. She wasn't doing anything wrong but the police who were deployed for crowd control shot a pepper-spray ball into the crowd and it hit her in the eye. She wasn't even in the rowdy crowd for which they were aiming but it apparently ricocheted. The Boston Police Department has taken full blame but it points up a strange new way of celebrating: lighting fires, tipping cars, climbing trees and street light poles. What is going on here?

I'm fifty-five which we all know means I'm still young! :) The last time the Red Sox faced St. Louis for a World Series was in 1967. I was a senior in high school and my husband was a sophomore in college in Boston. He actually got to go to one of the games. I don't remember any rioting back then. And remember that was the rebellious sixties!

I know the population has increased and there are more people and thus more students at the colleges in Boston. And I know that more population means more crime, etc; but it seems as though a disproportionate number of young people believe that to 'celebrate' means to behave in a socially unacceptable and dangerous manner. Has anyone read anything that would give some insight into this phenomenon?

Both my children attended UNH. There are seven years between them. If there were any sporting victories when my eldest was there, I don't remember any rioting. But my youngest, my daughter, witnessed the so-called celebrations when the Patriots won the division and then won the Super Bowl. UNH made national headlines during one of those riots and was greatly criticized. My daughter watched the last Super Bowl with her friends in a bar in Durham and ran into problems trying to get back to her apartment. Police had closed down the street she needed to use to get to her apartment. A policemen told her to go around and use a different street, one which was mostly deserted. She was with her boyfriend and another fellow. Another policemen yelled at them to stop. She did so and explained where she lived and where they were going and told him another policemen sad to go this way. He said she couldn't. Now, maybe she shouldn't have gotten mad but she said she wanted to go home and turned around and started to walk down the street. He hit her in the back with pepper spray.

Her sweater was destroyed and her skin got very red and burnt. She called the poison control center and they told her to rinse the area well and keep an eye on it and to go to an emergency room if it got worse. The point is, she was totally sober and she wasn't doing anything wrong. I know she was sober because I had spoken to her on her cell twice; once right after the Patriots won and later, when she called to let me know she was all right because she was afraid I would see the UNH riot on television and get concerned. At that time, she and her friends were trying to get out of the way and go home.

When I heard the story about the Emerson student, it made me realize that the same thing could have happened to my daughter. Needless to say, she has avoided victory celebrations since that event and she's graduated from college but I find it all perplexing and upsetting.

When I ask her and her friends about this sort of celebration, they have no idea as to why it happens. They say that many of the people who were the worst weren't even students and the arrest records back that up. And they said that many of the people were incredibly drunk. But didn't people get drunk and stoned in the sixties or in any other decade when sports teams won big events? Did crowds always become ruly and set fires, etc., and I just don't remember it?

Anyone have any thoughts?

Re: An alarming trend in college-aged people's "celebration"

john h on 10/22/04 at 10:31 (161975)

Yes people did set fires, loot, and go crazy in the 60's. Mostly there are real fans out there who behave somewhat rationally but then there are all ways the crazies who use such events to loot, destroy, and endanger other people. The police cannot just stand by as these crowds can grow and get more destructive to the point that they become completely uncontrolable. This appears to be an unfortunate accident as the procedures the police used seem to be the common ones practiced by all police. Sometimes bad things just happen. Thousands are injured each year in hunting accidents. Hundreds of thousands are injured in auto accidents. You would not find me near a British soccer match with another country. People at these events sometimes act like there is a war on and bring their weapons to the matches. When we are young we all want to participate in these celebrations and when you are young you think you will live forever.

Re: An alarming trend in college-aged people's "celebration"

Richard, C.Ped on 10/22/04 at 11:13 (161982)

My mother always told me that if you are at a party or such where there is alcohol or drugs (being underage and whatnot) and the police come by...even if you are not partaking in the drugs, you are still just as guilty in their eyes at the moment. I guess the same goes for the wild crown scene up there.