Yesterday, a riot erupted in the cosy little city of Keene New Hampshire, in reality a tranquil New England college town. Keene State College nests not far from city centre, where each year determined pumpkineers strive to set or hold on to the world record for most lit jack-o-lanterns.
Pumpkins weren’t the only things lit in town. In recent years, the pumpkin festival gained quite a reputation amongst the New England college crowd, and Friday, thousands flooded my alma mater and the city, ready to pay homage to the near inseparable twin gods of inebriation and stupidity. Testosterone provided a reactive catalyst, kickstarting the urge to do.
Riots ensued. Drunken students heaved projectiles at each other and police. They damaged property and even flipped a car. A curious fact about riotous car-flippers: they never choose to flip their own rides wheels-up.
The website banjo provided almost real time updates on the unfolding mayhem. Late last night, rumours of a death posted. Helicopters buzzed over the heads of students equally buzzed. Police fired rubber bullets and tear gas, although I commend police for their remarkable restraint.
I could link an endless number of videos, but I’ll go with an aggregator.
Meanwhile, another Keene area phenomenon, the Free State Project, busied itself issuing statements of denial. I’ll credit them a non-involvement, but will point out the grand irony of their chastising police they don’t believe should exist for not doing enough to quell the disturbance.
Some claimed their behaviour as activism, an irksome try for solidarity with the good folks of Ferguson, Missouri – people legitimately oppressed by racism and who lost a young man to murder. Nice try, and all the way around, a major fail.
Those gods are in fact quite fickle. They’ve abandoned their charges to a hangover and an unholy upcoming reckoning, that moment where authorities sift through the copious number of social media postings and identify many of the culprits. They won’t be smiling when face-to-face with a dean about to deep-six their enrolment at the institution.